During the last ten years we have drifted into Meat Production here at Mallards Farm.
Firstly, because of the rotation system used here allows us to graze 100 Welsh Ewes and 100 lambs per season on the grass covering the resting land. The system of low input means they do not mature for at least 15 months, sometimes this can be as long as two years. Basically the more mature the meat, the better it is!
We believe in giving the livestock a life andnot slaughtering them as babies around the usual age at 5 months!
We only feed from the land, i.e: any vegetable waste crops, leeks, strawberries, brassicas, spinach, windfall plums and cherries.
Anything thats not been cut to sell, During our rotation methods the sheepare folded on the veg crops as a tiding up procedure, then goes back onto the ground as fertilizer.
The use of concentrate feeds is not our policy, but when the natural vegetation is scarce or the weather is bad, we do have to top up with hard feeds.
Personally, I believe there is an issue with the amount of wheat-based concentrate feed given to livestock coming through into the food chain, causing conditions such as Coeliac disease in humans.
We have built up a good stock of Wessex Saddlebacks, Tamworth and Gloucester Old Spot Pigs over the last few years. These are kept in a large pen on bare ground outside. Small family groups divided equally of boys and girls. These cannot graze as they would cause to much damage to the land.
Feeding is very much the same as the sheep but, pigs do better on roots and potatoes, so they get the waste potatoes and fodder beet grown especially for them.
Growers and fattening pigs are topped up with concentrate feed.
Our intention is to get a pig ready for sausages at 15 months plus, as before allowing them “a quality of life”.
We also sell Laughtons Free Range Chickens at the Farmshop. They are kept in the orchard where I grow my Williams and Conference pears. The sheep also graze this orchard, so there is very little chemical input into these fine birds.
All of our livestock is slaughtered by J &R Meats of Aylesham
Alistair – Mallards Farm, Waterham Lane, Hernhill