Walter the bull
I'd like to introduce you to a new addition to the farm - Leafield Black Walter - or Walter as he will be known. He is our new bull who arrived at the end of May. He is 15 months old and came from a renown breeder, Jeremy Iles at Leafield Farm, Quennington in Gloucestershire, so handily close.
You may be wondering what breed he is, and if you say Aberdeen Angus, you are a quarter right. He is actually a Stabiliser, which is a composite breed, which is made up of Black Angus, Simmental, Gelbvieh and South Devon genetics. The idea behind this is to get the smaller size of the British native breeds but the growth and muscling from the continental breeds. However the thing that interests me is that they do well off an entirely grass fed diet, are fit healthy and long lived, and produce tasty very high quality meat. The only down side is the name of the breed!
Walter is the third Stabiliser we have had. His predecessor Rambo has moved to our organic dairy farmer neighbours next door, which was ideal, as we can still easily visit. Both other bulls were red, however the breed has moved from using red angus to black angus genetics so the breed is changing colour (hence the Black bit in his name). In cattle breeding circles this is unheard of, as phenotype or how a breed looks is normally defined in breed standards. Breed societies get very upset on the wrong colour in the wrong place. We don't mind what colour cows, bulls or calves are - we are far more interested in animals that thrive and how they behave!
Walter now joins our other bull Nigel, who is a Hereford. They havent actually met yet as both have their own groups of cows and the river Thames between them. Once they've done their job and we take them away from the cows they will spend the later part of the summer together. A careful phased introduction will ensue which I'm sure will go well, both are quiet so fingers crossed. Let's hope we can have a farm walk later in the year where you can come and meet them both.