Hoo's News

Updates from the world of Hoo's Herd - see more at www.hoosherd.co.uk

<p>“Fab roast leg of lamb for first roast of the season yesterday courtesy of Hoosherd” - a happy customer!</p>

“Fab roast leg of lamb for first roast of the season yesterday courtesy of Hoosherd” - a happy customer!

Posted 217 weeks ago

Sheep go walkabout...

One of our ewes & her lamb wriggled out of their Nettleden paddock last week & went for an explore…. After a pitstop at the St Margarets Buddhist Monastery, they made it as far as the Fourways Garden Centre before deciding that enough was enough…. Home now….

Posted 222 weeks ago
<p>Mum cleaning her 2013 calf whilst her 2014 calf looks on.</p>

Mum cleaning her 2013 calf whilst her 2014 calf looks on.

Posted 222 weeks ago

Well, this is going to be interesting....

2 injured bulls, from fighting - 1 with an injured shoulder, t'other with a strained back leg. Bed rest & separation required…. whilst our 12 month old bull (Hoo’s Herd Randy Newman) gets his day in the spotlight

Posted 222 weeks ago
<p>Surprise calf from 16 month old mother doing very well (as is his mum!)</p>

Surprise calf from 16 month old mother doing very well (as is his mum!)

Posted 223 weeks ago

Spoke too soon....

Just discovered a new calf, from one of our youngsters who (as far as we were aware) has not been near a bull since early 2013…. Baffling….

Posted 224 weeks ago

Last calf of the season, born last night

Last calf of the season, born last night, to #75 (Delyth or Ceinwen, can’t remember which is which). Looks like a heifer.

Posted 224 weeks ago

Bella's calf...

Born dead - either a overly-prolonged labour or something wrong with the calf. Sad but that’s farming….

Posted 225 weeks ago
<p>Bella about to pop! Her calf must be imminent…..</p>

Bella about to pop! Her calf must be imminent…..

Posted 225 weeks ago

Calf #22 born today

A beautiful little heifer calf, from mother tagged #72 (who is either Delyth or Ceinwen, I never can remember which….)

Posted 227 weeks ago

Hoosherd sheep seen in Nottinghamshire??

Laila and Mathew and fellow Indigo Braves have taken possession of 8 of our ewes plus lambs at foot plus some hoggets and Wallace the Ram. They couldn’t have picked a better home!

Posted 227 weeks ago
<p>Lambs growing fast!</p>

Lambs growing fast!

Posted 228 weeks ago
Posted 230 weeks ago
<p>Another calf! Details to follow</p>

Another calf! Details to follow

Posted 230 weeks ago

Dead lamb

Found a lamb last night staggering around - tetanus, had to be put out of its misery. Must get better at pre-birth vaccinating…. 33 surviving.

Posted 231 weeks ago

Snowflake's calf is a boy

Tagged #19

Posted 232 weeks ago

Lambing comes to an end for 2014

The final tally - 35 from 22, with 34 surviving. Seems to be more boys than girls.

Posted 232 weeks ago
<p>Another calf! Good ol' />

Another calf! Good ol'Snowflake, great mum.

Posted 232 weeks ago
<p>29 lambs from 18 ewes, 4 to go</p>

29 lambs from 18 ewes, 4 to go

Posted 232 weeks ago
<p>Calf #18, just over 24 hours old</p>

Calf #18, just over 24 hours old

Posted 232 weeks ago
<p>Great insight into the reality and history of British beef. Catch it whilst you can.</p>

Great insight into the reality and history of British beef. Catch it whilst you can.

Posted 232 weeks ago

New calf!

Born this morning, looks like a male.

Posted 232 weeks ago

Dead lamb

Found a dead lamb yesterday morning, no obvious injury - one of those things I guess.

Posted 232 weeks ago
<p>Bluebells in all their glory here @hoosherd</p>

Bluebells in all their glory here @hoosherd

Posted 233 weeks ago

Lambs - they keep on coming!

More lambs than we can shake a stick at…. Must be mid-twenties at least, over halfway. Still on a “no touch natural” basis.

Posted 233 weeks ago

12 lambs this evening

Another set of twins and a single.

Posted 235 weeks ago

First calf of 2014 is definitely a girl

Tagged this morning, number 17.

Posted 235 weeks ago

Popping out thick'n'fast

9 lambs in our first 24 hours, from 5 sheep. Go girls! So far, very un-Lambing Live (although Becca does have a passing resemblance to Kate Humble…), in the sense: no human intervention required so far.

Posted 235 weeks ago

And the second lamb joins its sibling...

Posted 235 weeks ago

And the first lamb of 2014....

Born today, poignantly from a ewe that we saved from death’s door last summer.

Posted 235 weeks ago
<p>First calf of the season! Amy is the mum.</p>

First calf of the season! Amy is the mum.

Posted 235 weeks ago
<p>Happy calves</p>

Happy calves

Posted 240 weeks ago
<p>A rare dry morning!</p>

A rare dry morning!

Posted 242 weeks ago

Fresh lamb

We have some lamb back from the butcher, all vacuum-packed so fine for the fridge until 23rd Dec. Chops, cutlets, half-legs, and a limited amount of breast, kidneys and neck fillet - being Shetland lamb, that’s all the cuts available as they don’t put on enough weight until their second (hogget) year.

Let us know if you would like some. It’s also in the Village Shop.

Matthew, Becca and Fergus

Posted 252 weeks ago

Barry is officially a White Park Bull!

After a few nervous weeks (for us, rather than him), we heard today that Hoo’s Herd Barry is officially fit to be classified a pedigree White Park bull. Time to put him through his paces!

Posted 255 weeks ago
<p>A splendid specimen, we think. This one weighed in at over 320kg d/w. Now with @TheButcheryLtd</p>

A splendid specimen, we think. This one weighed in at over 320kg d/w. Now with @TheButcheryLtd

Posted 257 weeks ago
<p>Hopefully the next 2 bulls @hoosherd, just waiting to hear whether Barry has passed his test….</p>

Hopefully the next 2 bulls @hoosherd, just waiting to hear whether Barry has passed his test….

Posted 260 weeks ago
Posted 264 weeks ago
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Fingers crossed for Barry....

Waiting for official feedback on his genetics (checking for genuine White Park-ness) and measurements (does he make the grade to be a classified White Park bull?)….

Posted 264 weeks ago
<p>Dog attack victim: poor lamb the victim of a couple of nips from a walker’s dog which then developed into a maggot infestation, cheating death by a whisker. On the mend thankfully! Our 4th such victim, of which 3 died - keep dogs on leads near sheep, however well-trained…..</p>

Dog attack victim: poor lamb the victim of a couple of nips from a walker’s dog which then developed into a maggot infestation, cheating death by a whisker. On the mend thankfully! Our 4th such victim, of which 3 died - keep dogs on leads near sheep, however well-trained…..

Posted 264 weeks ago

The big day for Barry arrives....

Lawrence Alderson of the White Park Cattle Society arrives tomorrow to inspect Barry and check his genetics courtesy of his mum, Cadzow Amy. Hooves crossed!

Posted 265 weeks ago

Hoo's Herd Barry White - a bit more context

We’ve raised Barry White (so named due to his noticeably deep voice…) from when he was a few months old, arriving as a “calf at foot” with his mum Cadzow Amy. The breed standard is set and controlled by the White Park Cattle Society, and although bulls are in short supply, they are rigorously controlled to make sure they are big enough, and conform genetically as well as physically to the look that is associated with the breed. The aim is that the breed continues into the future with the right-looking, and healthy, blood lines.

As Barry is now just two, he is starting to mature physically and to compete with our existing stock bull (Smoile Norman) for the ladies. Sooner or later they will fight (probably next year as Barry is still a lot smaller than Norman), so they will eventually have to part company. If Barry is officially assessed as making the grade, then he will be instantly more valuable than as pure meat, and we then have a decision to make as to whether to keep him (and sell Norman) or sell him - or split the cows between them. If he doesn’t make the grade, then he will end up at the butchers - such is farming.

Like a typical teenager, Barry is oblivious to the impending examination which could determine, GCSE-style, his path in life, and is only interested in sex! Norman though is so far successfully keeping him at bay and leaving him very frustrated….

Posted 272 weeks ago
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<p>Final (heifer) calf of the year tagged #16, looking lovely this evening.</p>

Final (heifer) calf of the year tagged #16, looking lovely this evening.

Posted 272 weeks ago

Final calf of the year

Calf born this morning doing very well this evening. That’s it folks for another season!

Posted 272 weeks ago
<p>4 of this year’s calves, looking pretty damn fine this morning. I wonder what the collective noun is to describe a group of calves?</p>

4 of this year’s calves, looking pretty damn fine this morning. I wonder what the collective noun is to describe a group of calves?

Posted 274 weeks ago
Posted 274 weeks ago

Haylage Part 1

Happiness is seeing 1st 38 bales wrapped & stacked, tks to Mike Stevens. Another 120+ needed before we can rest easy for winter.

Posted 274 weeks ago
<p>Calf #15 successfully suckling, always a heartening sight</p>

Calf #15 successfully suckling, always a heartening sight

Posted 275 weeks ago

Showing category "Animals" (Show all posts)

Weaning the Class of 2012

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Monday, March 4, 2013, In : Animals 
We moved the calves from last spring/summer away from their mothers this last weekend - albeit only into the adjoining field. The idea is that they are more than strong enough to cope without the milk that they are still getting from the cows, which, some 7-9 months post-birth, is tailing off in quantity and quality. The mothers also need a rest, to gather strength before this year's births - not least Amy who is waddling around looking like a Thelwell cartoon and reminding us that she will p...
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In the bleak mid-winter.....

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Thursday, February 7, 2013, In : Animals 
... a calf is born! A heifer, born to #75 (whose Herd Book name escapes me at the time of writing, but it's either Delyth or Ceinwen). Completely out of season - all her cousins or half-siblings were born May-July 2012, but the mother hadn't come into season like the others and the vet had had to kick-start her hormones with an injection back in January 2012. But - despite the cold, wet, windy and snowy weather over the last few weeks, the mother ended up pregnant to Norman and eventually pic...
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Disappearing cowpats

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Thursday, December 20, 2012, In : Animals 
For months now, I've been puzzled by our cowpats. As you might imagine with 20+ head of cattle, we get a lot of the things, dotted fairly uniformly around the place, and they gradually seem to disappear. But I'd noticed that after a while of sitting there in their initial, very sloppy, "fresh" state, once dried out a bit, something appears to come along and rip holes in them. I had assumed crows, pecking at them looking for grubs or worms, until one evening when on an evening walk with the do...
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Mud, mud, inglorious mud....

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Thursday, December 20, 2012, In : Animals 
Once again, Somme-style mud has returned to plague the lives of all of us who spend time out in the fields. The cattle don't really seem to care that much, but the poor sheep's feet are suffering. At the weekend, we had to clip the feet of Wallace (our ram), as he was limping and a closer inspection revealing an infected foot where the hooves have gone soft yet continued growing, collecting mud between the hoof and foot and creating the ideal conditions for sore feet. I suppose something simi...
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Getting stuck into fresh haylage!

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Monday, December 17, 2012, In : Animals 
We delivered new haylage to the breeding herd this weekend - watching them getting stuck in (literally with their horns at times) is very funny!
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Walking the dogs - ram included!

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Monday, December 17, 2012, In : Animals 
Some of you might recall from earlier in the year that we bottle-fed a ram lamb after his mother rejected him (the kids called him Rambo). Once weaned, he lived for a while in the garden, but he preferred the raspberry canes to eating the lawn, and after trying repeatedly to sneak into the kitchen to "snuggle" on the sofa, we had to move him into the field at the bottom of the garden.

The unforeseen consequence of his unusual upbringing is that he doesn't think he's a sheep, and prefers the c...
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The Weather

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Friday, December 14, 2012, In : Animals 
Spare a thought for Hoo's Herd in this particularly inclement weather. This week featured temperatures as low as -9 degrees celsius, but worse for us has been the consecutive days when the peak temperature has remained at or below freezing.

The animals themselves don't seem to be that bothered - the sheep have the most obvious insulation, with their thick woolly coats rendering them positively cosy, but even the cattle seem to be inherently hardy. Their coats go shaggy (not quite Highland Cat...
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Poachers....?

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, In : Animals 
It's never quiet in the sticks! Last night, we got a text around midnight reporting strangers with torches tramping around one of our fields. Well needless to say, I missed the action, as I slept through the text - but the next morning, upon further investigation, it appears that it wasn't rustlers but poachers, on the hunt (illegally) for local game, and were nabbed in the act by the local police, a rare success for the forces of justice! Thankfully, none of our animals was hurt, in fact, th...
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Winter draws in....

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Monday, December 10, 2012, In : Animals 
We've started feeding haylage to the animals. Unlike last year, when we let them fend for themselves, living off the residual grass and the fat on their backs, we found ourselves able to make haylage in the summer, all 200 5ft diameter round bales of the stuff - way more than we need this year, so plenty for sale to local horse owners or farmers.

For the uninitiated (which included myself until recently), haylage is grass that's been cut when at its peak in terms of nutritional value, left to ...
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Promotion!

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Tuesday, September 25, 2012, In : Animals 
We decided to promote one of our heifers from the "meat locker" to the "harem", as she's about the right age for breeding and a nice specimen. So Saturday saw us rounding her up (along with her cousins) in the Nettleden field and taking her to join her aunties (and Norman!) up in Little Gaddesden's Hoo Field. That gives us now 8 breeding cows for next season, and 2 remaining animals for slaughter over the next year until our own home-grown stock comes of age this time next year.
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Calf update

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Friday, June 29, 2012, In : Animals 

No more calves quite yet, but here's a couple of pictures of this year's first couple of calves - amazing how quickly they grow.


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Wallace gets a haircut

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Friday, June 29, 2012, In : Animals 
We finally managed to get Wallace our ram to take a haircut. After a winter and spring running wild on his own (apart from the cows) and away from his ladies, it was unsurprisingly difficult to catch him. It took a couple of hours of running and driving around the field on Sunday to wear him down enough to be able to tackle him to the ground, and after 24 hours to catch his breath, Fergus gave him a pretty neat trim and this is a picture of him glaring at us straight afterwards!
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2nd Calf of the season arrives! Our first heifer....

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Friday, June 29, 2012, In : Animals 
We're just thinking of a name, as this one will almost certainly be future breeding stock. Mother in this case is #72 who is either Delyth or Ceinwen (can't remember which without checking the records) and sired by Ash Michael through artificial insemination. 9 months to the day!

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Calf number 3 for Amy

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, In : Animals 

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Lambs - the final 2012 tally

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Monday, April 23, 2012, In : Animals 
We ended up with 31 lambs from 22 ewes - less prolific than last year, but about a third of the ewes were first-timers, so to be expected we believe. All bar one are frolicking around in the field with their mums, ballooning before our very eyes. Great fun to watch.

The one that is not frolicking around is "Rambo", our abandoned ram lamb mentioned in an earlier post, who has taken up residence with us, spending his nights in the garage in a crate, and his days under an apple tree in a little p...
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Hoo's Herd expands

Posted by Matthew Hargreaves on Friday, March 16, 2012, In : Animals 
We've recently bought with friends some more land at the other end of the village, or more precisely on the edge of Nettleden - a 41 acre section of the Golden Valley and I'm convinced that the stunning scenery will make a difference to the meat quality! All our edible beef stock (or "finishers" as I think they are known in the farming business) are down there, ranging from heifer number 23, the oldest and therefore next for the table, down to the 5 born within the last 12 months. That leaves...
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