We have established the Cedar Herd of North Devon Ruby Red cattle, selecting pedigree breeding cows from a variety of farms. We have a closed herd now which means we are completely home bred. Like all herds, we do need to regularly change our bull and we have had a variety of beautiful pedigree Ruby boys here.
Devons are a hardy breed, enjoying outdoor living all year round; as much at home on the dry heathland as they are on the downland grass of the chalk ridge of the Purbeck Hills. They are moved round the farm at various times of the year, depending on the ground and weather conditions. They don't need a lot more than grass or rough forage, but in the depths of Winter they do enjoy a bale of hay.
A couple of years into our time at Rempstone, we were offered the opportunity for funding by the Purbeck Keystone Project and funded by Heritage Lottery Fund, SITA Trust and AONB(SDF) to buy a different rare breed of cattle, with the specific purpose of grazing for conservation on the chalk grasslands on the Purbeck Ridge. We chose Hereford cattle and these have joined our herd of Rubies - we have some lovely Ruby x Hereford calves which are doing well.
Having the Purbeck Way running through some of our fields also influenced our choice as the Devons and Herefords are known to be well tempered and gentle.
We have Lleyn ewes which do well on our challenging ground. We lamb indoors in March/April and after a few days of loving care, the ewes and their lambs are taken outside to grow. They are great Mothers and the lambs have good 'get up and go'! The sheep are sheared in January and we house them until they lamb in March.
We have a flock of around 450 brown hens for our laying birds. These live in a large arc polytunnel type shed where they can perch and eat and lay their eggs in cosy nesting boxes. The hens are very chatty and like to follow us round the field. They range across the field and enjoy the shelters and dig big holes to dust bath in!