OUR FARM ANIMALS
We are very proud of our beautiful animals here at Berllan. We have a small flock of hens of various types who give us the most wonderful prize-winning eggs in a variety of colours, Large Black pigs and Dexter cattle.
Large Blacks are the UK's only totally black breed of pig and are classed as "Priority" by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. With under 200 registered breeding sows they are rarer than giant pandas, and we are doing our little bit to help them survive. They have large paddocks and snug housing, plus a large double stable with attached yard for farrowing. They are docile despite their large size, and Twiggy, Arianrhod and Bran the boar are very friendly and love a good back scratch!
Dexter cattle originate from the west coast of Ireland and are the smallest native breed, being around half the size of a Hereford or a third of the size of a Friesian, standing at around a metre at the shoulder. They were originally triple purpose, being bred to be suitable for beef, dairy and draught, and, being both very hardy and light on the ground, are ideal for conservation grazing. Here at Berllan they preserve the ecosystems of our rare lowland rhos pasture, and will produce delicious beef as a by-product. They are also used at other sites in the area by the Caeau Mynydd Mawr Marsh Fritillary Project to preserve the habitat of the very rare Marsh Fritillary butterfly.
All of our animals are given as much freedom to express their natural behaviours as possible. The pigs have paddocks with grass and wallows to enjoy; the hens have a large pen, are let out to free range around the farm, and have a cockerel to encourage natural flock dynamics, and the cattle live out all year on varied pasture with scrub, so they can choose to eat whatever herbs, leaves etc take their fancy and either use hedges and trees for shelter, or the warm, comfy field shelters to which they have free access. We are very conscious of the environmental impact of animal feed, so only use that made from British ingredients, sourced as locally as possible, and with no imported soya bean or GM products whatsoever. The cattle are fed exclusively on pasture and the haylage produced from it.