free ranging cows
For most of the year round, you can find our girls grazing freely on the lush and wildlife rich marshes of Stow Fen, in the beautiful Waveney River Valley. They keep peaceful company with otters, kingfishers, egrets, herons, marsh harriers, water voles and a myriad of other watermeadow creatures.
Due to the wet nature of the marshland around the farm, there are certain months during the winter when it’s not possible for the cows to graze (they’d need boats!). Or sometimes it’s just so cold or dry that the grass doesn’t grow. During those short periods of the year, the girls are housed in deep open-sided straw barns, with plenty of fresh air, sunlight and back scratchers for a good massage, whenever the need takes them.
When the herd are inside, they eat a diet of home-grown hay, haylage, grass and maize silage. We try to feed them as much of a home-grown diet as possible, but our cow's health and well-being is our top priority, so if our own forage is not providing everything they need for optimum health, we will sometimes buy in small amounts of other suitable feeds, vitamins and minerals, to top up their diets and keep them glossy and happy.
Unlike the vast majority of dairy herds in the UK, we don't push our cows to give too much milk. We would rather have a farm full of happy, healthy and relaxed cows who live longer.
why montbeliarde cows?
The Montbeliarde is an ancient breed and she is a relaxed type of beast. She originates from the meadows of the Jura region in the French Alps and is happiest when dining on a diet of fresh grass and home grown forage. She won't give very much milk but the milk she does give is protein rich, flavoursome and perfect for cheesemaking. In fact, some of the best French cheeses are made exclusively from Montbeliarde milk, including Comte, Vacherin Mont D' Or and Reblochon.
Our Montbeliarde herd were hand-picked by Jonny from small farms in the Jura and are very well suited to the Suffolk climate. They appear to be enjoying life here very much indeed.
If you have any questions about our herd and our farming values, please feel free to drop us a line, or take a ganders at our Myth Busters section, where we explain the real deal behind some popular farming myths.