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Blog: Sensitivity

Sep 30, 2016 Written by
Blog: Sensitivity
Sensitivity
 
Goats and Sheep are gentle, sensitive animals who are emotionally complex and highly intelligent.
 
Like us, goats and sheep experience fear when they are separated from their social groups or approached by strangers, their heart rates increase when approached by a dog.
 
Farming ethically as we do means we care about this, when we are herding them we do not pounce on them and startle them out of their skin, we call out to them first with an unusual call that can only be found here at the home of Rare Breed Goats. (Just take a walk along the country lane that passes our home and you will hear for yourself).
 
When they are chewing their cud in the field we sit and enjoy five minutes break with them, this allows our animals to relax and know we are no threat, they also get used to me or as my wife says "you been hugging goats again? as you smell like them" this is obviously not true ;-) ... and when new arrivals come onto the holding they are quarantined as to keep our other animals safe, but this can be a traumatic time for the new comers (strange place, smells and this daft bloke that talks to them), so we spend time getting them to relax and bond with me, this is an important part of our farming time.

Blog: How to keep pets cool

Aug 24, 2016 Written by
Blog: How to keep pets cool

For us here at Rare Breed Goats in the far north of Scotland, glorious weather is something we are just not accustomed to, and our pets are finding it just a little bit too hot as well! 

However there are certain things we can do to make a hot summer as easy as possible for our beloved pets to cope with.

1). Dog walking

Unlike the rest of the year, taking your dogs for a walk in the mid-afternoon is best to avoid as this is when it is at its hottest. Walks in the early morning or evening are best, try and plan your route near to water, the beach, rivers or a good sized pond for them to splash about in. Try to avoid pavements and tarmac, as this can have gruesome and painful consequences. To see if the street temperature is safe enough for a walk with your dog. Put the back of your hand on the pavement, and if you can't keep it there for five seconds, it's too hot for your dogs feet. Overall ensure you take lots of water with you on walks, watch for the signs of your dog overheating and never, ever, ever leave a dog in the car — even on days that do not seem that warm.

2). Provide Some Shade

Of course, it’s not just dogs that need to be protected from the warm weather; rabbits, guinea pigs and other small furries do too! It’s essential that animals that live outdoors have a shaded area, and you could consider bringing them indoors or creating a space for them in the garage. All our goats along with our sheep have plenty of places they can take shelter from the heat.

3). Sun Cream

Some animals with this light coats can be prone to sunburn and, whilst making sure they’re in the shade whilst the sun is at its strongest, it’s also possible to buy hypoallergenic sun cream which can be applied to sensitive areas such as ears and noses.

4). Damp Towel

By gently stroking your cat with a damp towel (that isn’t too cold) you can keep them cool. This technique works so effectively because it mimics what cats do to keep themselves cool.

5). Haircut

Whilst animals naturally malt in the summer, taking them for a trim will make a world of difference in keeping them cool – especially if they have a particularly thick coat.

6). Allergies

It’s not just us humans that suffer from allergies during the summer months - dogs can also develop allergies to pollen which makes them incredibly itchy, especially on their ears, armpits and sides. They may also get red, itchy eyes. Antihistamines and steroids are available from the vets, and vacuuming and washing dog beds regularly can help to remove allergens. 

 

Blog: New Sheep Flock

Jul 01, 2016 Written by
Blog: New Sheep Flock

Say hi to our new flock of Oxford Down Sheep. 

Britain probably has the largest range of native sheep breeds in the world and along with our Rare Breed Goats we have a few rare native breeds of our own.

Our goat herd make up the large proportion of our livestock, however our sheep flock also takes up much of the farming calendar, from their regular care and annual shearing in the summer (we often have raw fleeces for sale from our flock, as well as spun yarns, for further details of available fleeces contact us direct.) to the excitement of lambing in early spring. 

The Oxford Down Sheep are a rare breed of sheep that has become een successfully used throughout Northern Europe since 1830s after crossing Cotswold rams with Hampshire Down and Southdown ewes. 

The Oxford down sheep are easily recognisable from their dark faces and woolly white fleeces - making them 'teddy bear' looking. 

'The reputation of the Oxford Down grew, and for the first half of the twentieth century it was one of the most popular crossing sires for lamb and mutton production. Upwards of 1000 rams were penned annually at the Kelso Ram Sales in the Scottish Borders while in England the traditional sale was the Oxford Ram Fair.

The Oxford Down is the heaviest of all the Down breeds, and the second heaviest of all British breeds of sheep. The breed has developed a sheep of hardy constitution, noted for early maturity and quality meat, with strong bone and thick, fine wool with good length of staple. The Oxford produces the heaviest fleece of any of the Down breeds. It shears a valuable commercial fleece of long-staple, light-shrinking wool which is commonly used for hosiery, knitting yarns and felts.'

'The pure-bred Oxford Down ewe is found to be healthy, easily managed, docile and with good mothering ability. Partly because the Oxford Down is a large breed, the ewes are relatively easy to lamb and many will lamb unassisted.'

'The breed is also noted for its very good, hard feet that need minimal attention. Ewes will naturally take the ram early in the season, making them suitable for early lamb production. The pure Oxford is a hardy animal and the pure-bred lamb, with good wool cover at birth, a good birthweight, and a strong instinct to suckle will withstand adverse conditions and generally does well.'

The Oxford Down thrives equally well on both arable and grassland and in every climate, and finishes on a comparatively smaller quantity of food than almost any breed. It is a notable fact that although some breeds of sheep appear to thrive only in certain localities, Oxford Downs flourish everywhere and have been exported to nearly every country in the world, so will be suited to our very chanagable weather, here in the far north.

 Advantages of the Breed.

1.  HIGH GROWTH RATE
Oxford cross lambs have outstanding liveweight gain potential with a capacity for maturity up to three weeks earlier than lambs by other rams
2. LARGE LEAN LAMBS
Oxford cross lambs will grow to heavy weights without excess fat
3. EASY FLESHING
Oxford cross lambs will finish easily off grass or low-cost fodder as lambs or hoggs and will hold condition well during adverse weather
4. HARDY LAMBS
Good wool cover at birth and high birthweights give lambs a high degree of tolerance to cold and wet conditions
5. LAMB VIGOUR
Oxford cross lambs are strong and active at birth
6. EASY LAMBING
Oxford cross lambs will lamb easily from most ewe breeds and crosses. Oxfords do not have excessive bone
7. CARCASE QUALITY
Large lean carcases with great width of loin and depth of lean meat. Flavour and eating quality are excellent
8. WILL TO LIVE
Oxford rams are vigorous, active, and good stock-getters and are noted for their longevity
9. VERSATILITY
Oxford crosses can be finished quickly for the early trade or kept on to heavier weights for later marketing, giving great versatility to the commercial producer
10. LEVEL LAMB CROP
Oxford rams are highly prepotent and will stamp their type on progeny, producing a level crop of lambs from all breeds and crosses of ewe

 

For regular update of our sheep flock, follow us on Twitter and Facebook by clicking on the link to the side of this page.

 

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OUR BLOG

  • Blog: Sensitivity
    Blog: Sensitivity Sensitivity   Goats and Sheep are gentle, sensitive animals who are emotionally complex and highly intelligent.   Like us, goats and sheep experience fear when they are separated from their…
    Written on 30 September 2016
  • Blog: How to keep pets cool
    Blog: How to keep pets cool For us here at Rare Breed Goats in the far north of Scotland, glorious weather is something we are just not accustomed to, and our pets are finding it just…
    Written on 24 August 2016
  • Blog: New Sheep Flock
    Blog: New Sheep Flock Say hi to our new flock of Oxford Down Sheep.  Britain probably has the largest range of native sheep breeds in the world and along with our Rare Breed Goats we…
    Written on 1 July 2016
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