We raise Barrosã and Arouquesa cattle, both Portuguese heritage breeds. Our animals are never stabled, the lovely climate in this area means they never need to be! The calves spend all their lives with their mothers and the bull is always with the herd. We never separate calves to wean them (in order to make the mothers get pregnant sooner or to fatten them up.) The cows live as a herd in as close to what would be their natural setting as we can create. The mother cows wean their calves when they are ready (some nurse as long as two years!) and the bull gets to hang out with his family rather than being separated and only put with the herd to breed at human-dictated times.
If you’d like more info on how our cows live please ask!
Our cows are never fed grain, only grass. Besides this being what is best for them as ruminants, it’s also better for the environment. The growing of grain to feed livestock is recognized as one of the greatest strains on agricultural land use. Our cows not only enjoy some pasture but also the delicacies of the forest areas of the farm where they eat everything imaginable from spiney blackberry brambles to wild chestnuts which are abundant in this area. Most of the land they use is not suitable for crops, so not only are they not competing with land for other food, they are actually an invaluable part of our overall land management and fire prevention plan on our farm and aid in regenerating the soil.
We are a family farm and we only work with other small family farms and employ local people. We work to develop lasting relationships with those who work the land around us and those who work alongside us on this land. As any small farmer knows working together is the only way to get ourselves out there and succeed in a market crowded by big producers. Knowing where our food comes from and being willing to support real, local people in the production of it is the key to a sustainable future in agriculture!