We have around 140 beef cattle, mostly Aberdeen Angus. Our dairy cows are either served naturally by one of our two beautiful black Aberdeen Angus bulls (resulting in lovely dark brown calves). All these offspring become our beef cattle.
We also use semen from Friesian bulls. When both the cow and bull are Friesian, a resulting black and white female calf will become a dairy cow whereas a robust male calf will stay on for veal.
When the calves are born they stay with their mother for a couple of days. Then when she has to get back to work in the dairy herd, they go and live with a foster mum in the calf house. Each suckler cow will raise three or four calves.
At a couple of months old, weather permitting, the youngsters move out of the calf house; at first with some suckler cows for milk and guidance, then when they are old and wise enough a couple of weeks later they are weaned and live in groups without cows.
By this time the beef cattle have been separated from the veal and dairy heifers.
When winter comes they stay out in the fields as long as possible. Cold temperatures are not a problem because they produce wonderfully thick coats, but if it gets too wet and the fields start to suffer they come indoors where they enjoy thick straw beds and juicy silage (made from grass cut in the summer).
Our beef cattle are able to live this comfortable life for around two years, until they are "finished", which means they are ready to produce fantastic quality meat. If you'd like to sample our beef, why not visit our pub, The Royal Oak, where we regularly serve our own organic beef on the menu.
We are currently milking 120 Friesian cows from our total herd of 160. The remaining 40 cows are our “dry cows”.
Generally speaking our milking cows have a calf once a year. Two months before they are due to be served or put into calf they have a break, they become a “dry cow” which means they don't produce milk.
Tio is our head herdsman and milks twice a day here at Eastbrook. Our milk goes to Yeo Valley Organic via OMSCO.