Welcome to our Holden's Hide a way farm

Holden's Hide-A-Way Farm is a diversified farm that produces a wide variety of meat product, in much of the same manner as a farmer would have 100 years ago. Our ideas on how to raise livestock come directly from mother nature. We raise grass fed beef and lamb because that is what mother nature intended. Our pigs are free to root and roam through out the warm seasons. Winters are spent in a barn with ample space and lots of hay to eat and root around in. Poultry is raised on pasture where they get lots of fresh air and can do the things poultry likes to do.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

First 2012 Calf

Happy new year everyone.

Our first calf of the 2012 year has arrived. Born during the night of January 20th. We don't usually like calving during the winter, for obvious reasons. However last year we were late getting a bull and we could not justify waiting a whole year to get a calf out of our girls. We have at least one more cow that will be calving before spring. Hopefully we will be as Lucky with her. The new calf is what they call a "black baldy". They get this name because they are black in colour with a white face. This colour is usually produced when crossing breeding a black angus with a hereford cow(red and white cow in the first picture). Black baldies are very popular as cattle because these two breeds are excellent mothers and very hardy. By cross breeding them you usually get the best of both. For our set up it the breed is a very good addition because along with being a good mother they produce terrific grass fed meat. My wife, Lynn, loves the colour and has wanted a black baldy cow for some time now. The calf born is a female, so it is most likely if all goes well she will be added to our breeding herd, not for meat production. This has worked out well for Lynn because we no longer have a black angus bull, and we only have one hereford cow. So this was her only chance of getting a black baldy. This year we are using a Shorthorn bull. Shorthorns rival the angus in meat quality and marbling. Angus is just marketed better by the breeders. We were looking to add some diversity to the herd and shorthorn fit the bill.  Farmers from years gone by used to use a three way breeding program to produce good grass fed beef. Every two years most farmers change their bull, and these old farmers would rotate from angus to hereford to shorthorn. In one order or another. All three of these breeds offer good qualities. Most of ther best grass fed breeds are old British breeds. They include the three above plus highlands, galloway, murry grey, welsh blacks, white park and any combination of the above. Every farmer has their favourite, but each breed offers something. As mentioned above angus is only popular because it is the best advertised. The best steaks we have ever produced were actually from a couple of shorthorn cattle. You can see in our pictures we have a variety of breeds and cross breeds. The long haired shaggy looking creatures are highland cattle. They are a unique breed related to ancient Scottish cattle. They actually decent from a different line of cattle then all other breeds. They are known for their hardiness and exceptional mothering. Their meat has won many taste tests when competing with all other popular breeds, including angus. The royal family actually keeps a herd of highlands, and that is their source of beef. They are not as popular with the commercial guy's because they are small framed and slower growing. They require an extra couple of months to finish them. however they fir our program almost perfectly. When crossed with a shorthorn bull they will produce a nice beef animal, and an easy keeping mother. An added bonus is that the Highland does not produce as much external fat. This fat is usually just trimmed off the hanging carcass and wasted, which is a waste of money. Because the Highland has such thick insulating fur, it does not produce the amount of fat other breeds produce. I will be posting more pictures of the highlands as time goes on. Another bonus for us as farmers is the Highlands come in a range of colours. Most breeds have been selected for one or two colours at the most. We find it much more appealing to see variety in the pasture. A field of white or black cattle is just not as exciting to watch. And when calving season comes around it is always more fun to be surprised by a unique calf colour.