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Free to Roam
and express their natural behaviour
We keep pure and cross-bred Shetland sheep, and pedigree Devon Ruby Red cattle.
Our animals are reared in a non-intensive way and we have an in-depth knowledge of all our stock. Strict organic principals apply and this ensures the best possible, and least stressful, environment for the animals.
We aim to manage the farm in a way that not only benefits our sheep and cattle but also supports and encourages the rich variety of flora and fauna that share the land.
All of our animals are free to roam and can express their natural behaviour. They graze on our own organic pasture as well as hay during the winter months.
Both lambs and calves are reared slowly, weaned later than in conventional agriculture and stay on grass until they reach their full weight. Research shows that meat from animals raised on pastures is richer in antioxidants and offers more 'good' fats and fewer 'bad' fats.
Rich in Omega 3
Meat from grass-fed animals has been shown to have two to four times more Omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain fed animals. Omega-3s are also believed to lower the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack and are thought to lower the risk of cancer.
The ideal breed for extensive organic systems…
Shetlands are slower maturing than the more commercial breeds, giving them a distinctive flavour.
The Shetland is a primitive breed that has evolved in isolation over the last thousand years in the Shetland Isles. The harsh environment and selection for a dual-purpose meat and wool animal has resulted in a superbly hardy and disease-resistant breed with the finest quality wool of any British sheep and excellent mothering qualities.
Shetlands are extremely economical grazers and efficient converters of low quality fodder. Their ability to out-winter on minimal additional feed means that they are economical to manage whilst their small size minimises poaching damage to the winter sward and leads to ease of handling.
The Shetlands genetic remoteness from the lowland sheep of Britain results in considerable hybrid vigour when crossed with an appropriate terminal sire. At Whaddon Grove we cross with Poll Dorsets – producing lambs with lean and superbly flavoured meat. In this way we benefit from the best qualities of the Shetland ewe – an economical, easy-to handle, hardy and thrifty animal with superb mothering ability and good milkiness – whilst also being able to satisfy modern requirements for size and carcass conformity brought by the Poll Dorset.
Pure bred Shetland lambs take longer to mature and are typically not ready until late-Autumn. They do however grow on extremely well after out-wintering to produce superb hoggets by mid-May. To our mind hogget (an animal between 1 and 2 years of age) is the very best sheep meat for slow cooking (such as roasts, stews and curries).
Shetlands are an ideal choice for low-labour and low-input management systems and are increasingly popular with organic farmers and for conservation grazing organisations. As a breed the Shetland has a lot to offer as farming increasingly turns to sustainable agricultural practices that are sensitive to environmental pressures and concerns.
Texture, flavour & tenderness that’s hard to beat…
Devon Ruby Red beef is probably the best beef you can buy.
The Ruby Red breed developed as an economical producer of prime quality beef that could thrive when out-wintered on the moors of North Devon. The breed is prized for its good temperament, ease of calving, natural disease resistance, longevity and hardiness - attributes that make it ideally suited to extensive and low-input management systems.
At Whaddon Grove we believe that our exclusively grass-fed Red Ruby Devon beef cannot be beaten for marbling, texture, flavour and tenderness. The ability of the Ruby Red, unlike modern breeds, to lay down intra-muscular fat (marbling) is the key to the succulence and flavour of its meat. At the same time we do not have to rely upon feeding grain-based supplements – finishing all our beef on our clover-rich pastures. In a world that is increasingly concerned with the carbon-footprint of our food, grass-fed beef should be the consumers’ first choice.
The Ruby Red is recognized as a prime conservation grazing breed, with its ability to gently graze, and therefore control, poorer quality herbage and is a qualifying native breed under the various stewardship schemes. They are an ideal choice for low-labour and low-input management systems and are increasingly popular with organic and main-stream farmers alike.