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ABOUT EMBOROUGH FARM

We (Philip and Val) started our smallholding in 2013 with 4 male alpacas, with the aim of using the fleece to make things.  Shortly afterwards we got some chicken – mainly because we obtained a cheap Eglu chicken house and run.  Things then just increased very rapidly with the arrival of 4 pedigree Ryeland sheep (and a loan ram) resulting in a couple of lambs.  We now have about 55 breeding ewes (mostly pedigree white and coloured ryelands, some pedigree Oxford Downs and a few crosses) and 100-150 followers.  In December 2016 we got our first 2 pedigree Highland Cows (Dot and Flo), with a bull (Dewi) following a year later and another cow (Lizzie) in 2019 – we have so far had 18 calves.  We also got a few ducks and West of England geese along the way. We have demonstrated spinning and weaving at several local shows and sell processed and raw fleece.  We sell meat (Hogget (lamb aged 12-24 months), Highland Beef - soon Pork and charcuterie), eggs and gluten free home produced products (we have a 5 star food rating).  We also do 2 calendars annually (Highland Cow & Smallholders) and an ever increasing range of greetings cards – all produced ourselves using our own photographs and equipment.  In December 2022 we greatly expanded our large smallholding with the acquisition of 78 acres a mile from our 14.4 acre original site.

HIGHLAND COWS

Our first 2 were girls called Dot (red) & Flo (yellow) - their pedigree names are too long for here.  They came pregnant and both produced boys Augustus (red) and Septimus (yellow). Next followed our bull Dewi (dun with yellow highlights) from north Wales – we first saw him at the Royal Welsh Show, he was only 2, but has since fathered 4 boys (Smokie dun with yellow highlights and prize winning Fergus who is a brindle - both have gone as pedigree bulls) and 6 girls (Coco black, Grace dun, Mary yellow, Diane dark red, Willow red, Emma white, Emily black and Fiona yellow).  Lizzie (brindle) arrived pregnant in Jan 2019 and had a calf in the summer – Rosie (brindle).  Highland cows may be born one colour and can change during their first year or so (as have quite a few of ours).  They have a 2 layered coat and moult most of it in the summer (for the wet and needle felters, it felts very well).  Dewi has gone onto pastures new near Bristol and in 2023 we got a new bull called Freddie, also from Wales - we have had 3 calves from him with more expected this year. We also lost Dot in 2023 due to calving problems.

 

We occasionally have pedigree heifers and pedigree bulls for sale – they have excellent blood lines from some of the top folds in the country.

Our cows have lots of visitors, especially our orphaned calf Newton, who loves being brushed.

SHEEP

Our first 4 sheep (White Ryelands) were called Bossy (she was bossy and very expressive), Katie, Trousers (as she kept nibbling our trousers) and Daisy.  We have since increased our breeding stock with the addition of more white Ryelands, coloured Ryelands, Oxford Downs and 2 Texel/Welsh Mountain cross (for ewes that lost their lambs and were pining for another).  Our oldest ewe is a coloured Ryeland called "Miss P" due to her breed year of birth letter of 'P' - she is 12.  Our flock is now made up mainly of home bred ewes and only a few bought in ones left.

Sheep are supposed to be stupid, but we have found them to be very intelligent, quite crafty when it suits, they have friends and know their family (Bossy’s first lamb, Missy, always lambed in-front of Bossy if she could). 

 

Ryelands are an ideal small-holder breed with a very soft fleece loved by hand spinners and they produce great tasting meat which when slow grown on grass is not too fatty.  They may be small in appearance (compared to commercial breeds), but their weight is not much different to other breeds - we have had some boys over 110kg. They are not usually escape artists and love grass.

 

We usually have shearling ewes (ewes aged 12-24 months) for sale from late spring and occasionally rams.  

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ALPACAS

Our 4 original boys – Henry (white), Oliver (fawn), Harry (chocolate / brown) and Mazda (white) arrived aged about 3 years old and quite timid in 2013. They have now calmed down and are a lot more friendly.  Unfortunately Mazda and Harry have since died, so in 2023 we bought 4 more boys (aged 1) - Pilot (black), Challenger (Brown), Nugget (Fawn), and Ernie (white).  We keep the best fleece for yarn and roving and the poor quality is now used to mulch and protect flowers and veg from slugs which it does really well. 

Our alpacas love posing for photos! and often get people coming just to see them.  We hope to be able to offer an alpaca walking experience later in 2024

CHICKENS AND DUCKS

We have a variety of chickens who lay a range of coloured eggs (white, several shades of brown, olive and blue). The chickens lay eggs for most of the year, but during the winter moult they stop.  Ducks only lay from spring until autumn, usually, and their eggs are slightly larger than hens’ eggs.  Ducks eggs make great sponge cakes.

Due to the move we currently only have one duck who is living at a friend's, but are hoping to get some Khaki Campbell ducks in the near future.

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GEESE

We have West of England geese – 3 girls and boy - they can be sexed at birth due to their markings – the females are black marked, whereas the males are white.  They are a rare breed.  Egg laying for our geese is usually late Feb to May and they lay an egg more or less every 2 days – eggs are the size of 3 medium hens’ eggs (2 duck eggs) and their shells are sometimes decorated by skilled artists.  We hope to start breeding them in a year or so.  The eggs make great cakes and an 8 minute boiled egg is wonderful.

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