Our present herd consists of nine female Dexter cows, owned by the Society’s community shareholders. They are there purely to Conservation Graze the common – once introduced they remain for life. ( As you can imagine our society members do become attached to the herd!) This ensures the ‘social’ knowledge gained by the elder cows can be passed on to the herd’s newest members.
The Dexter breed originated in the South West of Ireland. They are the smallest native breed of cattle in the British Isles and are exceptionally hardy animals. Ours stay out all year round and remain in particularly good health.
They graze within small temporary paddocks which are moved at intervals to avoid overgrazing and to allow new grass and wild flower seed to germinate in their absence.
All work associated with maintaining the animals on the Common is undertaken by village volunteers. Many volunteer ‘lookers’ check the animals, their water and the fence daily under the guidance of a warden. When it is time to move the herd to a new area of the Common another team of volunteer ‘movers’ take down the existing fence and gates and re-erects them in the new area in readiness for the herd.
On our Board, in the role of Herd Manager we have an experienced grazier in order to ensure that expert advice is available and that all decisions taken ensure the welfare of the animals.