Why Saving Rare Breeds?
Surely, rare breeds have become just that because they an uneconomical, difficult to look after or simply outclassed by modern breeds?
Rare breeds are absolutely perfect for the modern small-holder as they have effectively been designed to work best as hardy animals fulfilling the specific and often demanding needs of our climate and terrain.
Even on a larger scale, rare breeds have added values that have all but disappeared from more modern breeds. They generally suffer fewer health issues, are good mothers rearing sturdy and healthy offspring with minimal input, and thrive in harsher conditions on poor pasture, harsher climates and terrain and can digest a wider range of plant material that would simply be unpalatable to many others. Many rare breeds are now being used for precisely this purpose in conservation areas.
Rare breeds generally tend to be smaller and easier to handle as well as having value in the wonderful fleeces. This fleece is becoming more and more sought after by spinners and textile designers. It offers a wonderful array of colours and can be used for a wide range of projects. Some of the breeds such as the Boreray even shed the fleece for you so no shearing required. Although as can be seen here they do look a little scruffy at times.
Our aim at Saving Rare Breeds is make some of the breeds of livestock we have common again – we really would like to see the rare part of our name disappearing over the years and for the diversity and heritage of our traditional livestock to be valued in the farming community and within associated industries too.
Maintaining the diversity of characteristics and traits we find in rare breeds can also potentially provide us with options in the future too. With an ever-changing landscape and climate our rare breeds may help us to find solutions to changes we face in the years to come too as well as safeguarding our heritage for future generations.
Why a sanctuary?
Sadly farm animals and horses suffer many of the same problems that dogs, cats and other pets do. Our sanctuary provides a permanent home for such animals. One of our main focuses is to promote improved animal welfare for all farm animals and we strongly opposed factory farming. We have a no slaughter policy for all our animals.
Many of the traditional elements of farming are being lost to higher output and factory farms. Here we are trying to preserve features such as traditional hay meadows and promote a more holistic approach to animal care. We offer a range of courses with this in mind.
We also work with our farm wildlife. Recent projects have included the creation of scrapes to provide habitats for wading birds, owl nesting boxes and leaving areas of grassland for insect habitats.
That’s a whole lot of things going on but we are passionate about them all. We want to leave a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.