The lovely Sussex Cattle which spent many months keeping most of tbe SSSI sward down (not the dogwood which they do not find to their liking) are now spending quality time in the warm and dry. They are ensconced with others from the Findon Park Herd with the Hodgkins at Linch in an airy barn together with a number of Belted Galloways which are a fairly rare breed.
They are now primarily raised for the beef market as their meat is highly prized and is mainly bought by specialist butchers and restaurants. The first Official Herd Book recording calves born form 1840 was published in 1879 and a polled section was added. They have lovely dark red-brown coats and creamy white tail switches. An animal without this white tail switch has been the produce of a cross sometimes with an Ayrshire.
The Hodgkins also have a herd of Belted Galloways which, in some ways, are more rustic than the Sussex. The cows can live for anything up to 20 years. They are naturally polled hill cattle which are eminently suited for converting rough grazing into lean meat. Their double coat of long hair sheds the rain, and their soft undercoat, for warmth, eliminates the need for expensive housing. Ha Ha but they do not mind good hay and the lack of mud.
The Belted Galloway is a very distinctive breed with its characteristic white belt which encircles the body, the rest of the body being black, dun or red in colour. The distinctive white belt found in Belted Galloways often varies somewhat in width and regularity. The white contrast to the black coat, which may have a brownish tinge in the summer as it bleaches in the sun, sets the breed apart with its striking colour pattern.
The Belted Galloway Beef only contains about 1% saturated fat. The Belted Galloway beef has the same fat content as chicken and fish so fits in well with a healthy diet. Belted Galloway beef is exceptionally tender, full of flavour and juicy…..
As it has evolved in the harsh conditions of Scotland this breed is highly resistant to disease. They do not develop much fat under their hides; instead they have a double coat of hair consisting of a dense, soft, short undercoat and a long, shaggy overcoat, which is usually cast in hot weather. This double coat provides excellent protection in cold, wet, windy weather. In contrast, most other British beef breeds put on a thicker layer of uneconomical fat under their hides to provide the necessary insulation for protection against severe weather conditions.
The docile bull just gazed at me!