Chatsworth Farmyard Turns 50!
by Izy Mayers
Chatsworth Farmyard celebrated it’s 50th Birthday on the 26th July, after starting as an idea to display British agriculture to the masses. In 50 years there have been many changes and our preservation of rare breed livestock is certainly one our proudest achievements.
For our 50th birthday we have introduced a huge number of new rare breed livestock, including a flock of Marsh Daisy chickens, a cohort of Golden Guernsey goats, a new Albion Cow and more Derbyshire Gritstone sheep. All of these animals join us together in our work to protect and promote their uses and genetics for generations to come, with at least another 50 years of happiness and joy.
The weekend saw a huge number of guests come through our gates, with a special 50th birthday talk displaying the Farmyard’s and the RBST’s hard work in keeping these breeds going. This included an informative display about our native breed, the Albion. The talk was a huge success and we thank Antony Eavis, our Farmyard Assistant, for bringing together people of all backgrounds to celebrate these breeds. We all look forward to a brighter future over the next 50 years.
Chatsworth farmyard first started with Albions 3 years ago with Scoutbeck Daphne. She calved at the end of April 2021 providing us with our first Chatsworth Albion, Bluebell. Bluebell was hand reared by the team at Chatsworth as her mother became our milking demonstration cow. It was brilliant to be able to share the history of the breed with hundreds of visitors. Scoutbeck Daphne nicknamed Skye, quickly became extremely popular. Bluebell also became firm favourite, especially amongst staff due to her sweet nature. Skye milked for our entire season, before drying off and having a relaxing winter. She exceeded our expectations by having another heifer calf the following spring. The farmyard’s second Albion, a black Scoutbeck cow nicknamed Storm, also delivered a beautiful heifer calf. Both cows seamlessly fell into our milking demonstration routine and their two heifers went to join a start-up open farm/micro dairy upon weaning. Sadly ‘Storm’ had an evening gallivanting and injured her knee. She recovered but was plagued with issues so we made the sad decision to rehome her. We also needed to expand the genetic pool of our herd but with limited space to do so. Luckily a nearby Albion breeder offered to swap Skye for one of his heifers. Though this meant a year off from milking Albions, but it has given our two young ones a season to get used to the routine before entering the spot light next year. As the Albions are one of our native ‘shire’ breeds they hold a special place in our hearts due to their locality. Fingers crossed Bluebell and new heifer Daphne, (named after dam Skye's pedigree name,) follow in Skye's and Storm's footsteps providing lots of calves to help preserve this fantastic breed.