In 1990, the opportunity arose for part of the famous Cairngorm reindeer herd to be established on a hill farm on the Crown Estate, Glenlivet. To this day the reindeer on our Glenlivet Farm remain part of the Cairngorm Herd but because of reindeer’s unique physiology and specific adaptations to the cold they only thrive on the higher ground on the farm. They cannot be kept permanently in the cultivated fields lower down.
To address this we thought carefully about what farm animals might compliment these already unusual inhabitants and make the best of the land and climate in this part of the Scottish Highlands. All the farmed animals we keep today are hardy, self-sufficient for much of the year and low maintenance. Apart from regular checking and extra feeding where necessary they look after themselves.
From calving in spring to the rut in autumn the Red deer and Fallow deer are entirely self sufficient and depending on the severity of the winter are fed home grown silage and barley with locally sourced draff from the Tomintoul Distillery. With our self built deer handling system we are able to drench, cut antlers and split off animals as required.
Our Belted Galloway Cattle are a traditional Scottish breed that thrive on rough pastures, calve easily and produce plenty of milk for their growing calves. They are also a polled breed ( no horns ), making them easy to handle.
The Soay Sheep are semi-feral, extremely hardy, shed their own fleeces and need little intervention when lambing. They never suffer from fly strike and foot rot, ailments often found in more commercial breeds of sheep.
And finally the Iron-age pigs are tough, healthy, live out all year round regardless of age but do need daily feeding otherwise they escape!
We sell breeding stock nationwide and the fattened cattle, pigs and sheep are killed just 15 miles away at the abattoir in Grantown on Spey, with the meat sold direct from the farm.
A visit to our ‘Wild Farm’, will give you an insight into a farming technique which is ‘low input-low output’ free-range animals in the stunning backdrop of the Cairngorms National Park.