As part of our educational project, we took some of our students to visit Sladdens Farm, home to the Dexter Cow. Here is what our students thought of the visit and what they learnt.
The small farm has loads of Dexter cows which are Corgi cows with small legs and are really cute. There were also some calves which were so adorable.
Speaking to the women that run the farm, we discovered what the cows eat, how their business runs and how old the cows are when they die.
By speaking to Di, we found out that the cows eat grass which apparantly makes the meat taste nicer when they
Jordan hand feeding the cows
are turned into burgers. These cows will get fatter slower than other breeds who are fed on bigger farms with barley.
At Sladdens, the Dexter Cows get the occasional treat like bread and chocolate doughnuts.
We also found out what happens next for the cows. They die when they are about 30 months old and Di takes two at a time to the slaughter house each month so they don't get upset.
Showing us the carcasses in their walk-in fridge, they are really big when they're hanging up. It looked like about three cows and it wasn't even a whole one.
We were also shown a tongue which was huge and bigger than the tail, as well as the oxtail which can be made into soup which I had eaten a few days before and it was really nice.
Mercedes looks at the carcasses
Visiting the cows in their field at Sladdens
Finding out about different cuts of meat
It was not like I thought it was going to be, there is so much space and I thought they would be in a shelter, like pens. I did still think I would be able to feed which I did by hand.
I asked Di's friend who works with her on the farm some questions.
How do you know the difference between bull and a cow? "It's a bit like a boy and a girl really; you look for the obvious pieces on them."
Can the cows hurt you? "None of these are aggressive; you can see that but obviously if you've got a bull you've got to be wary of them because they're a big animal, not because they're aggressive necessarily but because they're a big animal. Max over there, he's a lovely bull but he's a big boy so you've got to be careful because physically if they knock you they're heavy."
How do you know which one's which, like their names? "I could never understand how Di could tell one black cow out of a heard but you can.
"They've got their ear tags and you can relate sometimes to their tag number - that's their passport number on there and it has Di's heard number on one side and then that's their individual number in the heard. That's unique to that cow within the country and they have to have two ear tags on."