"Rogiavi" - Bude, Cornwall
"Rogiavi" Herd - Sue and Roger Shadrick, Bude, Cornwall
We started our herd in 2007 with Culverwell Corrie and her heifer calf Worston Freida from Val Brooks who was the South West representative of Shetland Cattle Breeders Association (SCBA) - and haven’t looked back. We added St Trinians Brenda and Hengae Jannine to give some other bloodlines and ended up taking on the rep post from Val as well. We have enjoyed enabling people to see the benefits as well as any drawbacks of keeping these cattle, and several who have seen ours have gone on to set up their own herds. We were looking for an easy to keep breed that wouldn’t poach our ground too much in the winter and that would be quiet to handle. We had considered other native breeds but there wasn’t one that fitted our needs as well as the Shetlands and that continues to be our experience. Our cattle are housed on a straw based loose house system in open fronted sheds, they have haylage in winter and fodder beet [which they drool over!] after Christmas until it runs out in March and they go back out.
We are situated two miles from the north coast of Cornwall farming 70 acres with our Shetlands, Whitebred Shorthorns and commercial calf rearing, just over a hundred sheep and a couple of pigs each summer for the freezer. This is an area known for growing grass, and also for fairly high rainfall as you would expect.
The cattle we have are all black with white and as we have only used AI until recently we have needed to be careful not to inbreed as the RBST bull numbers are very limited. This was before the additional bulls available from the SCHBS Semen Store. We knew we’d need to go some distance to get a suitable bull and so when Paddy Zakaria asked us to breed a bull for her we were surprised to say the least, and then pleased to be able to have Carn Bhren Lazarus from her.
Our oldest cow is now 13 years old and going strong, we have 4 different bloodlines and are passionate about breeding the right cow to the right bull aiming for a healthy, easy to live with animal that is fit for purpose. That being to produce good quality calves, to be able to feed them well, for them to make good growth and finally a superior end product [the beef], all on a grass based diet. Our other aim is to sell the commercial traits of the breed to local farmers, but unfortunately, we’ve met little interest so far.
To show the commercial possibilities of the cattle, we regularly cross one of our cows with a Limousin or recently Bazadais.
We sell our beef either through boxes or a local rare breed butcher – who told us the beef doesn’t go onto the counter – it goes straight to restaurants!
The Shetland Coo really is one of Scotland’s best kept secrets and we are glad to have found it.