In 1990 an opportunity arose for part of the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd to be moved to a second site on the Crown Estate, Glenlivet near Tomintoul. Having graced the northern slopes of the Cairngorms since 1952 it was good to be able to split the herd and establish them elsewhere, thus taking grazing pressure off the original site and allowing us to build our herd number.
To this day the reindeer at Wild Farm remain part of the Cairngorm Herd and they are kept purely as a display herd, we do not farm them for meat. However the reindeer only occupy the higher ground on the farm and are not suitable candidates for the fields and lower ground.
To address this we thought carefully about what might compliment the 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 on the farm today are hardy, self sustaining and low maintenance. Apart from regular checking and if necessary feeding they look after themselves to a large extent.
The Belted Galloway Cattle are a traditional Scottish breed that thrive on rough pastures, calve easily, make very good mothers with plenty of milk and are particularly delicious on the dinner plate.
Our Soay Sheep, originally found only on the Island of St Kilda are extremely hardy, shed their own fleece so do not require shearing and make extremely good mothers. From one day to the next they look after themselves and our input is minimal.
The herd of Fallow Deer and Red Deer are totally self sufficient for the majority of the year and apart from some extra feeding in bad winter weather they need no extra care.
The cattle, sheep and deer are all supplementary fed in the winter months with hay and silage grown on the farm.
The wild boar are fenced into woodland areas and open hill and are the only animals that need daily feeding all year round, otherwise they escape and look for food elsewhere!
We are lucky that slaughtering facilities are close by at Grantown on Spey and Elgin. The carcasses then come back to a local butcher before returning to the farm to be frozen.
All our meat is grown on the farm, killed locally and sold off the farm, you couldn’t get lower food miles! All the farm animals are free range and lead as natural life as they possibly can. Low input, low output is our ethos and with low densities and natural living we do not get any illnesses or deficiencies. Our veterinary bill for the farm animals is negligible