Here on the croft we have a menagerie of creatures sharing the land with us.
We have a huge flock of free range birds including chickens, ducks (including kharki campbells, muscovy and Indian runners), turkeys, geese and guinea fowl. Most of the birds were hatched and reared here on the croft from an initial import of ten hens and a cockerel, a few geese, five ducks and a donated drake, some rehomed ducks from neighbouring isle of Muck. Our birds have complete freedom to free range and forage for food, swim on the river and roost in trees. During the spring we catch any newly hatched young with their mothers and pen them to keep them safe from the crows until they are grown enough to be safe. We pen the birds at night in the summer to ensure we can find their freshly laid eggs each morning before releasing them for another free range day on the croft. Any extra male birds bred each year are fattened for our own table. Along with providing us, fellow islanders and visitors with a steady supply of delicious eggs our birds also help graze the croft and keep beasties like slugs and snails under control who would otherwise feast on our crops.
We keep pigs here on Croft 3. Initially we had a breeding pair of Kune-kune / Gloucester Old Spot pigs called Tom & Barbara who successfully bred and reared three litters of piglets. Sadly in 2016 we lost Tom and a new boar, called Bob joined us. Bob is yet to sire his first litter here on Rum but he and Barbara have hit it off and we hope to welcome their piglets in spring 2017. Currently we still have two girls from our 2015 litter who are being kept for company for Barbara and to ensure we have a healthy girl for breeding. Our pigs are kept to condition the ground and for our own supply of meat. We have already learned loads of about butchering and processing meat including sausages, bacon and other charcuterie produce.
A new addition to Croft 3 in autumn 2016 has been three ewe lambs, come to us from neighbouring Isle of Muck. A cross breed of Cheviot and Llyn they are hardy white faced sheep who have settled in well. We are keeping them initially for grazing, for shearing to use their fleeces and long term intend to breed from them for meat.
We are incredibly passionate about animals being kept in natural conditions, allowed to exhibit their innate behaviours and enjoy their life. We enjoy eating meat but feel strongly that we should respect animals reared for eating, giving them an excellent quality of live and a respectful and caring death.