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Kite’s Nest Farm

About the farm

Kite’s Nest Farm is a 390 acre organic farm on the scarp slope of the Cotswolds, halfway between the centre of Broadway and the village of Snowshill. The land rises from approximately 300 to 800 feet above sea level and includes a wide range of soil types.

The farm is run by brother and sister Richard and Rosamund Young and Gareth Williams. They bought the farm in 1980 and immediately set about converting it to organic production due to their concern that the use of artificial fertilisers and synthetic pesticides is not sustainable and is having a damaging effect on the soil, the environment and human health.

Herd and breeding

All meat sold in their shop is from home-bred animals which eat only grass or grass products (hay and haylage). All but a handful of the cattle are descended from a herd established in 1953. The rest are descended from the last female animal they bought in, a heifer calf purchased in 1976. Since then they have only bought in three disease-free bulls and occasionally used artificial insemination to introduce fresh blood lines to avoid in-breeding.

The herd is a single-suckle beef herd. The cows generally have one
calf each year, which they rear on milk. Calves are born outside, mostly during the spring or early autumn and start eating small amounts of grass or hay when they are just a few days old. The cows naturally wean their calves about 8 weeks before the next calf is born and the older calf stays in the herd as well, with its mother and other relations until it is old enough to
be slaughtered (at 24-30 months of age) or in the case of some of the heifers, old enough to be put in-calf (at 15-18 months of age). Except in severe weather the cattle stay out all winter, though they are given the choice and a proportion of them sometimes choose to come indoors over night.

Antibiotics are never used routinely, but they do not hesitate to treat the occasional individual animal with antibiotics if it gets a serious infection, such as foul foot or summer mastitis.