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At Ballylagan all our animals are free range.  On your visit you’re likely to see some in the surrounding fields or pottering about the yard.

Animal welfare is of utmost importance and by choosing (where possible) longstanding native breeds we raise healthy, stress free animals living in a sustainable manner with their environment.  There is no routine administration of veterinary treatments and absolutely no use of hormones, GMs, growthpromoters or in-feed antiobiotics.  We also never practice unnecessary mutilations such as tail docking in sheep or pigs, teeth clipping in piglets or beak tipping in chickens.

The livestock graze lush pastures free from artificial fertilizers or pesticides.  We grow as much of our own supplementary feed as possible but also purchase organic feeds from certified mills to ensure a balanced diet.  

Cattle

Our grass fed, Aberdeen Angus herd spend the drier months of the year outside, grazing on traditional clover and grass mix pastures.  In the winter, when conditions deteriorate, we bring the stock indoors to prevent excessive damage to the fields.  They are housed in two byres on the farm, deep bedded with straw and fed home grown, grass silage.

Angus are one of our great native breeds, renowned for their eating quality. They are not as big or as fast growing as some of the more modern breeds, but they are easy calving and thrive on the ‘grass only ‘ diet that nature intended for them. All our livestock are butchered on our own premises and hung for the optimum length of time.  

Sheep

Lleyn sheep originate from the Lleyn peninsula in Wales and are particularly well suited to our local farming conditions and the organic system, which enables us to produce prime lamb of nothing but traditional pasture.

Their natural resistance to disease and parasites is also key in maintaining a healthy flock, since we don’t routinely reach to the medicine cupboard for antibiotics or any other drugs.

The Ballylagan flock is kept out on pasture all year round, however during extremely bad weather or when the ewes start lambing they may be brought indoors for shelter and to give time for  lambs to bond with their mothers. 

Pigs

Over the years intensive pig farming using fast growing, lean, continental breeds has led to dwindling numbers of native pig species.  Some to the extent that they have been recognised as rare breeds by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

At Ballylagan, as with all our livestock, we favour traditional varieties and have had several breeds of pig on the farm over the years. There are nearly always some pigs quite close to the yard, where you can see them  roaming and rooting in large pastures with straw filled arks for shelter.  If conditions are particularly bad we occasionally bring the sows in to farrow but unlike intensive systems where sow crates are commonplace we prefer to utilise space combined with peace and quiet to ensure the safety of the piglets.

In comparison to commercial pork which is often watery and lean, these breeds produce succulent, flavoursome meat with crackling to die for!  We are proud of the additional fat on our pork and firmly believe it’s good for you!  All our bacon and ham is dry cured and is of unrivalled quality.

Poultry

We have a mixed flock of laying birds that spend most daylight hours outdoors in a fenced area planted with native broadleaf woodland. At night they are brought inside to protect them from predators such as the fox.