“Great Oaks from Little Acorns grow” - this old quotation could apply to the female Blues at the Chatham Herd. We started with one heifer and now we have around thirty breeding cows. We were not exactly new to Pedigree Breeding as we had bred Herefords for over twenty years prior to this and at one time had thirty Hereford females.

In 1987 we went over to Ashtons and purchased Lawn Deseri. She was a nice powder blue and white maiden heifer. The late Margaret Ashton assured us that put to a white bull this would get us a bull for either the dairy or suckler herd. We picked her out of a houseful of cattle and she wouldn’t have been everybody’s pick. But she had a level top and a leg in each corner and a bit of scope about her. Later on we also purchased a white heifer at Automart called Mosside Fiona. She had Hardi de St Fontaine breeding. These two foundation cows were bred to Stoneleigh Claudius bred by Mr Ted Haste and sold by Mr Ray Hull, Bovex Livestock, and whose dam, Indove Des Tiennes was a real show cow and was shown extensively here in Northern Ireland by Messrs Williamson and McAlister. The other bull used in those early days was Hercule de St Fontaine and this was on the recommendation of Mr John Herron, then Dept of Agriculture, N.I. and nowadays Secretary of Antrim Agricultural Show.

Since then we have selected and culled consistently and bred with a decent stock bull bought primarily for the suckler herd, but on the principal that if the bull is good enough for one it will do the other. The three stock bulls so far being Railwayview Hector, Lenborough Oliver and Paulern Verdi. Hector and Oliver put size and scope into the cows. Verdi is adding in good conformation and a new very important ingredient- ease of calving. We expect a stock bull to last up to ten years old on average. Nowadays a good percentage of our cows can calve naturally. We do have a policy that heifers are put to an easy calving Limousin the first time in order to promote easy calving and mothering ability. We are breeding consistently for a quality type of bull that can follow a herd and service a cow.

Our cows have been viewed on farm by cattlemen and women from every corner of the globe and we have been told that we have a top class herd of mainly white cows. Recently we had a fat cow make £1871 weighing 990kgs. (January 2011 Ballymena Livestock Mart). One of her sons was sold to Genus ABS. Our bulls don’t always get the ribbons on Sale Day but they usually sell well . Commercial Cattlemen still know what they want when purchasing a new bull. We are pleased to have many repeat sales.

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