Heathgate Herd

Denis Jenkins, Norfolk

The versatile and adaptable nature of the Red Poll makes it a perfect choice for grazing the poor quality grasses here in the heart of the East Anglian Brecklands. My herd is outside all year, calving through January and February in a 15 acre field with plenty of natural shelter and its easy calving nature together with good mothering qualities allow it to cope with the worst of the weather. About a third of my herd go to a Limousin bull to produce a fast growing commercial calf with no additional feeding while the rest of cows are bred pure to give me replacements and a few breeding animals to sell. Only barley straw is fed during the winter months which I find more than adequate plus a few fodder beet after calving to get the milk flowing while awaiting the spring grass.

The very placid nature of the Red Poll also allows me to graze them with sheep and even at lambing time there are no issues with tiny new-born lambs receiving no more than the occasional lick from inquisitive calves. This breed thrives on contact with people and can become extremely quiet when they get used to you making them an ideal breed for a small herd as well as being a commercial proposition in a larger herd.

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