Highfield is a small-scale farm which aims to combine ethical and sustainable farming practices with the conservation of critically endangered Box Gum Grassy Woodland. We farm only one-third of the 820 acre property, with the remaining two-thirds left as protected woodland.
Our sheep and cattle are grass-fed only on mostly native pasture. We do not use growth promotants or hormones.
At Highfield we run Dorper sheep, a breed developed in South Africa from Dorset Horn sheep and Black-headed Persian sheep. Dorpers are hardy and do well on native pasture. With their black heads, chunky bodies and horizontal ears, they’re good to look at, and best of all, they produce fantastic marbled lamb.
You can be assured that they are grass-fed. We do not feed them grain or send them off to feedlots to 'finish'.
It is a priority for us to have relaxed animals. We move our sheep quietly on foot without dogs, motor bikes or 4-wheelers using low-stress stock handling techniques. We do not remove the tails of our sheep and we do not wean our lambs – the ewes do that. Lambs are processed at our closest facility in Gundagai and cut expertly by our local Gundagai butcher.
We are in love with our mini herd of Dexter cattle. Dexters are a small breed of dual-purpose (providing milk and meat) cattle from Ireland. Once a rare breed, they are now classified as recovering. Our girls are Geranium, Dora, Hazel, Calendula and Violet. We have also just welcomed new calves – Pansy, Rusty and Coco.
We occasionally have beef for sale. Our beef, like our lamb, is entirely grass-fed on mostly native pasture. We aim to expand our cattle herd in 2018 so that we can offer our beautiful beef weekly via local Farmers’ Markets. That’s the aim. We will keep you posted.
Our chickens - a mixed flock of Australorps, White Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Araucanas and Marans produce fabulous pasture-raised eggs with exceptionally orange yolks. We do not raise ISA Browns or Hi-line Browns - they are industrial chickens and they have short lives due to their prolific egg-laying qualities.
Our hens roost and lay in their own caravan and are moved to a fresh patch of grass each week. During the day they are free to roam and graze on grass, in search of worms and grubs. We supplement their diet with grain and grit.
Our hens lay on straw, not astro-turf. We believe in animals showing their full range of behaviours and fussing over their nest is one of them. We believe that hens expressing their full range of behavious makes a happier hen and a better egg.
Our hens are stocked at 1,000 birds per hectare, significantly lower that the free-range classification of ‘Free-range’ at 10,000 birds per hectare and lower than the RSPCA recommended rate of 1,500 birds per hectare.