Wiltshire-based charity, Jamie’s Farm, has been donated two rare breed Lowline calves to help with its work to re-engage vulnerable children at risk of social and academic exclusion.
The charity, which was set up by Jamie and Tish Feilden in 2008, hosts city children aged 11 to 16 for an intense, five-day residential experience working on the farm. Agricultural life helps them to reflect and determine a new path for themselves.
Dorset cattle breeders Wessex Lowlines made the donation after Jamie visited the company’s owners, Geoff Roper and Nick Weber, in search of small, docile beef animals for the children to work with.
Jamie’s existing herd of 100 Aberdeen Angus has been found to be getting bigger over time and difficult for some children to handle.
The farm’s new arrivals, named Elsa and Ebony, are direct descendants of the Aberdeen Angus but stand at two-thirds the height.
Jamie, who started out as a history teacher in London before deciding to set up the farm, said: "The Lowline’s size and docile temperament make them ideal for handling which means the children who visit us can be involved in hands-on tasks such as grooming, feeding and halter training.
"The calves are one-year-old but are still quite small, have a great temperament and are keen for contact.
"Through being exposed to working closely with animals such as the Lowlines, having real jobs with a real purpose and being in the beauty of the countryside, along with the therapy we also offer, it all really helps to move these children forward."
Jamie has a big future in mind for Elsa and Ebony with plans to grow his Lowline numbers using artificial insemination while gradually decreasing the Aberdeen Angus herd.
Jamie said: "We are massively grateful to Wessex Lowlines for the donation because these cattle are so rare and valuable.
"With their size and temperament, makes them a great asset to our farm and for the children to visit. It’s incredibly kind and the start of something much bigger."
Geoff said: "I am really pleased that we have been able to contribute to such a good cause.
"The Lowline traits that Jamie likes are the same ones I liked when I first came across them.
"They will make a big difference to Jamie’s Farm and the experience the children have when they are staying there."