Welfare is our top priority at Carr farm.
The welfare of our birds and animals from birth to death is of paramount importance to us. As a small producer we are not members of any of the many and varied farm assurance schemes at present. The highest standard remains the Organic criteria which is run by the Soil Association. We have studied their welfare standards and also those of the Red Tractor and RSPCA freedom foods. In each case we endeavour to exceed the standards set by these organisations for welfare, and in most categories our methods far exceed those set out in the assurance schemes.
We are a small farm and welfare is at the heart of everything we do, although we strive to produce the highest quality product and try and retain competitive pricing we would never allow this to compromise the welfare of our birds and animals.
We always welcome visitors to the farm and are happy to show you how our livestock is reared and answer any questions you may have. In 2015 we were pleased to receive a number of enquiries from our customers wanting to know specifics of the standards of how our livestock is reared, fed and slaughtered. Whilst other producers may shy away from some of these questions, we are always happy to discuss all aspects with our customers. Furthermore we are pleased that our customers are also putting the welfare of the animals and birds that provide food on the table at the top of their priority list as well.
Our cattle graze the lush marshes of the River Waveney throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn months. These marshes are rich in biodiversity and the qualities of the varied herbage is reflected in the fine taste of the resulting product. In the winter months the cattle are moved onto higher ground and feed supplementary hay grown on the farm, our cattle are hardy, bred for the harsh winters of the Scottish Highlands and thrive with an outdoor life. Our cattle are well handled and we spend much time getting them used to and relaxed about human contact. We feel this is important as although the animals are born and raised here at Carr Farm at slaughter time they are transported to our local abbatoir by ourselves and we want to ensure that their final journey is as stress free and calm as possible.
We adopt the same ethos with our rare breed pigs, although these are bought in from local breeders as weaners they live a fully outdoor free range life and are well handled to ensure calmness and confidence at the end of their lives.
Our geese are bought in as day old goslings in May from a local hatchery, and are up to a week old when they first arrive. They spend the first few weeks in our barn under heat and after a month move out onto the pasture with shade and splashing baths. Geese are creatures of habit they like to stay in their hatching groups and become attached to their handler. They can be easily startled so we try to create a calm environment and always spend time establishing contact and handling them, this is well rewarded as they become a tame flock and will calmly following their handler.
We hold Poultry Slaughter Licences and would not have embarked upon raising geese if we could not kill the birds on farm. Whilst other producers may be happy to crate up their birds and ship them off to a poultry processing plant – this route is not for us. We are often asked how we can deal with the slaughter of the birds if we are so attached to them and our response is always the same that we slaughter the birds ourselves because we are so attached to them.
We have spent a considerable amount of time in planning and organising the slaughter process for our geese, and all birds are humanely stunned. At slaugher time the birds are individually handled by the person who has cared for them throughout their whole life, in this way the stunning and slaughter can be dealt with quietly, calmly, quickly and without causing any stress for the individual birds.
If you have any questions about the way we rear any of our animals or birds or have specific welfare questions please contact us.
Our welfare ethos is simple we strive for all our animals and birds to have a happy, contented and stress free life, to be able to socialise within its herd or flock to be able to roam freely during the day, not to feel hunger or thirst and to grow at its natural pace on a predominantly grass based natural diet.