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Rare Breeds

Rare Breeds

Native breeds for modern needs

Our native rare breed farm animals are worth conserving for so many reasons! Not only do they just look very nice to see and have an important historic and cultural place in our countryside they are fantastic to eat, are a vital genetic resource for our future ability to produce food on poor land and play an ever more vital role in helping conserve our native habitats such as Wildflower Meadows. Along with the help and advice of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, we want Carna to play its full part in helping increase the population of some of our most endangered breeds as we use them to restore our habitats and contribute towards the economic sustainability of the island. After many years of planning we re-introduced cattle to Carna in early 2018, after a 20 year absence, to aid our Wildflower Meadow restoration and Habitat Restoration projects. With the help of our partners Wilderculture CIC we now have 10 Whitebred Shorthorn Highland heifers performing a vital munching and trampling role on the island to help open up the sward to more light and competition plus increase nutrient cycling on our under grazed areas, providing a serious boost for biodiversity on the island. Whitebred Shorthorn are an increasingly rare breed of British native cattle now being on the RBST’s ‘Endangered’ list and the use of crossing them with Highland cattle is an increasingly popular way of helping make the breed viable for the long term. They produce a hardy and high quality calf ideal for upland grazing and especially conservation grazing. You can find out more about the breed here. For more information have a look over on our WilderCarna page here.

We are about to enter the next stage in our exciting regenerative grazing programme by introducing other selective grazers to mimic natural grazing patterns and encourage soil health and plant growth. We are looking to introduce Shetland ponies and KuneKune pigs to the island to live a wild and free life but helping to restore the island. To find out more about KuneKune pigs have a look at the British KuneKune pig society website and to find out more about hardy Shetland ponies visit the Shetland Pony Stud Book Society