The Farm Animals of Hunting Hall
As his father and grandfather did before him, Tom looks after a flock of sheep at Hunting Hall. The organic flock graze in the farm’s traditional grass meadows; a beautiful ancient site where a small stream runs, edged with flag iris and willows. Tom keeps several breeds of sheep, including a few rare breed Teeswaters. This large traditional breed has a long curly fleece that is highly prized for its beautiful silky wool.
Rare Breed Pigs
Although we only have two or three breeding sows now, Tom has kept pigs all at Hunting Hall all his working life. He’s always loved pigs; their intelligence and unique, individual characters.
Back in the 1950’s a Saddleback sow had lived in the farm worker’s pigsties, so in the 1980’s Tom bought Karen two Saddleback sows as part of a birthday present, the start of our rare breed pig keeping. These lovely old traditional farmyard breeds are very slow to mature – but the wait is worth it. The pork is rich, juicy and flavoursome with scrumptious old-fashioned crackling. The old breeds of pigs had gone out of fashion as supermarkets began to look for pork that could be produced cheaply in the shortest amount of time, with a uniform, mild taste and an extremely lean joint. Many of these old traditional breeds became exceedingly rare and, even today, the pig breeds we keep at Hunting Hall are rarer than giant pandas!
Freddie and Jamie, the Donkeys
Freddie and Jamie came to live at Hunting Hall in 2018. They had been taken in by a rescue centre in Ireland before being sent to the Scottish Borders Donkey Sanctuary who brought them to us to foster. We know nothing about their early life; when they arrived at Hunting Hall they were frightened and unused to being handled. It’s taken time to gain their trust and Jamie, the bigger of the two, is still a little wary at times, though he’s happy to do a little pulling work around the farm. Freddie is small and a bit bossy, but he’s been quick to learn and he can carry a pack saddle or pull a small cart. We’re very proud of all that our two donkeys have achieved in the time they have been with us and really enjoy taking them on treks through the local countryside.