By Maggie McDougall, Stockperson at National Museum of Rural Life

The 10th day of the 10th month of 2010, saw the smallest of offspring arrive at the National Museum of Rural Life.

Earlier that week saw the working farm extremely busy with the last of Rustic Rosie’s spring born piglets, now weaners, being sold to establish new herds of Tamworth pigs in Lanarkshire and Midlothian. Our spring lambs were also sold at market, and the harvest brought in to help feed the livestock throughout the winter months. This was fortunately all completed before our newest arrivals made their appearance.

Farm fields at National Museum of Rural Life

Farm fields at National Museum of Rural Life

Toffee our third generation Kittochside Tamworth farrowed (gave birth) to a litter of piglets. Toffee is a gilt (young female) and this was her first farrowing which can be distressing enough for a young pig, but her litter arrived a fortnight early, her due date was 31st October. We now have nine small, but very healthy piglets. This is more than plenty for a first farrowing. The piglets are now thriving and Toffee is generating plenty of milk to sustain them.

Toffee and her piglets

Toffee and her piglets at National Museum of Rural Life

They are a very welcome addition to the livestock enterprises at the working farm, and are proving as popular as ever with visitors and staff.

By Maggie McDougall, Stockperson at National Museum of Rural Life

The National Museum of Rural Life’s Ayrshire dairy herd recently enjoyed great success at East Kilbride Show. They secured four 1st prizes, four 2nd prizes, the group championship rosette and a society medal for best calf in show!

Following this we were invited to take part in the Lanarkshire Ayrshire Herd’s competition for the first time. The competition itself is run annually and covers all Ayrshire dairy herds in Lanarkshire. Judging takes place at the entrant’s farm and the cattle are judged in the field in their natural state.

Ayrshire cow in field

Award winning Ayrshire in field at Wester Kittochside, National Museum of Rural Life.

The judging this year took place on the evening of the 24 August with the cows selected being the top four in our herd: Kittochside Nora Louise EX90, Ruby EX90, Nora VG79 and Candy VG89. The judging took place in the Longcroft field with the historic working farm as a backdrop on a better dry warm evening than we have seen of late.  This made for a very pleasant evening for judges and visitors from other competition farms.

Two Ayrshire cows in field

Two Ayrshire cows grazing in the field at Wester Kittochside, National Museum of Rural Life.

Out of a total of 12 herds in the small herds section, the National Museum of Rural Life fought off extremely tough competition from well known herds to win a respectable 3rd place.

Over the past nine years the dairy herd at the museum has undergone some very positive changes and achieved competition success against herds which have been developed over several generations.

Maggie McDougall feeding Ayrshire calves

Maggie McDougall feeding hungry Ayrshire calves at Wester Kittochside, National Museum of Rural Life.

From the initial six commercial Ayrshire cows purchased it has developed quickly and is now fully pedigreed, prize winning, and classified. In addition our first bull will be going for sale at a forthcoming pedigree bull sale, showing the quality of animals bred at the Museum.

Find out more about the Ayrshire herd at National Museum of Rural Life and what’s happening on the farm on our website.

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