recon Buffs at home in the beacons

Farm animals at Beili Helyg B+B, Brecon Beacons

Geese displaying how hardy they are
Geese displaying how hardy they are

Farm animals at the B+B: Beili Helyg was a farm years ago, but a previous owner sold lots of the land attached, and now it is too small to be a viable farm. However we do have some farm animals at the B+B.  We have very pretty rare breed sheep (Balwens) and geese (Brecon Buff). In the summer we fatten pigs. this year we have Tamworths. The Brecon Buff geese are very at home here in the Brecon Beacons. They stay out in all weathers happily, although we try and put them in sheds overnight if the forecast is particularly windy or snowy. We say try, as getting them indoors is always a challenge; they would much rather not be indoors.

As we approach the breeding season which starts about February, the ganders start to get a bit more protective of the geese, and squabble amongst themselves.

Geese enjoying spring pasture
Geese enjoying spring pasture

Geese eat grass, which distinguishes them from chicken and ducks. They graze all year round, but as the grass stops growing in the cold months, they are fed supplemental wheat from October.

We have goslings hatching from April through to July.

Goslings discovering grass
Goslings discovering grass

They are programmed to follow their parent which gives the nursery rhyme scene where they trail in a line behind Mum, with Dad keeping a watching eye over them. At night they are sleep cuddled up under their parents wings. Mum and Dad are protective over their babies until they are several months old, and in some cases until they have the next years clutch.

When you come and stay at our bed and breakfast, you’ll spot the geese usually in the field in front of the house, and sometimes (depending on the time of year) a pair in the small paddock outside the Cornstore.

Geese saying Hello
Geese saying Hello

In 2015 we had 10 goslings, 4 of which we brought indoors as eggs to incubate ourselves, as the mother was not sitting consistently. They all hatched successfully with some help on 4 May, and amazingly were adopted by another goose who had an unsuccessful clutch. They were inseparable as if they were related.

We buy in piglets each year, New piglets May 2014
with a view to making our own sausages. Intensively reared pigs take only 6 months to reach pork weight. As ours are happily running all over a field, it will probably take a lot longer, but we prefer to see them having a happy time. They are all female pigs and have quite distinct personalities. They are fed twice a day and are always very excited to see you approaching with a bucket. They like being tickled behind the ears, and enjoy a good scratch.

We have installed a gravity fed water tank for the pigs which is fed by our well. Gravity fed water tank for the pigs, fed from the well.
It took a lot of messing about so it was very satisfying to finally get it to work.

In October 2014 we bought 6 ewe lambs, and added a ram in late 2015. We had some very beautiful lambs in May 2016.  They are all very interested in anyone walking by, and are quite dotty.