Coopers Farm goes on a duck hunt

Two Cherry Valley ducks with Aylesbury drake

The Coopers Farm ‘ducks’ are pleased to be joined by two Aylesbury Drakes to assist with breeding against our existing Cherry Valley ducks. As some of our readers will know Cherry Valley ducks are known for their exceptional good egg laying skills (over 300 eggs per annum), whilst the Aylesbury duck are known for their white duck meat and favoured by restaurants. The aim is to breed the Aylesbury duck against a Cherry Valley duck to create the ultimate egg laying / meat producing ‘Cherry Aylesbury’ duck as the ‘Duck Commander’ aka Joe Love would say.

Joe explained that its been real hunt to find two male Aylesbury drakes to breed with the farms Cherry Valley ducks. We had to go to Hampshire to find these drakes. Its great to finally put them all together. Hopefully, customers will appreciate the eggs but more importantly love the meat.

The new additions to our duck flock have settled in well and are getting used to being with our Light Sussex chickens.  As the Drakes settle in we are hoping the Cherry Valley ducks will produce fertilised eggs which we will incubate in the next month or so. It will take a further 6 -8 weeks before they will be ready for the table. We welcome any duck recipes to be submitted for inclusion on this website.

The history of Aylesbury’s Ducks:

Prize-winning Aylesbury duck (front) and drake (rear), 1873

The Aylesbury duck is a breed of domesticated duck, bred mainly for its meat and appearance. It is a large duck with pure white plumage, a pink bill, orange legs and feet, an unusually large keel, and a horizontal stance with its body parallel to the ground. The precise origins of the breed are unclear, but raising white ducks became popular in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire in the 18th century owing to the demand for white feathers as a filler for quilts. Over the 19th century selective breeding for size, shape and colour led to the famous Aylesbury duck.

Duck rearing became a major industry in Aylesbury in the 19th century. The ducks were bred on farms in the surrounding countryside. Fertilised eggs were brought into the town’s “Duck End”, where local residents would rear the ducklings in their homes. The opening of a railway to Aylesbury in 1839 enabled cheap and quick transport to the markets of London, and duck rearing became highly profitable.

Our Pigs

Gloucester Old Spot Pigs

The 'Gloucestershire Old Spot' pig is known for its docility, intelligence and prolificity. Boars reach a mature weight of 600 lb (272 kg) and sows 500 lb (227 kg). The pigs are white with clearly defined black spots. There must be at least one spot on the body to be accepted in the registry. The breed’s maternal skills enable it to raise large litters of piglets. This can be up to 32 piglets per year.

'Ollie' our Boar resting inside during winter.
1 week old piglets suckling on 'Nancy' our sow.

The Old Spots was once a very popular breed of pig. With the advent of intensive farming, certain lean, pale, high-yield breeds were chosen to suit the factory conditions and needs of mass-production. Many old breeds of pig died out or were greatly diminished, in this time. However, owing to consumer pressure in the United Kingdom, and changes to the law, both attributable to an increasing awareness of and concern about, farming conditions, pigs have been increasingly reared outdoors there. In addition, more consumers are looking for quality meat, as opposed to cheap, bland meat product. In these conditions, old breeds well-suited to living outdoors, such as the Old Spots. This is one of the reasons Coopers Farm have chosen this breed over others and adding value to the produce that we have at the farm.10999689_10153240390173420_1938739542726315996_n







Many of our customers ask how long a sow is pregnant. The simple answer is 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days. A strange formula but consistently works.

Our Cows

Sussex Cattle

Coopers Farm runs a pedigree Sussex herd. The herd is split into two groups A and B. The A group is our breeding herd and the B group is the beef fatteners or finishing beef.

Sussex Cattle have evolved over many hundreds of years.  It is believed that the Sussex Breed of today is descended directly from the red cattle (Anglo Saxon) that inhabited the dense forests of the High Weald at the time of the Norman Conquest 1066.

The 'Sussex' has been an English breed for hundreds of years and has developed its special characteristics on clay soils on which it has been raised for a lengthy period of time and under conditions which have confirmed its inherent good qualities. For example, it has adapted to wet and cold conditions of winter to the dry drought conditions of summer. It is on account of its ancient lineage that Sussex Cattle are so prepotent and stamp their qualities in no uncertain fashion, while as from the first the colour has always been a mahogany red, this colour does not vary and is dominant in calves sired by a Sussex bull from other cows.

Originally, and for many generations, the Sussex were a draught breed and it is from the result of hard work in the plough, the wagon and in the timber tugs that they attained their hardy constitutions and a frame of such symmetrical proportions that when steers of the breed had finished with the yoke it was little or no trouble to feed them to great weights of excellent beef.

The modern Sussex is a highly economical, well muscled, easy and economical to produce animal giving the best quality beef.