Highlanders are a hardy breed adapted to and capable of enduring the wet and stormy weather which is part of life in the Outer Hebrides. But we do like them to be safely inside when the very worst storms hit, and though they are quite capable of calving outdoors it is a huge bonus for both cattle and humans to have a safe, dry place for dealing with calving, blood testing and any other treatment they may require.
We had the byre erected in late 2011 in readiness for calving the following spring and one of our current cows, Caraid an Teallaich, was the first calf born in the new byre in March 2012.
The byre is a modern structure: a steel frame with concrete panels reaching two-thirds of the height and Yorkshire boarding surrounding the top third. This ensures a constant flow of air so that the byre is always cool and the cattle do not sweat in their heavy winter coats. The byre makes looking after the cattle a real joy and, judging by their reaction to it, we can only conclude that they love it as much as we do.