Skip to content


Calving the Suckler Cow

Calving the Suckler Cow - Part 1

Preparation for Examination

Calving the Suckler Cow - Part 2

Examination and how to use a Calving Aid if required

Calving the Suckler Cow - part 3

Care of the Cow and Calf Post Calving

Crofting Cattle Improvement Scheme (Bull Hire Scheme)

The Crofting Cattle Improvement Scheme, often referred to as the ‘commission bull hire scheme’ is open to groups of at least two crofters within the crofting areas, providing high health bulls in areas where ownership and commercial hiring are uneconomic.

The Scottish Government Bull Stud at Knocknagael manages the bulls that support the scheme.

Guidance documents

What steps to we need to take if we want to participate?

  • The group should decide who will be the custodian of the bull (NB the custodian must be under 70 years of age) and ensure they know all the duties involved. (See guidance notes below.)
  • The group should decide which cattle keepers are going to use the bull and how the fees are going to be split and collected.
  • The group should decide what, if any, conditions of cow health i.e. in a health scheme need to be met to be able to use the bull.
  • The group should decide if they will return the bull in the autumn or if they wish to overwinter it.
  • If they decide they want to overwinter it they need to ensure they have adequate facilities for housing and that it is a sensible economic decision.
  • The group should decide if they want to take out insurance cover for personal accidents. The scheme arranges public liability cover of £2,000,000 and also minimal cover for the custodians under personal accident insurance
  • Consider if worthwhile co-operating with a neighbouring township to allow both a maternal and a terminal bull to be hired every year. This would allow suitable heifers/cows to be selected for different breeding policies.
  • Contact the Farm Manager if you have any queries on 01463 231 261 / 07767 673717 or email

A Season with Cattle - Bull Hire for Crofter

Small herds are very common in the crofting counties and co-operation is key to their success. An important co-operative measure is the sharing of bulls and many make use of the Scottish Government Crofting Cattle Improvement Scheme. The benefits of co-operating with neighbours with this scheme include: Reduced cost per cow served High Health bulls are provided Reduced risk, as the bull stud will provide a replacement if the bull has an accident or stops working Do you want to learn more about the Scottish Government Bull hire scheme for crofters? We are delighted that John Cowan, Farm manager is coming to tell us more about the workings of the scheme. This meeting is suitable for people who use the bull hire scheme or those who are interested in using it in the future.

A Season with Cattle - Getting Ready for Winter

A Season with Cattle - Getting Ready for Winter Practical Guide - Feed, minerals and vitamins, bulls, replacement heifers, fluke and abortions.

A Season with Cattle - Preparing for Calving

This was the third and final meeting in the Season with Cattle Series this year. SAC Consulting’s Beef Consultant, Sarah Balfour and Oban Vet, Tristan Carre cover calving on the croft or small farm to help you achieve the best possible success for both cow and calf. The following topics are discussed: Getting ready for calving Calving – when to intervene Post calving care of cow and calf Colostrum management Common problems and when to call the vet Calving and carbon; 3 versus 4 – pros and cons

A Season with Cattle - Calving on the Croft or Smallholding

A Season with Cattle - Calving on the Croft or Smallholding Practical Guide

Derelict to Productive - Hill Cows with Patrick Laurie Podcast

Sign up to the FAS newsletter

Receive updates on news, events and publications from Scotland’s Farm Advisory Service