The farm byre during the 1950s audio post

Cattle chained in a stall

This audio recording done in the Doric dialect of Aberdeenshire features Don Carney discussing how the cattle were looked after during the time they were housed in the farm byre. He chats to local Aberdeenshire farmer Henry Grey when he is sorting the nowt in his byre. Henry describes all the tasks done starting with scraping out the forestaa and finishing with swiping the greep. The cattle were brought in to the byre in October and were tied up two in a staa until they were fat and sold or it was May the following year when they went back out side for the summer. The Byre was work was done twice each day. Once in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. It was a constant task to provide the nowt with food. Neeps had to be pooed and carted home to the neep shed. Hay had to be brought by cart from the rucks in the corn yard to the barn. The corn for bruisin was obtained from the weekly barn thrash. The trash also produced straw for bedding.
The muck produced over this period of time was a valuable fertiliser resource for the farm. It was barrowed out to the open midden.
The cattle that fattened were loaded into the cattle float and taken into Belmont mart in Aberdeen and sold to be killed. Farmers were and are very much part of the nations food chain and have always made a great contribution to the economy.
There was something very rewarding about working in the byre seeing the cattle thrive and building up a relationship with them. They were born to be killed that was the harsh reality for farmers. Pride in their work was paramount and the effective care and husbandry that prevailed on farmers made the farmers reputation.