ORKNEY is celebrating the birth of its first-ever buffalo.
The healthy male – thought to weigh a strapping 22kgs (50lbs) – arrived in the early hours of yesterday (tue).
The baby buffalo spent its first few hours wobbling around a field on Deerness farm on the mainland.
It’s the first new arrival since owners Naomi and Russell Bremner imported a £20,000 herd of buffalo from a farm in Fife.
The couple have a bold plan to produce mozzarella cheese from the herd.
Orkney’s first-ever buffalo – tentatively called Number One – is likely to end up producing more little buffalos.
Naomi, 34, said: “We’ve been waiting for a good few days now because the mother was showing some signs of being ready to calf but it just seemed to take forever.
“But then last night my daughter was up in the middle of the field and looked up to see that we had a new addition to field.
“Russell went out to check it over and now we have a cute, healthy baby bull.”
She added: “He really is very sweet but is sticking close to mum for now. The whole herd is just lying down in the grass – they’ve obviously had a rough night.”
Although it’s not normal practice, the farming family plan to name their new arrival.
Naomi said: “We’re definitely going to name him because he is the first ever baby buffalo to be born on the island.
“So we’re going to see if anyone has any good suggestions for him that isn’t ‘Number One’. That’s our cat’s name anyway.”
But the waiting game isn’t over for the family just yet – they’ve still got another five expectant mothers in the herd who will hopefully give birth over the following week.
The Bremner’s, who plan to use the animals’ milk to make delicious mozzarella cheese, now have even more plans in the pipeline.
An additional 20 animals are being brought to the farm from Wales next week and this slightly older herd – between one and two years old – will be used solely for their meat.
Naomi says that they are hoping to have the meat on the shelves before Christmas this year.
She joked that they may even have buffalo for their Christmas dinner because “it’s always nice to try something different.”
The first £20,000 herd was brought to the island after farmer Russell decided to follow through on his dreams.
The ‘starter pack’ consisted of 15 cows, nine calves and just one bull.
Russell, 34, said: “I’ve always been interested in to farming and after taking eight years out I decided to go back in and do something I’ve always wanted to, it was always in the back of my mind.
“I saw a programme back in 2005 about buffalo farming on TV and thought it would be a great opportunity for us. It’s a completely new venture. We’re the first of our kind up here.
“So we bought the farm and there’s not really been much time between looking at the land, buying it and putting the buffalo on it – it’s all been a bit of a whirlwind really.”
The 60 acre farm was bought by the family earlier this year and within just a few weeks the herd, originally from the famous Puddledub farm in Fife, were transferred over to the island.