DIANNE and Brian Shaw were planning on a leisurely retirement.
Buying 40 acres at Nilma, outside of Warragul, the pair were looking to downsize - but at the same time, were chasing a project.
Having been born and bred on a beef property in South Gippsland, Dianne was keen for a farming adventure.
“The property, which we bought in 2010, is wonderful country with good soils – ideal pasture growing,” she said.
“We looked at hazelnuts, sheep, even alpacas.
“We settled on cattle, considered fattening steers or breeding Murray Greys, but decided – because it was a retirement project – we would prefer something a little smaller.”
Miniature Herefords were exactly what the Shaws were looking for.
Exactly the same as their beefier counterparts, Miniature Herefords offer all the versatility, eating quality and easy maintenance as any other breed – just in a little package.
“After a visit to Alison Livermore and John Murphy’s Winswood Miniature Herefords, we were sold,” Ms Shaw said.
“They really are a good looking animal, all a little different with their red and white markings.”
Fast forward seven years and the Shaws have just finished calving down.
In that time, they have come to love the little characters that populate their small farm.
More than just breeders, they have become involved with the Australian Miniature Hereford Breeders Network, and are now devoted enthusiasts.
“We are up to our seventh lot of spring calves - and over that time we have learnt a lot about handling and managing beef cattle,” Ms Shaw said.
“Smaller cattle are definitely less intimidating and Herefords are well known for their good temperament.
“Most of our cattle are sold privately, whether it is for breeding purposes, grass eaters, pets or paddock-to-plate.”
Although a relaxed retirement hasn’t worked out quite the way the Shaws originally intended, Dianne and Brian wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Our friends thought we were crazy taking on so much more work – they may have been right, but we wouldn’t change a thing,” Ms Shaw said.
For more information on Shady Creek Miniature Herefords, visit the website at shadycreekminis. wordpress.com.
HAPPY: Shady Creek breed quiet, happy Miniature Herefords.