History of the Aynho Aberdeen Angus herd

The Aynho herd has a long and rich history spanning 112 years and four generations to date. Founded by Alex’s grandfather in 1903, it is the second oldest herd in England. The oldest herd, the McIntyre family’s Theakston herd based in Bedale, North Yorkshire, provided the foundation genetics in the form of the McLaren’s first stock bull, Proud Boy of Theakston.

Aynho Aberdeen Angus Bloodlines

Several of the leading female families in the herd have their origins in the mid 1920s, with the Beauty and Bereda families tracing back to 1925 and 1928. The foundation females for the herd were purchased in Perth in 1903 for 15 guineas each.

The most influential female purchase was the Alex’s purchase of Rosa Erica 2 of Penguin at the 1995 Heritage Sale. He had seen her when judging at Monmouthsire Show, and realised her potential to Aynho. She was the last female to be purchased and has proven bloodlines.

One of the most influential bulls in recent history has been the Australian sire Ardrossan Admiral. Two of his sons and a homebred grandson, Aynho Pilgrim M792 has been retained for Alex’s use. Pilgrim is a superb all-round bull with promising progeny.

Another homebred sire of note is Aynho Rossiter Eric B125, who was sold to the Wedderlie and Idvies herds at Perth in 2004.

Wedderlie Ebbnflo M692 was purchased privately in the autumn of 2013. His photos can be seen in the gallery and in the video. He possesses good length and excellent locomotion. Calves can be seen on the ground.

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The Aynho Herd 2
The Aynho Herd 3
The Aynho Herd

The Aynho Aberdeen Angus philosophy

Alex’s philosophy is simple – Evolution, not Revolution. The hallmarks of his success are built upon a sound reputation for quality cattle.

He is focused upon breeding modern Aberdeen Angus for the modern suckler farmer who wants to produce premium Angus cattle for the retail trade. He and his forebears have been loyal to the breed, and during that time have seen it evolve and improve drastically to meet the needs of the beef industry.

He is a stickler for functional correctness in the bulls he sells; they need to do the job of getting cows in calf year after year. There is no place for those with bad legs or bad feet, because they are simply not viable. He cites how Australian herds pay significant attention to this because their cattle need to cover long distances when grazing.

Alex has capitalised in the best female breeding lines in the herd, focusing on the aspects of correctness and length:

the top where the value is for the retail trade, not the rear end, so we are not trying to breed big back ends. Length equals weight, and weight pays  Alex McLaren

His policy and criteria on buying new stock bulls is pragmatic and effective:

I'm a big believer in buying bulls to do a job. They may not be everyone’s choice on the day, but I buy bulls to suit the cows we have and to add traits that we may be lacking. Size and length are of paramount importance, but if you keep breeding down one track you can quickly lose the balance in a herd. We regularly redress the balance of a taller bull with a thicker set sort and vice versa. It’s the only way to achieve the type of cattle that have a balance of all traits.  Alex McLaren

Home sales are the bedrock of the business:

Our local, and farther afield, commercial customers are the most important. They buy regularly and are able to give us valuable feedback on how our bulls are performing at the coal face of beef production.

We sell our bulls in a fit condition, but not overdone. This means they always go on and grow and fill out with the buyer and it also means they last longer, so our repeat customers tend to be happy to pay a little more for a good bull in the knowledge he’ll not break down on them  Alex McLaren
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Our Farm - The Warren

The farm is very accessible from all parts of the country. It is only 4 miles from junction10 of the M40 motorway. We are 8 miles from Banbury in Oxfordshire and 25 miles from Northampton and the M1 motorway.