Thunder Hill Farm
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Name:            Thunder Hill Farm

Location:       42 Bell Road

                       Waterford, Maine 04088

Phone:           207-461-2686


Products and Services:

-grass-fed beef

-naturally-raised pork

-free range chickens

-working oxen

-maple syrup products

Farmer’s Markets:

Fox School - South Paris - Sat. 9-1

Naples Farmer Market - Thursday 10-2

Poland Farmers Market - 2-6


-Maine Grass Farmers  Network

-Maine Farm Bureau

-Association of New England Ox Teamsters

-Waterford World’s Fair Association

-Oxford County Cooperative Extension

-Oxford County 4H Leader

-Maine 4H Working Steer Program

-Maine Maple Producers

-Maine Highland Cattle Association

What Makes Thunder Hill Farm

So Unique?

Thunder Hill Farm has been in the Bell

family for many years.  David Bell is a self-employed mechanic and landscaper and owner of Hilltop Tractor Services.  Dottie Bell has been employed as an Ed Tech at the Waterford Elementary School for the past eighteen years. In addition to the beef animals, pork, and chicken that the Bells raise on the old Bell homestead in Waterford, Maine, they maintain a tree

farm that is composed of 144 acres. 

Dottie Bell grew up on the Mineral Spring Dairy Farm in Windham, Maine, and was active in 4-H Dairy and Horse clubs since she was nine years old.  She was a leader of a 4-H Horse Club and she presently serves on the Working Steer Committee of the 4-H on the state level.  David and Dottie’s sons, Brandon and Seth, were involved with 4-H while growing up at Thunder Hill Farm and learned to train their steers at the Marston Homestead in Falmouth under the guidance of Mark Winslow.

Eight years ago Dottie and her husband, David, decided to buy their first Scottish Highlander.  They are unique animals.  There is no question that they make a distinct impression and cause quite a bit of discussion when a person views one of them for the first time. 

A beef farmer from the Midwest who wasn’t fond of the Scottish Highlander’s long shaggy coats and their rather unkempt appearance once shared that they are “just useless hippie cattle.”  Some observers compare the looks of a Scottish Highlander with the woolly mammoth or a yak because of the animal’s primitive look and its impressive long horns.

On Thunder Hill Farm, Dottie raises twenty-seven Scottish Highlanders and beef cattle. Seth, the younger son of Dottie and David, helped to build the herd in the beginning days. 

Dottie explained that their Scottish Highlanders and other animals are humanely raised in a stress-free environment as close to nature as possible.  They use no growth stimulants or hormonal implants.  The diet of their Scottish Highlanders consists of grasses and forages produced in Waterford, Maine.

Not everyone seems to give Scottish Highlanders the respect that they deserve, according to Dottie and other farmers who raise them. The Scottish Highlander breed had their origins in the remote and harsh region of Scotland where survival of the fittest played a predominant role in their development.  Their genetic makeup has proven helpful in surviving on low-quality forage, holding up in harsh weather, and

resisting disease.

Dottie expressed her gratitude to her veterinarian, Dr. Don Mclean of North Norway, Maine.  He is a holistic practitioner who, according to Dottie, always has a fresh perspective and often a natural and organic remedy for any of the health situations that might arise among the animals that the Bells raise.

Scottish Highlanders have a reputation for being great browsers and consuming plants that other breeds of cattle often avoid.  The Bells hope to utilize them in the future to clear out the undergrowth in their tree farm

as their forester suggested.

Compared to other breeds, Scottish Highlanders are extremely tolerant of cold.

They have a double coat of hair which proves helpful in shedding snow and rain.

They are not demanding with requirements

for their shelter or their feed.  Grass-fed

Highlanders are prized for the amount and quality of their lean meat.  Grass fed beef produces less fat, more Omega-3 fatty acids, more vitamin E and higher levels of beta-carotene.  Products from pastured animals, according to Dottie, are naturally lean, lower in calories, and tasty.

Dottie sells her beef, pork, chicken, eggs,

and maple syrup at her farm in Waterford and at the Poland, South Paris, and Naples

Farmer Markets.  Her beef jerky is one of

her most popular products.  Customers

can order whole, sides, and quarters of beef. With previous arrangements, orders can be picked up for delivery at one of the farmers’ markets, at the customer’s home, or at Thunder Hill Farms.

Dottie also trains heritage breed calves to become working steers.  She has sold fourteen working teams in the last twenty years.  She loves training calves and has participated in many fairs including the Skowhegan Fair, the Sandwich Fair in New Hampshire, the Waterford Fair, and the

Ossipee Fair.

Dottie was asked by Dan Midkiff of Oneida, Kentucky, to organize a group of eight teams of working steer and oxen from Maine to participate in the History Heritage Days’ demonstrations at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, from Nov. 7 through Nov, 12, 2011.  Midkiff had purchased a team of  steers from Dottie in 2007, and he wanted to share his admiration for the work that they could do with the visitors to the Kentucky Horse Park.

It is puzzling to learn that there was very little media coverage of the Mainers involved in the trip to the Kentucky Horse Park.  It is hoped that visitors to this website will have a chance to peruse the Kentucky photos (that were graciously lent by Trish Logan and the Kentucky Horse Park) that appear in the Thunder Hill Farm profile.  If one studies the photo with the eight teams of working steers and oxen, their efforts certainly seem worthy of some recognition. 

The amount of preparation involved in caring for the animals, training them, and transporting them and then showing them in Kentucky involved a phenomenal amount of work.  Hats off to all the Maine individuals and animals who were a source of pride to our state including the teamsters:  Dan and Lydia Boutot of Baldwin, Maine; Jason and Kelsey Sanborn of Baldwin, Maine; Mark, Kim, and Marissa Winslow of Falmouth, Maine; and Dottie Bell of Waterford, Maine.

Other assistants involved with the trip included Stefan Winslow who drove the truck hauling the cattle.  David Bell served as the mechanic/repair specialist and Lorraine and Adrianne Boutot operated the vendor booth that had t-shirts, hats, and other oxen-related items and also helped

with the photos.

In Kentucky, the teamsters from Maine provided trolley rides and demonstrated plowing, pulling, yoking, and navigating an obstacle course.  The highlight of the Kentucky trip was seeing the eight Maine teams pulling the Big Wheel Log Cart around the dressage arena.  The log cart had wheels that were ten feet tall!

Dottie Bell’s love for her animals is clearly

obvious.  One of her goals for the future is

the establishment of a farm camp for youngsters in the summer.  She also hopes

to bring in a new Scottish Highlander bull

to add to the herd for breeding.  She plans on continuing to train steers and chuckled when she commented that maybe one day she would train a team of Scottish Highlanders which is something that is very rarely done.  After observing her determination and success in organizing the trip of the eight Maine oxen teams to Kentucky last year, it seems that this just might be a dream that someday could materialize!

Dottie Bell is currently training this pair of Milking Devons.  They are a heritage breed that are sought by museums throughout the country.

Dottie and David’s sons, Seth and Brandon, are shown in a holiday picture years ago with the two teams.

With their double coat of hair, Scottish Highlanders are tolerant of snow and extreme cold.

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Steer & Oxen