In order to understand early medieval living, working animals are very important. Therefore there are different kinds of livestock kept in Lauresham, which are supposed to approach their medieval phenotype, and which do agricultural work like the oxen David and Darius. As the livestock during the Middle Ages was smaller than the animals today, the selection of proper animals concerns either almost forgotten strains or breedings of extinct strains. Especially the first case reflects a side benefit: It is an active contribution to keep threatened livestock. Regarding breeding programs, we participate in the international Uruz-Project of the True Nature Foundation.
The Capitulare de villis, Charles the Great's enactment of royal estates, makes clear how meaningful a rich livestock on these estates (also on other farmyards) was. It is written in chapter 23:
„In unaquaeque villa nostra habeant iudices vaccaritias, porcaritias, berbicaritias, capraritias, hircaritias, quantum plus potuerint et nullatenus sine hoc esse debent.
On each of our crown estates the district magistrates are supposed to keep a preferably big breed of cows, pigs, sheep, goats, and rams; this cattle must not be missing."
(Quoted from WIES, Ernst: Capitulare de villis et curtis imperialibus. Verordnung über die Krongüter und Reichshöfe, Aachen 1992, S. 55.)