Will has been volunteering with us since he was at school. He started at the weekends because he wanted to look after animals. Since then he enrolled on a Level 3 Subsidary Diploma in Animal Management and Conservation. He now does one day a week work experience with us. He thinks that his previous voluntary work at the farm gave him a head start on his course.
Will loves looking after the animals especially feeding, handling the animals and locking up at the end of the day. He is quick to point out however, that all the jobs are important.
Will feels that volunteering has been really helpful with his course as he has been learning why jobs and tasks are carried out in a certain way and about the importance of animal welfare. He has enjoyed having some responsibility and likes animals even more. He has even changed some of his eating habits.
This spring he has been learning some gardening as well – this is a new aspect to his volunteering and he finds it quite satisfying.
Will likes being on the farm as he prefers to be outdoors – except when the weather is horrible!
Here are a few pictures that Will has taken of his favourite bits of the farm.
Blossom and a piglet in their outdoor pen
The Welsummer cockerel
Khaki Runner ducks
We are in the middle of our breeding plan for next spring at the moment. The Jacob sheep are pregnant and we have another ram with the other sheep at the farm, so we hope to have lambs being born over a few weeks from the end of February onwards.
Rufus the Gloucester Old Spot boar on loan from Bath City Farm arrived here at the weekend and is due to be introduced to Jasmine and Blossom later on this afternoon. Although it is very muddy the pigs are still able to enjoy going outdoors occasionally.
Handsome Rufus the Boar – let’s hope Jasmine and Blossom like him!
Rufus getting to know the girls
Between me, Ian and the volunteers we have managed to remember to look after the eggs in our incubator and were thrilled that 3/4s of them hatched. We now have the eight female chicks under a heat lamp in the stable block quickly turning from balls of fluff into little birds.
The goats are due to go off to visit a billy in a month or so. The goats are growing rapidly and touch wood have got their heads stuck in the fence less and less every week.
We have been doing some spinning at the weekend, especially during the wet weather. The Saturday Farm Hands have been able to have a go after the workshop and have learned to spin a little on a drop spindle.
We now have our freezers well stocked with pork joints, chops, slices, plenty of lamb including a few legs left and a new batch of sausages. Current flavours are chilli and garlic, Cumberland and traditional plain sausages.
Juley Community Farmer
In the farm yard there have been a few changes over the last weeks. Most startlingly we have brought in some new pigs – the three little pigs will be with us until they are big enough for slaughtering. The current plan is to take the young boar (AKA piggy) and the biggest of the three little pigs to the abattoir together in around 6 weeks. At around 16 weeks the white pig weighs approx 40kg. Piggy is currently a bit over 70 kgs. The four male pigs have recently been introduced to each other and seem to be getting on very well. We had been concerned that the boar was a bit fed up – the company should cheer him up!
Right now our new three Jacob sheep have gone to visit the ram over at Windmill Hill City Farm for the next six weeks. This way we hope to have pure Jacob lambs in the spring. We will find a different ram for the other three ewes and two lambing periods. Three lambs have recently been slaughtered, so although we have temporarily run out of sausages there is plenty of lamb and a little mutton left in the freezers.
The goats seem pretty much okay with the sheep during the daytime. We will move them in to the main stable block soon to make moving the flock backwards and forwards. So at the moment we only have three ewes, five lambs and the two goats on site.
Two of the main flock of hens are visiting the welsummers at the moment – most specifically as this way their eggs will be fertilised. By using a gold or red cockerel (welsummer) with a silver breed (the visiting Light Sussex) we will be able to hatch out hybrid chickens that apart from laying more, browner eggs can be sex-linked at day old. Anyone with a pet snake please get in touch!
Community Farmer, 25th September 2014
The last few days have seen the small and very wobbly duckling go off for some intensive care with one of our volunteers to see if swimming around in her bath will help strengthen its legs. So we now have four of the original 10 ducklings left. This afternoon (Sunday) they are getting to know the other ducks and having some fun swimming on their pond.
The farm now has two new goats – Snowy and Bambi – thanks to Hemley Farm. The goats are Boer / Sanaan and very lovely. They are quite shy, but starting to get used to the farm staff and volunteers. This week we hope to start taking them out for walks and lead them up to their new paddocks where we hope that they will gobble up the thistles and brambles.
Have you any food?
This week we also had two Polish Frizzle bantams donated – these are out on the grass in a run during the daytime. They are amazingly fluffy and very tame.
One of the farm’s lambs unfortunately got caught by flystrike (a nasty injury that can kill them if left untreated) this week. The sheep were all due to be re-treated next week so this is a real shame. The lamb has been treated and is fully recovered, but if you are visiting the farm you will see that one of the lambs has a bald patch where we needed to trim it’s wool.
Next week we will have mutton for sale. There will be chops, mince and smaller joints at very reasonable prices
Four weeks ago we were thrilled to find out that our ducks’ eggs really were fertile. The farm now has nine ducklings who live indoors at night and come out for a splash in the sun every day. They are growing at an amazing speed, but still are fluffy. the smallest duckling with a slightly wonky leg is doing well. She is a quarter the size of her brothers and sisters, but her feet look fine now and she is growing slowly.
The pigs are all living together again after weaning – this has cheered up the sow Jasmine who hated being on her own. We are keeping the gilt (young female pig) as pigs hate living on their own and these particular pigs get on well with each other.
The sheep were shorn back in May. This is not just to get the wool off them for spinning, but also to make sure that they are free of parasites and of course not too hot. Over the next few weeks I will sort out the fleeces into different grades of wool
Juley Community Farmer
Alongside the Muscovies we now have a separate duck pen full of Indian Runner and Khaki Campbell ducks. These playful birds lay a mixture of blue and white eggs. At the beginning of half term we are expecting more as we have an incubator full of the duck eggs.
Our small flock have successfully given birth to four lambs who can be seen with their mothers out in the field. Closer to home we have four orphan lambs that are being bottle fed for another week before they are big enough to survive on solid food alone.
Jasmine’s piglets are getting used to walking out in the morning to the outside pen with their mother. At this time of year they can go out every day for fresh air and exercise and of course to lie in the mud.
Our hens are laying well. Fresh farm eggs are always available, along with some fresh veg. and rhubarb from the garden.
Sadly the longest standing Farm Residents – the Pygmy Goats – recently died of old age. We will be having some new goats – at the moment they are still with their mothers, but as soon as they are old enough we will be welcoming them to their new home. This will probably be at the beginning of July.