Meet the animals
We have 2 pigs: Penelope (or Penny for short) is a Kune Kune cross Pig and Priscilla is pure Kune Kune. This type of pig originates from New Zealand and are a smaller breed known for their friendly behaviour. We were kindly donated Penny in October 2009; she came from someone’s back garden in the middle of Bitterne and although she was happy, it was not ideal. Priscilla was donated to us in September 2012 and has had a tough life. Penny and Priscilla have become great friends and enjoy doing all the same things such as eating, sleeping, and rolling about in mud.
We have a small flock of Shetland sheep. Shetlands are small, fine-boned sheep; they are very hardy and belong to the Northern Short-tailed group. Each year we borrow a ram in early November from the Hants and IOW trust land at St. Catherine’s Hill in Winchester, where a bachelor flock keeps the grass and scrub land down. If the ram is introduced on bonfire night then lambs will be born on April Fool’s Day, which is a gestation period of 147 days. All our sheep have names: Petal, Elsa, Tallulah, Mandy and Pandy.
Lily, Beatrice, Delilah and Daffodil are our herd of Golden Guernsey goats. This breed of goat is considered a minority breed, with only 500 to 1,000 registered breeding females left. Golden Guernseys are very docile, friendly and a lot smaller than some of the other goat breeds so are perfect for the farm.
Chickens: We have lots of different types of chickens at the farm including; warrens, Cream Legbars, Orpington’s, Seabrights, Pekin Bantams and Rhoda island reds.
Turkeys: At the farm we have a Crollwitzer (pied) Turkeys. This particular breed of turkey is a stunning exhibition bird and very popular on the show bench. This small, light turkey has never been purposefully selected for either growth rate or muscling but can be useful on smallholdings as an egg producer and for pest control as, like other varieties of turkey, they are keen insect foragers.
Ducks: We have 2 Silver Apple Yards crosses on the farm. These ducks carry a crested gene, so if we were to breed from them there is a good chance we would get crested ducks. (These ducks look like they have a pompom on top of their heads).
Geese: Herby (our gander) is a Pomeranian, and Primrose is an Emden goose. Both were donated to us. Herby has strange wings which stick out; this is something he was born with and doesn’t affect him in anyway. You can often find him guarding Primrose while she sits on her eggs – they are inseparable. Herby likes to think he is the boss of the farm! We are also in the process of creating a breeding flock of Sebastopol geese, which have beautiful curly white feathers.
We have one tortoise called Dr John who was kindly donated to us in 2009 and he's a real character who has fitted in well. He was named after a blues singer/songwriter from America and it is such an unusual name that we had to keep it. Since coming to us Dr John has moved from a vivaruim to a large tortoise table, which one of our volunteers kindly made. It looks amazing and he loves to go exploring around it. Dr John enjoys having his weeds and vegetables in the morning and will eat from your hand. Over the winter months he goes into hibernation so you won’t be able to see him, but he’s back out in the spring.
We have 10 female guinea pigs called Betty, Celia, Dorothy, Enid, Ethel, Hilda, Jany, Marnie, Suzie and Wendy. They are quite shy so if you can’t see them, listen out for their chattering and squeaking. During the day time they love to be out in their run, We have recently created a “Guinea Pig Garden” for them full of places for them to explore. Each day we make sure they get plenty of hay to eat, fresh vegetables, as well as their pellet food which is enhanced with vitamin c. We also give them fresh twigs to gnaw on to keep their teeth in good shape and of course fresh water.
We have 3 rabbits at the farm; Bloom, Bramble and Blossom. Our rabbits were donated to us from a member of public. The rabbits sleep in the barn at night and go out in their outside pen during the day to play. We feed them lots of fresh green veggies, fresh hay (which is very important in a rabbit's diet) as well as their rabbit food.
We have 3 degus, Lavender, Bluebell and Cherry. They were re homed to us from scritches rodent rescue. Our degus have a special diet that makes sure they don't have to much sugar as degus can be very prone to Diabetes. Our Degus don't like being handled but enjoy running around they enclosure.
Our Bearded Dragons were kindly donated to us, their names are Toothless and Hiccup and are named after the characters in the film 'How to train your Dragon'. Inside their enclosure you may notice it is very warm; this is because Bearded Dragons originate from Australia where the temperature is much higher than the UK. They love basking under their heat lamp and will flatten their body out to get more heat coverage. Toothless and Hiccup are very relaxed and love to come out and meet people.
Blue Tongued Skink
Myrtle is a very friendly Skink who enjoys being handled and investigating her surroundings. We are thought to be her 3rd home although we don’t have all her history. Myrtle is a favourite with lots of our volunteers; she is very interested in the world around her and it has been said that skinks can actually recognise their handlers. Blue tongued skinks can be found all over Australasia and Myrtle is thought to have originated from Irian Jaya on the island of New Guinea.
Ursula is our new corn snake and has settled in really well at the farm. Corn snakes originate from the United States and are most abundant in Florida. Unlike most Corn snakes that are usually orange/brownish-yellow Ursula is grey, this is because she is a type of Morph called an Anerythristic which means she is missing any red pigment. We are not sure how many homes Ursula has had but we think we are at least her 3rd
Glinda our crested gecko was donated to us from a member of public. This type of gecko was thought to be extincted until it was rediscovered in 1994. Crested geckos are sometimes called the eyelash gecko as they hair-like projections above the eyes. They also possess a semi-prehensile tail which they use to assist in climbing. The tail can be dropped as a deterrent to predators. Unlike some other geckos, once they lose their tail it will not grow back.