All the animals on our smallholding have a purpose as well as being great company and fun to have around.
The hens provide eggs, the pigs turn over the ground, the sheep wool is a great mulch and the guinea pigs...are just cute.
We have sheep from our neighbouring farm who act as natural lawnmowers for our 6 acre paddock. In Spring, visitors can enjoy meeting and feeding the ewes and lambs. As their confidence grows some ewes will happily come over and take food from your hands. The lambs are normally more cautious but provide endless entertainment as they run and bounce around the field.
Our two guinea pigs, Reuben and Snow, are probably the most popular animals on site. Children love to sit on the wall and have a guinea pig cuddle while the boys enjoy their dinner. The piggies are rather partial to grass and weeds from the garden and are always appreciative of any foraged goodies that the children bring. The best thing...piggie cuddles are not exclusively reserved for the children.
The newest arrivals are the KuneKune pigs, sometimes described as the "Labradors of the pig world". Pickle, Willow and Wilbur are our 3 friendly and talkative KuneKunes. Join us to feed them, top up their water and generally make a fuss of them. They love a belly rub or a scratch on the back.
We have a small mixed flock of chickens including both hybrid and pure breed hens. We have Light Sussex, Silver Laced Orpington, Speckledy Maran and Devon Blues. It's easy to lose hours just watching these girls scratching at the ground and going about their day. We selected our flock to have a mix of colours and patterns but also for a range of egg colour. You can visit the hens with us and if you're lucky help us collect some rather beautiful eggs (subject to avian flu restrictions). Devon Blues are known for having an inquisitive nature and our two girls don't disappoint in this regard and are the first to rush up for grain and to see what's happening.
Some local ducks are regular visitors to our smallholding. They make a comical group as they waddle down the driveway to see if anyone can be persuaded to feed them. The ducks are more than happy to hang out with you while the grain lasts, if they are in a really good mood they'll even take some from your hand. If nobody is around outside, they have been known to invite themselves into the Cottages and take a more direct approach to persuading guests to feed them.