Harwes Farm has a number of different animals, with whom most (if not all) of our visitors fall in love. Each of these “beasts” have their own little story, and all of them need looking after at the farm.
Firstly, we have our pet sheep.
The “boys” : Andrew, Bertie, Charlie, Eigor, Frank, George and Herbie were rescued from a trailer where they’d been thrown to die at birth just because of an eye defect!! The RSPCA were called in and they were saved, including their eyesight. We adopted them from the on call vet who had looked after them for the first three years of their lives. The boys, who are Swaledale mule rams, are slightly bigger than the girls, and they have horns!!! but It’s a breed, not a gender thing! They came to us two years ago because the vet needed to move from her farm and we had the space to accommodate them. Looking after them has been an exciting learning curve, those of you who know them, know they’re all gorgeous with differing personalities and temperaments and they love to be stroked and enjoy eating from your hands!
Then we agreed to adopt the “girls” : Titch, Rosie, Poppy, Shauna, Romona and Thumbelina in Spring 2016 because our friend needed to move farms, and we had the space to accommodate them too!!! (Noticing a pattern here??) . The girls are Texel mules, their wool is radically different from the boys’ – it’s great for knitting and craft, whereas the boys’ fleeces are good for insulation.
The girls were loved from birth, no tragic attempt to end their lives but they were being bottle fed because they were orphaned or rejected by their mums because they were a triplet. When they arrived with us, some of them were only a week old!!! We kept them in the stable and let them run around in the backyard (a big poo tidying job by the time we put them into the field!!) They would knock on the back door every four hours for milk which we obliged to offer, and thus they worked their way into our hearts too!!
The chickens actually came to live at Harwes Farm before the “sheeps” did!
I contacted British Hen Welfare and offered to re home ex-battery chickens in our on-site chicken coop back in 2014. Before that, we already had four rescued hens that a friend had brought for us, and four rare breed black hens and a white cockerel rescued from a backyard in Blackburn, but everyone happily moved over to make room for these new ex-battery arrivals!
We have only a single hen and one cockerel left now, both were born and raised here on the farm, namely – Petal and Richard!
We’re looking to buy a new house for our chicken community because the present one is deteriorated and beyond repair!! The plan is to adopt more ex-battery hens again as soon as we have a new home for all of them that’s safe and sound.
It’s something else to see the ex-batts feel the sunshine, wind and rain for the first time and step out onto the grass underneath their feet. The unfamiliarity with their surroundings show in their faces at first, but not for long! They are soon running enthusiastically to greet you and basking in the sun cooing and fluffing out their feathers with the other hens, even jumping onto your knee to say hello!!
Our Gaggle of Geese
We inherited a “gaggle” of geese last year too! Didn’t anticipate we’d be asked to do that! They are a large extended family of 17 (originally 12)! It has been fascinating watching them nest and hatch goslings, twice! Some of the old guard of the family “disappear” from time to time, all part of the rich circle of life, but the younger guard are always around to carry on the family line. The geese live over the back field and on the pond, but we can watch them from a distance and have learnt a good deal about their kind! During winter months when the grass becomes scarce they camp around the chicken coop and we feed them twice per day!
We have had Benvolio and Ivor, our rescue cats for seven years now. The feline community does not require your support, but, they are very much a part of farm life and you will most definitely meet them when you visit. They will follow us around and generally make firm friends with you!!
Last and by no means least we have Brian our three-legged rabbit! Brian does not require your support either, but we mention him here so that you remember to pet him when you visit too!
Supporting the Animals at Harwes Farm
If you feel you would like to sponsor the animals, you can do so using the form above. Any donations will be greatly appreciated to help us keep these animals with feed in winter months, bedding and the medicines they need to keep them fit and healthy.