Monday, 24 March 2008


I went to a local farm visitor centre today - on my own. No children (there weren't even many children at the farm). I had a great time.

I bought some animal food there and began with the birds. Wonderful owls - enormous ones - sitting so still, just heads and eyes moving. On to the duck pond where I did my first bit of feeding - one particularly gorgeous Mandarin duck got more than its fair share of the food, I think, but I was very taken by him.

Walking on up the hill I came to a new arrival to the park - a family of squirrel monkeys. They were gorgeous and I spent a long time just standing watching them as they leapt around. One sat right by the window into their indoor area, so close that I could see every detail on him. He had the tiniest toes, with minute thumbs on each foot as well as each hand. The thumbnails were so perfect. He sat there, food in hand, tilting his head to look at me as he fed.

I walked round by the top of the farm, feeding the animals as I went (using the food as a bit of a bribe to get them to allow me to pet them!) A beautiful Jersey cow didn't want to know, but her even more gorgeous calf did, and allowed me to stroke him. He was soft and fluffy, and his huge eyes were fantastic.

There was an assortment of breeds of poultry - I loved the Silkies, which looked as their name suggested. I even got one hen to peck grain from my hand. I thought I had overestimated how much she would eat, but grain by grain she pecked it all up.

Then on to the rest of the mammals - sheep, pigs, ponies and (of course) goats. Lots and lots of goats. There was one pen with pygmy goats and their new kids. They were so sweet - I couldn't reach to touch them, but i badly wanted to pick one up! I think they were about 3 weeks old. The adults were as inquisitive as goats always seem to be - and very keen on the food I had.

Going past the llamas I saw a funny. A family had approached and the eldest son (about 8 I would guess) offered food from the pot of carrots he had. One of the llamas took the whole pot - plastic and all - and dropped it onto the ground in the pen before devouring the carrots! Fortunately the father of the family was able to retrieve about half of the carrots, which were still in the pot, and equally fortunately the family all seemed to find it a funny experience.

The animal barn was a little bit of a disappointment - it had some more goats and some lovely rabbits in it, plus some assorted reptiles, but no chance to pet the rabbits, which I would have loved to do. There were various breeds, one of which was massive. I stayed for the "Animal encounter" which was also a bit of a disappointment - only three animals brought out (a rat, a bantam hen and a chinchilla) which were carried round the group of visitors very quickly, with just time for each one to have a quick stroke.

However, collecting the newly laid eggs from the hen barn was wonderful. I rejected the first sets I found as they had clearly been "placed" there much earlier. But the next section I looked in had hens on their eggs - I was able to feel below them to find warm eggs - fantastic! Birds aren't really my favourite animals, but I loved the walkthrough bird area. There were some exotic water fowl there - flamingoes, and the scarlet ibis - this photo doesn't do justice to the glory of their plumage at all; it was scarlet, not the orange-red it appears here. The Vulturine Guineafowl were also beautiful. I saw several feathers, but sadly none in reach.

The different textures of the animal coats really struck me. From the extreme softness of the chinchilla through the fluffy feathers of the various hens, to the coarseness of the ponies, the solidity of the sheep's woolly coats and the huge variety of the goats coats. Some were really soft, some furry, some coarse. The smells too (wow, there were some smelly goats!) and the noises. Itvwas so good to do without worrying about how other people were enjoying it - I had just myself to please, and when I had enough, I came home - well, after a stop at the delicatessan where I did indulge just a little...


MMP said...

....doing something to nurture ourselves is sometimes So Damn Hard to manage and to enjoy.

I am SO Very Pleased you enjoyed your day... and so sorry you couldn't quite reach or find a feather!! That blue is amazing- i love the way those two colours sit beside each other as well. thank you.

Disillusioned said...

Thanks, MMP.

Glad I posted the day here - it's something to hang on to.