New Piglets, Chickens, Ducks and our first ever Geese!

Exciting times at the farm with lots of new arrivals since my last email.

First the Saddleback pigs have been very, very productive, some 30 new piglets out in the fields and looking very healthy. The piglets were, of course, born here and it is a real testament to how Arnald and the team are looking after the pigs that our herd continues to grow so healthily. If you are visiting the farm this weekend, do take time to go and say hello – all the pigs like a bit of company and a good scratch behind the ears!

In the duck pond we have 3 new Toulouse geese, 12 Chocolate Brown Muscovy ducklings and 20 Embden goslings who are all making themselves quite at home.

Most exciting is the return of chickens to the farm after the latest Avian flu outbreak last winter. We have just taken delivery of 60 chickens – a mixture of grown hens and day old chicks. The mature hybrid browns are already laying and Nick has an increasing number of our own eggs for sale in the shop. As well as these hybrids we have a mixture of rare breed native chickens including Dorkings, Speckled Sussex, Buff Orpington’s and, rarest of all, a breeding group of Shetland Tappit Chickens (pictured above). These latter are said to be the rarest chickens in the world being landrace chickens from the Shetland Islands – interestingly, they lay blue eggs which means that at some point they have cross bred with descendants of Araucana Chickens from South America. The belief among Shetland Islanders is that this happened when birds escaped from shipwrecked galleons of the Spanish Armada over 400 years ago! Friendly, sociable birds which you can easily spot when they are out in the woods as they have a tufted fringe rather than a comb – Tapp being the Celtic for Tuft.

So lots of great reasons for visiting the farm over the next few days: sunshine, we hope; great food and and produce, as ever; lots of animals to visit and, of course, stunningly beautiful borders and flowers!

The whole team look forward to greeting you over the coming sunny weekend.