Who’s Who in the FBA farm family
In March 2014 the boys arrived! Billy and Barry were two little goats who had been the runts of their family. Originally from the Lambourne Activity Centre, Billy and Barry soon settled into their new home at FBA. Surrounded by many adoring fans, they soon settled in and began to put on weight as they ate anything and everything that was given to them. Nowadays, the brothers have a strict diet of their 5 a day fruit and vegetables and an ample supply of sweet meadow hay to keep them fit and healthy, with the odd treat of cornflakes. They are Boer Goats which is a particular breed of mountain goat usually found in South Africa. Their strong hind legs enable them to stand firm on any ground. This has proved true with Billy and Barry when we have tried to move them but they wish to remain where they are. They get on well with each other but, like all brothers, fall out from time to time and enjoy head-butting each other. They are well-loved members of the Farm Family.
Which came first the chicken or the egg? In our case it was the egg. Our first batch of chickens came from an incubator of eggs. Pecky is one of original batch and is the strong Mother of all the other hens. We now have five hens who all get on well together and lay many eggs during the Summer months. They have their own large Hen house and can be very vocal as they welcome in each day. They enjoy perching on top of their hen house, and when roaming free they have a favourite tree that they love to scrabble beneath.
The farm has had many small furry rabbit friends over the years including, Rosie and Thumperlina the Lion mane rabbits, and Cookie and Romeo. The rabbits live together in a huge house near the bottom of the farm. This gives them the space to be free and have lots of exercise outside of their hutches. Although the grass in their area is non existent they enjoy having a regular tray of grass brought in to munch on. The rabbits can be a bit skittish and sometimes hide under or behind the hutches, but if you get down low to the ground in there you’ll soon find them enjoying climbing all over you.
There have long been guinea pigs at the FBA Farm. Stitches for a while was all on his own and made firm friends with rabbits Bunnybee and Fluffy. Then he was joined by Potato, and now by Pumpkin and Spice too. They have their own luxury, purpose built guinea pig mansion which they have the run of during the day and enjoy welcoming student visitors for cuddles.
The first quails arrived at the Farm back in 2016 and have been firmly in residence ever since. Our quail are Japanese quail, which grow to about 10cm tall. They are small ground-nesting game birds, belonging to the pheasant family Phasianidae. Quail eggs are a mottled green, blue and brown colour, and each hen lays eggs with a unique shell pattern. They respond well to being tamed, and are happy to be handled. Our quail can often be found burrowed in the nesting area of their home or flapping about in their sand bath. They also enjoy the run of the animal pen when everyone leaves the farm area. Despite their shyness they have a really strong bond with Bunnybee, Fluffy and Stitches and all visit each other’s homes, stealing whatever food is available! Despite being the quieter of our animals, they are definitely important members of the farm family.
The Farm welcomed its first ducks in 2014 after the creation of ‘Duckingham Palace’. The three original ducks soon multiplied into 11 and enjoyed swimming in the newly created pond, which had been dug out by students. Our ducks are Indian Runners. In 2020 during lockdown they upgraded to a home pool in their house which they love climbing in and out of while they couldn’t get out as much. Our ducks are can be both cheeky and comical as well as orderly and well behaved. While loose on the farm they are often caught foraging… raiding! the Chicken coup for extra treats. But they are also very good at the end of the day, when the order of “Bed!” is issued, and all the ducks follow each other in single file back to their house so they are safe from foxes overnight.
Miniature Shetland Ponies
Rocky and Rosie joined the FBA family in September 2021. Both rescue ponies they previously worked as therapy ponies after being recuperated. Now they enjoy wandering the farm beyond their paddock, going for walks around the farm, having their manes braided and their coats groomed, and trying to sneak extra hay from beneath the tarpulin covering our main store.