Help Miller’s Ark to stay afloat!

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you will know that I love animals. There are plenty of posts in my “animals” category!

Last year I told you about our visit to Miller’s Ark, where we could get close to the animals and have some donkey hugs. That was in September. We then went back in November, and also in January this year to see the tiny lambs, one of whom was only ten minutes old when we arrived.

Each time I fed sheep and goats, got down in the hay with donkeys, patted piglets, and went to seek out my friend Dudley, the golden retriever.

The current situation has stopped all that. No more trips to the farm on open days, because the farm is closed. We went on the adult-only days, but there were other events for the whole family too, as well as private events, animal therapy events, and educational events. All of them postponed now because of the social distancing measures.

This is of course necessary, but the events are the way in which the farm made money.

Now, animals still need to b fed, vet bills still need to be paid, and there are all the other jobs around a working farm that need to be done to keep the animals warm, clean, and safe.

On a normal visit, we’d buy our entry tickets, pick up a cup of food for the sheep and goats, and usually have lunch in the barn as well. Plenty of other people were doing the same, and that is a lot of lost revenue.

I care about the animals, and I also care about having farms like this to visit once all of the restrictions are lifted. That’s why, when I read about the sponsor an animal scheme, I was happy to sign up.

You can sponsor a range of animals, from goats to cats, donkeys to golden retrievers! I’ve put the price list below – the smaller figure is for one month and the figure in brackets is for three. If you want to sponsor one or more of the animals, contact Miller’s Ark via their contact page and they will send you their bank details for the bank transfer.

  • Sponsor a goat £5 (£12)
  • Sponsor a donkey £10 (£25)
  • Sponsor a farm cat £5 (£12)
  • Sponsor a pig £5 (£12)
  • Sponsor a duck £2 (£5)
  • Sponsor a turkey £2 (£5)
  • Sponsor a sheep £5 (£12)
  • Sponsor our bull £10 (£25)
  • Sponsor Dudley the dog £5 (£12)
  • Sponsor Napoleon (Great Dane) £5 (£12)

Sponsors are also entered into a raffle to win vouchers that can be used on the farm.

I don’t promote things that I haven’t done myself. I’m supporting the farm and I would encourage other animal-lovers to help as well, especially if you’re in the Hampshire area and can visit when this is all over.

There is also a GoFundMe page if you’d prefer to support the farm in this way. Miller’s Ark is a charity and donations on the GoFundMe page are eligible for gift aid as well.

You can keep up with what’s going on at the farm by following the social media accounts (see contact page, which I’ve linked above), and there is also an email newsletter that you can sign up for.

This is a tough time for charities right now, so whether or not you’d like to help the animals at the ark, please think about any charities that you normally support and see if there is anything you can do to help them.

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Visit to the small breeds farm and owl centre

After surprising my partner with a trip to the wolf sanctuary, he surprised me with a trip to the owl centre!

The owl centre is in Herefordshire, and it is home to a wide variety of owls, as well as a number of small animals.

The owls live in the owl garden, and here you can see the five native British owls, as well as owls from all around the world. Some of these owl species are not on public display anywhere else in Europe.

The five owl species that you’ll find in Britain are the British Barn owl, the Tawny owl, the Little owl, the Short-eared owl, and the Long-eared owl. My favourite is the barn owl!

All of these owls are facing challenges at the moment due to changes in farming practices (better pest control means less rodents to feed upon), new roads, and fewer suitable feeding sites. These challenges are particularly intense in the winter time, especially when snowy conditions make it harder to find food. There are a number of charities that work to help the owls to thrive and survive, particularly as falling population numbers have been a cause for concern in recent years.

I’ve been collecting owls for years, but I think Harry Potter contributed to an increased interest in all things with owls on them! Products with owl designs are everywhere in the shops, and I hope this increased interest in them will also translate into people learning more about them and supporting them. A good way to do this is to visit the owl centre. There is information outside every cage about the species, where it’s from, and more general information about its appearance, feeding habits and preferred nesting sites.

If you want to see more owl pictures, visit the owl page on the owl sanctuary’s website.

It was probably a good time to visit because there were lots of tiny animals. We went in the pen with some lambs. They were rather cautious, but as soon as one headed over, the others dared to come a bit closer.
The farm encourages petting and stroking of the animals, so it’s a good experience for visually impaired people too. We didn’t ask about handling any of the owls, apart from the one that greeted people at the entrance, but my partner read the information to me so I could imagine how the different species looked. In any event, it was daytime, so some of them probably wanted to sleep!

There are a number of different types of goat, including pygmies, boer goats, and Golden Guernsey Goats, all of which were eager to chomp anything they could find, and not just the food that was offered to them. One larger goat tried to munch my hair, and one of the tiny kids, that were the size of small cats, tried to nibble the bottom of my dress.

The miniature horses and donkeys have often been featured on TV.

The farm would not be complete without the farm dogs! When my boyfriend said “I’ve seen someone whom you’ll want to meet,” I wasn’t expecting a Labrador, in fact there were two of them, but I was very happy to give them a pat!

Other animals that you can visit are reindeer, alpaca, pigs, cows (including the miniature zebu, the world’s smallest breed of cow), sheep, horses, and donkeys.

This is where you can see some pictures of the other animals on the Owl Centre’s website.

There is also a house for small animals. I stroked some floppy bunny ears, but there weren’t so many opportunities for interaction here. Still you could see the guinea pigs, mice, chipmunks and chinchillas.

After our visit, we had lunch in the gift shop, where I also bought an owl necklace, an owl bracelet and a little bag with an owl face on it to add to my ever-growing owl collection.

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