Each day, I had the opportunity to gain an insight into the different sections and jobs on the farm.
The workers take turns to muck out and prepare the top shed for visitors.
First of all, I let out some of the animals into the correct field then fed and carried buckets of clean water for them.
In the shed, I helped to muck out, filled up the hay racks, swept the floor and bedded the pens.
Getting cows into the parlour
The cows are milked three times a day (early morning, midday and late evening). Therefore, I was there during the second milking of the day.
I had to nudge the stubborn cows along, to take them into the milking parlour.
Once the cows were in position to be milked, chains were pulled across them to hold them into place.
The udders were prepared with wipes to clean off any bedding and manure. The vacuum was turned on and the teat cups were placed.
The milkers released automatically when the cow was done milking. The cow was post dipped with an iodine solution to protect the teats from getting infected afterwards.
At 2pm, straight after milking, I filled the calf bottles with the fresh milk from the cows.
I then fed the calves.
Before each ‘Pet’s Corner’ session, bottles had to be prepared for the lambs and pygmy goats.
The 4 orphaned pygmy goats and 3 orphaned lambs were fed three times whilst I was at the farm from 9am-5pm. The 14 large lambs were bottle fed five times.
I mixed the powdered milk with the correct ratio of hot and cold water.
First of all, I handed the bottles out to feed the 14 lambs and helped to direct them back into their pen.
Then I carried an orphaned lamb or pygmy goat around. I then carried a piglet (only a few days old) but had to comfort it to stop it from squealing.
I then put collars and leads on the alpacas and walked them around for the visitors to see.
On a few occasions, I either helped to get the 10ft python or held him myself.
We then handed out chicks, baby guineapigs, and rabbits for children to hold.
I handled and fed the reptiles at the farm.
I prepared the food for the skunks, coatis and meerkats. I then fed them.
On another occasion, I defrosted the chicks from the freezer and threw these into the enclosures for the animals.