Charlie & Blue
Age: Both roughly 8 years old.
Info: The project has two donkeys which travelled all the way from Ireland to be with us! Their names are Charlie (brown) and Blue (grey/blue).
Both boys can be very stubborn at times, especially when the weather is cold or they are hungry. Over time, through training and animal-assisted projects staff and young people have taught the Donkeys good behaviour, reward systems and regular training routines to give the donkeys a good standard of living within a consistent set of boundaries – just like what people need too!
The donkeys are great at listening, they seem to have an ability to know when someone is upset or angry and will hang around, maybe push you with their nose to see if someone is ok, before giving out hugs!
Info: Roderick was donated to the project around 5 years go, but his age is unknown. He is a Kunekune pig with distinct black and white hedgehog-like hair.
Roderick is a very friendly pig who loves having people fuss him and give him attention while inside his accommodation. Roderick loves going for a run and is surprisingly very fast over short distances, but as you would guess he doesn’t have much stamina and is tired after 10 minutes of running about.
Roderick also has tusks that if left would grow round and eventually pierce his own skull, causing a very painful death. A vet regularly visits Roderick to administer vitamin injects and to saw his tooth down to a manageable size.
Breed: Micro Pig
Info: Mr Piggie was donated to the project in February 2017 because although a micropig he has outgrown his previous home! Mr Pig is growing bigger and bigger and bigger by the day. Mr Piggie doesn’t live with our other pig Roderick, purely because Mr Pig who is much smaller, is very defensive towards Roderick and will provoke him, and then squeal like he is the victim! Mr Piggie is a cheeky pig, and loves to eat peoples clothes or anything else he can get into his pen!
Mr Pig loves his food, he will munch on anything really but his favourite thing is fruit, he will snort away happily when feasting on fruit scraps!
Breed: Domestic short haired tabby
Info: Jess is originally a wild cat who stumbled across the farm, and decided to make it her home in 2014!
Jess is easily recognised by her tricolour appearance, green eyes and no-nonsense approach to life!
Although much more loving now, Jess was once feared amongst even the most confident animal handlers at the farm because of her snappy and grumpy attitude. But like all animals and people, over time Jess has warmed to everyone’s love, care and attention and is now a really friendly and loving cat who has gone from avoiding attention to seeking out social opportunities.
Breed: Bicoloured domestic short hair
Info: Leo was donated to the project as a kitten, with his brother Jack Sprat who sadly ran away after some time. Fortunately, Leo has stayed with the project and is adored by all who meet him! Leo is easily identified by his tuxedo fur pattern and bright green eyes.
Leo is a relentless fuss seeker who will walk on students work and across dinner plates to receive some fuss! Leo loves relaxing on peoples legs as they work, watch documentaries or chasing mice.
An interesting experiment that has worked with Leo is keeping him inside at night, living with our rabbits. Because there is a busy road that runs alongside the project which is only accessible by the likes of a cat, we decided to keep him indoors to help scare away and unwanted pests and to prolong his lifespan.
Andrew, Skip & Betty
Age: Andrew: 14/15, Betty: 10, Skip: 10.
Breed: Andrew: Saanon Mixed-Breed, Betty & Skip: Toggenburg.
Info: The project has 3 goats – Andrew has horns and is a male, Skip is brown and is the mother of Betty the white goat.
The reason the goats live side by side but separated is that Andrew has horns which he uses aggressively to eat all the food and feeding time. Andrew is the projects oldest animal and has been with the farm virtually from the beginning. Betty and Skip, however, were donated to the project by a local farmer.
Toegther the goats enjoy terrorising other animals, especially when they have food. Ignoring electric fencing and on the odd occasion breaking loose!
Info: The project has a converted stable area that houses rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs. Currently, there are 5 rabbits, 1 ferret and 1 guinea pig but this number changes every 6 months or so, mainly because small animals are not the strongest of creatures, and when the project rescuse small animals they are usually older and have an unknown history.
Sessions with the rabbits are always good fun because it takes time to build a rapport with the rabbits, they tend to run away from people they do not know, but will soon warm up to anyone who is prepared to fuss and groom their fur.
Groups regularly walk the rabbits around the farm and will make them food treat toys from vegetables grown from in the garden.
Breed: Llama Glama
Info: The Island Project had 3 llama’s once upon a time and they fought like Tom and Jerry! As they aged, the fighting did not cease, and one of the llama’s was badly injured on his neck, leading him to become immobile and unable to eat or drink. When llama’s compete for the Alpha status they mount one another into submission.
Now we have one llama remaining, called Neno, who is only now starting to become social, allowing students and staff to care for him properly, feed him by hand and receive fuss and attention.
Neno has suspected Megasophagus which is an enlarged esophagus (the muscles conntecting the throat to the stomach), which causes issues when eating. Neno now eats in isolation with young people keeping a close eye on him for choking.
Info: The ducks came to the farm as an emergency foster arrangement. This is because the ducks had become orphaned, leaving them without a mother to protect them.
Domesticated ducks have their wings clipped so they can’t fly away. The project decided to not clip our ducks wings, giving them the opportunity to stay or leave once they were strong enough. Of course, they love the farm and have decided to stay forever! So the young people decided to give them all names, Deefer, Zoltan, Donald, Roast and Francis.
Age: Nora: 10, Ruby: 5 & Derek: 6
Info: The Island Project has 3 sheep – Derek, Nora and Ruby. They were donated to the project by a local farmer.
The sheep are eating machines and will eat almost anything given to them without coming up for a breath of air! Fair to say they are excellent lawn mowers.
Every summer they are sheered to keep them cooler in the summer months, without being sheered they could become at risk of collapsing and dehydrating. The sheep are normally involved with vet club partly because of their unknown history, they seem to have little issues all the time, such as infected feet and fluctuating weight.
Breed: Pekin and Hybrid.
Info: We have three breeds to chickens at the project. One being a Peking chicken and the other being ex-battery hens, which are a mixed breed with a distinct brown feather appearance.
Battery hens are usually put to slaughter after 18 months because at that age the chickens begin to slow down in egg production. We have re-homed chickens several times from Ashbourne Welfare, giving them an organic, free-range lifestyle for the rest of their life!