We asked Liam White, Animal Manager at Fairytale Farm, to give us a glimpse behind the scenes and tell us about a typical day in his life at the farm. 

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Liam feeding some sheep

I like to help out the rest of the team, so on my drive to work I pick up any volunteers working that day and we make our way into work as a team, only to be greeted by the morning choir of goats, guinea pigs and all of the rest of the gang! I swear from the moment my car door clunks shut they begin to serenade us.

Then it’s the most important part of the day... breakfast! Nobody can perform without a good start to the day, so we fly around and feed all the animals to reward them for their beautiful singing. As we feed them and say good morning, we let them out of their nighttime pens and ensure they're all healthy.

Afterwards, once we know all the animals are happy, we move on to the next job. What goes in must come out, so this means it's time to poo pick; everyone's favourite job! 😍 From the smallest of animals in mouse town all the way up to the pigs, donkeys, and alpacas…. let’s just say there's always plenty of manure for the gardens!

There is a long list of other jobs, some big and lots of little ones, like hoof picking, feet trimming, and health checking that need doing each day. I can genuinely say that no day is quite the same on the farm, each day brings at least one surprise and challenge. We take our time on each task as we're trying to teach our volunteers as much as possible, so we do these spread across the day. Of course, all of this is in-between the day’s events with you guys, the public! We all work at different speeds, and all have different abilities, but we work as a team and get everything done. Even if we fail in a task, it's not really failing, as long as you've tried your best and, as I tell everyone, it’s character building! I try to teach our volunteers skills that will help them through life, from communication through to more practical skills, like using a drill and other tools.

Liam with chickens
Twice daily we put on animal handling sessions for our visitors. The animals we choose depends on the time of year and, of course, the weather (as we never quite know what it's going to do in England!). We have quite an array of animals we get out, ranging from chicks, ducklings, baby peacocks, and baby turkeys, but the big crowd pleasers are our bunnies and guinea pigs. In these sessions we teach the public how to hold the animals correctly, tell them a few facts about all the animals and introduce them to some of the different characters we have here. But the most enjoyable part is being able to sit down ourselves to have a little cuddle with the animals and build our bonds. 

Even when you've been working with the animals for as long as I have, you still can't help yourself from having a cheeky cuddle. My personal favourites for a cuddle are Stanford, the Netherland dwarf rabbit, and Belinda the guinea pig. But don't tell the other animals I said that!

With a lot of these animals, this is their second home, as we've rescued or rehomed them; giving them the love that some have never had before. We have done this from the biggest of animals on the farm to the smallest. If we can help, we love to do so.

Volunteers even sometimes rehome some of the animals themselves, as they create such strong bonds with the animals while working with them. They learn how to care for them and love them as part of their family.

Anyway, after our first handling session of the day it's time to finally fill our own tummies!

Liam with an alpaca
After lunch we prepare all the fruit and vegetables for the animals’ dinner and then run our second handling session and get back to the day’s jobs. Then we do a bit of animal training, ranging from our pigs to our very special alpacas. We have Horace, Hagrid and Alfie and we keep these guys well walked and halter trained so that in the summer months they are perfect gentleman when it comes to doing our alpaca walking. Some of you may have seen Alfie the Alpaca in the past giving Mystic Meg a run for her money with his football predictions at the Qatar Football World Cup. 

After we have finished our daily jobs and training, we start to wind the day down and prepare all the animals’ feeds. Just like JustEat or Deliveroo, the animals have their food delivered straight to their doorstep with a top up of water, if needed. Then we make sure they’re all fit and happy before tucking them in for the night. As we start our journey home after another eventful day’s work, I think of the new experiences that have been learned by the team, as well as the many laughs we’ve had throughout the day. 

I hope to meet you at Fairytale Farm soon!


Liam with a baby goat




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