We not only have the Rare Breed Clydesdale Horses, we also have Rare Breed Sheep, Duck, Geese and Pigs. It was a decision taken that we wanted to become a Rare Breed working farm for which visitors are able to see what would have been around in the day of the working horse. All of our animals are very special to us, and are in breeding programmes so as to contribute in preserving them. From March onwards we have always some youngsters around for which people enjoy watching.
The Centre predominantly concentrates on the Clydesdale Heavy Horse, which sadly now is listed on the Rare Breeds Watch List.
The Clydesdale was the Scottish heavy working horse and came down as far as North Yorkshire. Hay Farm had 17 Clydesdale horses working from it, and it was in the 1950's that the last one left, 2013 saw them arrive back. Now we have a full breeding programme, with a resident stallion, who if he gets a chance enjoys running off with visitors hats.
Apart from us breeding the Clydesdales, we also rescue and adopt Heavy Horses, therefore giving them the facilities and knowledge to care for them.
The popularity of certain breeds of sheep has changed over the years, due to commercial demands upon the producer. Also the introduction of manmade fibres had an impact within the wool markets.
Therefore we decided that it would be beneficial to introduce some Rare Breed Sheep to the farm. This allows visitors to see what would have been around and also helps to contribute to the preservation of some of these breeds, as with the horses these are in a breeding programme.
The sheep we have are Oxfords and Lincolnshire Longwool, both are a lot bigger than the general commercial sheep of today.
There will be lambs to be seen in the springtime, and it is the intention for these to build up our flock as well as sell on for breeding animals.
The pig was a very important part of a farm, as it was one of the main sources of food for the farming family. In the era of the working horse there was a wide variety of pigs around the country, however, after the 2nd World War food was in high demand and the quick finishing commercial pig was introduced to meet demands.
Once again we have gone for one of the Rare Breed varities, The British Lop Eared, for which there are only around 200 left. Visitors are able to see Thelma and Louise who are very big characters.
Pigs are naturally very clean animals, however, with been light skinned they can suffer from sunburn, and tend to be covered in mud, so giving the impression of being a dirty animal.
Visitors will be able to see the girls with their youngsters at certain times of the year, and the offspring are being bred for the breeding market.
We have always had Rare Breed Ducks which are very popular with visitors, for being such characters. Within the yard you will always find the Indian Runner Ducks sunning themselves. These ducks are the most un-duck like duck, they don't like swimming and only flap their wings to help them run faster. What they do have is the most amazing colours when the sun hits them and are good egg producers and children love them.
The Sebastopol Geese - George and Mildred arrived with us late last year. These are Rare Breeds, but what took our eye were the beautiful long flowing feathers. The Sebastopol is also known as the Pantomime goose and first came to Britain around 1860. They cannot fly and thee two characters are very friendly, however, they do tend to like to exercise their vocals