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4th April

Thomas the Tank weekend - the busiest few days of the season - ended spectacularly yesterday with the birth of three tiny pygmy goats.

Adam_and_Andy_webRoll, who was finally wider than she was tall, had a pair of beautiful twins early in the morning of Bank Holiday Monday. Rock, not to be outdone, spent the morning pacing around the paddock before delivering her little kids just after lunchtime. Far from being concerned about the hundreds of peple staring at her over the fence, she obligingly gave birth right in the middle of the field as the crowd applauded.

All three are billy goat kids, and so will be looking for new homes once they are a bit older. Castrated male pygmies (wethers) make wonderful pets, and these three already know how to capture hearts.

All eyes are now on Bop, who is due at the same time as her friends, and who is also looking very large!

Photo: Mark Ellison

Duckling_ResizedThe new season has got off to a fantastic start at Totnes Rare Breeds. The farm and Garden Cafe have been open for a week and have been busier than ever. With a little help from the weather, the staff and animals have been welcoming back all their old friends - and making some new ones too of course.

lamb_resizedRegular visitors have had fresh acquaintances to make too. Harry and Barnaby, the Mediterranean Miniature donkeys, have captured everyone's hearts, as have mini piglets  Cassandra and Raquel. Our usual stock of orphaned lambs has arrived from a local farmer, and they are bleeting for bottles. Chicks are chipping out of eggs every day, baby guinea pigs are still being born, and a seventy-year-old tortoise is getting used to the pace of life on the farm.

Our woodland walk has also opened - a great place to watch the local birdlife, and to see the bees hurrying in and out of their hive.

It really is all go! But don't worry, everyone's still as chilled out and happy as ever.

Accessible-Britain_WebTotnes Rare Breeds Farm, in partnership with South Devon Railway, has been highly commended by the Rough Guide for its disabled access. At an awards ceremony at the Tate Modern on Monday, the two attractions came joint second, along with the Eden Project, Alnwick Gardens, Durham and Legoland, Windsor. The winner in the category (Best Visitor Attraction) was The Science Museum, London.

All the volunteers and animals are very excited to have been considered among such prestigious company, and would like to thank everyone for their support and congratulations.

Candy_WebSome very sad news first: Candy, the approaching-fifty year old Donkey, died on Wednesday morning. It was not a great shock, since she had been declining with great dignity for some time, but was nevertheless very upsetting for everyone. As well as being our oldest resident, she was also one who had been on the farm the longest. Staff and customers alike will miss her determined attitude, and slightly doddery ways. We would like to thank everyone who has supported and loved her over the years.

 

Miniature_Donkeys_WebThe better news is that Jack, our remaining donkey, was not allowed to stay lonely for long. Two Mediterranean miniature donkeys arrived on Friday, and are busy settling in to life at Totnes Rare Breeds. They have yet to be properly introduced to Jack, who spends his time peering round the partition at these tiny versions of himself.

Photograph by Sarah Anne Harvey

Winners_WebEveryone is thrilled to announce that Totnes Rare Breeds, in partnership with the South Devon Steam Railway, is a finalist in the new Rough Guide to Accessible Britain Awards. Secret shoppers from the Rough Guide, one of Britain's leading travel and reference publishers, have been assessing attractions up and down the country for their disabled-friendliness. They judged the farm and railway as worthy of being shortlisted in the Best Family Venue category.

The Awards reward the efforts made by attractions across the country to ensure that visitors with disabilities enjoy an inclusive, inspiring and accessible experience. Since both the farm and railway make a conscious effort to be as accessible to disabled visitors as to anyone, they are thrilled to be acknowleged in a national award.

Imagine the shock when the full shortlist was released, and these two humble Devon destinations discovered themselves to be up against The Eden Project, Legoland Windsor and The Science Museum, London. The award ceremony is at the Tate Modern on 22nd March and although we're not getting our hopes up, it's fantastic to play David against these Goliaths.