I have recently started a new job as a relief groom as a short secondment away from Town Barton.
As a relief I am required to provide cover wherever needed, so it has given me a fantastic opportunity to travel around the other farms and departments to see how they work, as well as meeting all the teams.
It has also been a great opportunity for me to meet a lot of the Quality Time Volunteers (QTVs) and it is lovely to see such dedication and hard work from them across all of the farms.
I would like to take the opportunity on behalf of all the grooms to thank all the QTVs for the time they give to the donkeys, I know the animals get a lot of enrichment out of their visits.
I have loved moving around all the farms and seeing the different special care groups each farm has and how they manage them. At Town Barton we currently have 139 mules and hinnies in our care, so in comparison to this all the other farms are run quite differently.
Axnoller has a large number of ponies as well as a few mules, so I felt very at home there having come from Town Barton!
The mare and foal group at Brookfield is the biggest distraction ever! How on earth you are meant to get any work done when there is a yard full of adorable little foals running round and playing is beyond me!
Paccombe has a lovely little stable yard where their oldies live, the pace is slower with these lovely old mares and geldings and special attention has to be given to check for health problems that are more common amongst the oldies.
Woods have a very effective training system for their foster donkeys, any that might be suitable are moved to a shelter where they have training work done until they are 100% ready to go to a home, and they are then moved to another shelter to await the lorry to take them to a new home!
Hurfords and Trow are like two separate farms in one! Trow houses a lot of old donkeys who all require special care, where Hurfords has a lot of young, lively donkeys who are being brought over from Ireland. You have to have eyes in the back of your head when working with some of the cheeky youngsters at Hurfords!
Slade is very different from the other farms as it is open to the public and is a hive of activity! It was interesting to visit the shelter that houses the blind group and see how well they cope despite their disabilities. The walls and doors are padded in case any of them bump in to them, but all the donkeys seem to move around with ease.
I am currently working for a few days in the offices, and it is very interesting for me to see how every thing is run from the other side, and what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak!
I am thoroughly enjoying my secondment in to this role, and I will try and update you with stories of any characters I meet on my travels around the farms!
Bye for now!