Here at Green Dragon, we have lots of friendly animals – from the cute and cuddly to rare breeds. There’s a daily programme of demonstrations and hands-on activities as well as seasonal events in the Animal Barn and Pets’ Corner. Animal encounters are very popular activities with our younger visitors.
Amongst our large livestock – cattle, sheep, goats and pigs – and our poultry, we have rare breeds and some that are now off the endangered list, like our Dexter Cattle. We like to think that we’re doing our bit to save rare breed farm animals from extinction in the UK!
We also supply our ‘farm to fork’ restaurant and barn cafe with meat and eggs produced on the farm. Don’t miss the ‘farm to fork’ trail that leads visitors around the paddock area!
We opened in March 2015 with lambing and have not looked back! Our rare breed sheep – Balwens, Herdwicks, Badger-Faced, Black Welsh, Jacobs and Soays – all produced lambs again this year in the Spring. There are plans to have lambs for Christmas, from our Portlands and Dorsets – both able to breed out of season. Last year they were a great success and made our Nativity Event in December all the more authentic!
We’re establishing a new flock of chickens this year for breeding next year. We’ve Cream Legbars, Black & Cuckoo Marans, Buff & Red Orpingtons, Jersey Giants, Lemon Pyle Brahmas, Welsummers, and Silver Pencilled Hamburgs – as well as our ex-batteries. The eggs come in assorted colours – from dark brown to sky blue – and end up in the restaurant kitchen. Eggs are for sale as well, when available.
The plan is to increase our goat herd for milking purposes by bringing some Golden Guernseys, which we’ll use for breeding next year. The pygmy goats produced their kids in March which have been reared with their mothers, whilst the Saanen goat kids are still being bottle fed.
Our Sandy & Black sows, an old Oxfordshire breed, were joined by a boar, Tigger, last year. This Spring, they have both had large litters for the first time. This year, the plan is to introduce a Gloucester Old Spot boar to our programme to go with our Old Spot sow, Beyonce.
For more details of rare breed farm animals, please to the Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST) website.
Poultry breeding programme
We have a large variety of poultry including chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys, including some rare breeds – Silver Hamburgs and Cornish Indian Game Bird chickens, Silver Appleyard and Aylesbury ducks, and Bourbon Red and Norfolk Black turkeys.
We’re starting a breeding programme for the chickens in 2016 with our Favourelles, Lavender Pekins, Light Sussex and Green Rose varieties and the addition of some Cream Leg Bars and Marans. There will be hatching eggs and chicks for sale later in the year.