Stone Life

Stone goat farm gets school visit

Nestled on the outskirts of Stone is Hollywood Cottage Goat Farm and they’ve had kids galore as school kids met up with goat kids

Hollywood Cottage Goat Farm

Country Trust Farm Visit Coordinator Corinne Caddy joined education charity The Country Trust last month and organised her first farm visit last week.  Children from Burnwood Community Primary School, Stoke-on-Trent got to see for themselves the world’s only goat roundhouse at Hollywood Cottage Goat Farm near Stone. The building is a special round house structure divided up like segments of an orange and home to the farm’s Boer goats during winter.

Farmers Ruth and Antony Key welcomed the children and their teachers on arrival and introduced them to their herd of very friendly goats and kids. One child asked why all the goats had ear tags, and Ruth and Antony used a hand scanner (rather like one you find in a supermarket) to read the number on the tag. They explained that the number was a bit like a birth certificate and from it the children could see when a goat was born, who its parents were and how many days old it was.

Farmer Antony Key said ““Visits like this are such a rewarding experience. I’m always surprised by how little some of the children know about the countryside. This is a great opportunity to share something unique with them, as well as show them what life on a real working farm is like.”

During the morning the children had a girls versus boys challenge – using wheelbarrows to carry bedding to a pen and gathering food for the hay racks. Some of the children hadn’t handled a wheelbarrow before and said this was the best part of their day. They also got to build square doe and kid pens, accurately measure and weigh the goat’s food and had a go at plaiting pink and orange goat collars, which the pupils took home afterwards.

Every year The Country Trust works with hundreds of volunteer farmers and landowners to teach disadvantaged children from all backgrounds and faiths about food, farming and the working countryside. Corrine, who has considerable experience of working with children and was previously responsible for the educational programme at Shugborough Estate, Staffordshire said, “When I got home and reflected on the day I realised the children had not only learned about food and farming but also other things, such as animal welfare, recycling, mathematics and a good few other subjects besides. Most importantly, I came away from my first experience as Farm Visit Coordinator feeling that everyone – the children, the teachers, the host farmers, myself and my fellow co-ordinator, Cathy Evans – had enjoyed a really informative and fun day”.

If you would like to know more about the work of The Country Trust or become a supporter, please go to www.countrytrust.org.uk

For more details about Hollywood Cottage Goat Farm visit http://hollywoodgoatmeats.co.uk/

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