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Living, breathing, farming...

Farm animals

With rare breeds of sheep, pigs and goats, as well as Shetland ponies, cows, donkeys, and plenty of chickens and ducks, there are more animals at Sacrewell than Old MacDonald managed to cram into his traditional farm.

Our paddocks showcase our successful rare breeding programme, which includes Lincoln Longwool, Jacob and Soay sheep and Bagot goats as well as our own British Lop pigs, one of the rarest breeds of pig in the country.

Some sheep, such as the Lincoln Longwool, were bred for their large heavy fleece of long lustrous wool, which was spun to make clothing. Their numbers went into decline along with the wool trade in Britain.

British Lop pigs originated in Devon and Cornwall in the 1880s and were known as Long White Lop-eared pigs. It was a popular breed in the south-west before the Second World War but fell out of favour because the Ministry of Agriculture encouraged farmers to raise better-known breeds of pig, which were more cost-effective to produce and sold better at market. There are currently only 11 breeders maintaining the British Lop but numbers are slowly growing.

Animal stock changes seasonally and springtime is when we are home to at least two dozen bouncing lambs. Some are born here and some are orphans – known as Cade lambs – which we hand-rear when they come to us from other farms. During the summer, they take to the track every day in our popular lamb national, racing to the finish line for a tasty reward.

Each paddock has information about the animals in a frame on the fence. Don’t worry if some paddocks are empty – it means we’re giving the ground a rest so the grass can grow and the land is clean and safe for livestock.

A team of full-time and part-time rangers, headed by our site operations manager Richard Hadfield, works 365 days a year, sometimes 24 hours a day, to ensure that our animals are well cared-for.

If you have any questions about the animals during your visit, just ask a member of staff.