Summer is coming

Into June and we have some Sun , hopefully it will last a while !
Everything is going well on the Smallholding and there has been lots happening.
Both our Pygmy and Guernsey billies have been busy with their stud duties and we have had good reports from owners who brought their nannies here, there have been lots of twins born this season which is good news.
There has been a bit of a change with our sheep , the Jacob ewes have been sold and we now have Black Welsh mountain sheep , they are smaller and don’t eat so much grass so are more suited to a smallholding , also they are better for training the sheepdogs.
We have had a lot of newborns recently , chicks , ducklings , turkeys , guinea fowl , golden pheasants , kittens and Guinea pigs , all are doing well , and it keeps us busy looking after them all
The animal boarding is going very well with lots of return visits from old customers , and we have also welcomed several new customers who need a good quality boarding facility for their rabbits , guinea pigs , parrots whilst they go away on holiday. Also proving popular is our chicken and duck boarding which we started recently.
The reindeer are growing their new antlers now and they look like they will be quite a bit bigger than last year. We have been re-booked at the local garden centre again , this time for all three weekends in December. We are taking bookings for weekdays throughout December and had our first inquiry from Cheltenham this week.
We also have Alpaca trekking and small holding tours booked over the next few weeks. If you know anyone who wants to do either activity if they have any spare time over a weekend or are down in The Forest on holiday then take a look at our contact details page and get in touch.
Meg and Skye are now being trained by Aaron to herd sheep, he is teaching them using the Black Welsh Mountain sheep and both are doing very well. Only having three legs doesn’t seem to have any effect on Skye and she runs around as normal and has a great time.
Aaron is also having a busy time at the moment with sheep and Alpaca shearing , he has a lot of bookings and has been as far as Pembrokeshire to shear some Alpacas. He will also be off to Reading , Northamptonshire , Malvern , and Mid Wales over the coming weeks. He has recently got his biggest contract so far at a local farm near St Briavels, where he has to shear 90 Badger faced sheep, so he is looking forward to that
Hope you all have a good Summer and look out for our next update in 3 -4 months time

Spring at Oakdean

Our first post since Christmas , and it has been a busy time.
Bilberry , the Golden Guernsey stud has been very busy with all the nannies visiting him and we are waiting for news from all the owners of any Guernsey kids. Our own Guernsey had a lovely nanny kid who will be going to her new home in a couple of weeks. All our Pygmy goats have kidded, and all the kids have found new homes
The Jacob ewes have started lambing and so far they have had three sets of twins, all are doing well.
Everyone enjoyed their Christmas turkeys last year, and we kept back a Stag and two hens , so for this year we will be breeding our own Turkeys, which we will again sell to friends and neighbours.
Both the Pomeranian and Toulouse Geese have started laying and hopefully we will get some goslings over the next couple of months.
The first lot of eggs have gone into the incubators this year , and we are hoping to hatch Pekins and Khaki Campbell ducks. We did have some Emu eggs in the incubator , but unfortunately they all turned out not to be fertile
One of the reindeer has lost his antlers, and we are waiting for the other one to lose his , then they will get castrated , so we will avoid another rutting season , which last year ended up in a lot of very big fights (Which seemed to entertain all the school children in the primary school). We had a successful couple of weekends in December at a local garden centre in Newent with the reindeer, and they have re-booked us for all three weekends in December 2015 to be part of their grotto again, which is great news.
Bookings have started to come in for our small animal boarding , and we so far have ducks and rabbits booked in for Easter.
Meg, the Kelpie has had her first sheep herding training session in February, which went really well and she is going to Worcester soon for her next session
Look out for more news in a couple of months time, which will hopefully include chicks and ducks that have hatched

Another year over at the Smallholding.

Hello everyone, and hopefully you all had a wonderful Christmas and now have a nice break until the New Year
Another year has flown by at the smallholding , and it has been very busy , with lots happening.
Firstly we start with some sad news to prove that owning and working with animals doesn’t always go to plan. Our two wallabies , who were both becoming very tame and had lovely characters have died. Sydney , the white male suddenly collapsed about three weeks ago , and the vet couldn’t save him. A quick check out by the vet afterwards and it was found he had a bad heart. Then about a week after this Alice , the brown female was attacked by something in the night and was found dead in the morning. We are not sure what it was that killed her, but we now cannot risk getting any more Wallabies in case this happens again.
Our other venture have proved somewhat more successful. This year we raised twelve Norfolk Black Turkeys, which all sold to family and locals in the village. Donna and Aaron did all the work preparing them for sale and they have gone down very well. Yesterday when we were out in the field feeding the animals , one of our neighbours shouted across the fence “Here Don , that Turkey was bl**dy beautiful”  (He has a habit of shortening everyone’s names , so Donna becomes Don and Aaron becomes Air). Anyway , it was some good customer feedback for us !!
Our two reindeer Lars and Mika (Who became Comet and Blitzen for December) , were hired out to a local garden centre for a couple of weekends before Christmas and proved a real hit. We spoke to a lot of interested parents and children who were fascinated and excited to get close to them. We didn’t do too much with them this year as we weren’t sure how they would behave, but they turned out to be fine, and the only part that was difficult was loading them into the trailer, but once we were on the move they settled down well. We are hoping to return to the garden centre in December 2015
All our goats have been getting on well , and our stud Golden Guernsey (Bilberry) , has been a busy boy with lots of nannies visiting him over the last few months. It got to the stage that every time he saw someone come down the path towards the field , he would get so excited that he would jump the gate out of his paddock ! The pygmy goats have also been doing well, and we have had two kids in November and December (One female and one male). More kids are due over the next month or so.
The small animal boarding is very popular and has been very busy this year especially during the school holidays. We currently have eleven guinea pigs and a rabbit boarding over Christmas !
If you don’t already know, we have a facebook page where you can also catch up on news , so please visit, and like our page to get updates when they happen ( )
Aarons dogs are doing well and will hopefully start their training during 2015. Skye (Border Collie), has got used to only having three legs and moves around without any problems , and can still help Aaron herd the Jacob sheep. Meg (Australian Kelpie), will hopefully be used as both a sheep and cattle dog when she is a little older
All at Oakdean wish everyone a happy new year , and we will be back in 2015 with more news from our smallholding….

Autumn update

After a lovely dry and warm Summer, Autumn has now arrived. Rodents Rest has been very popular this year and has been full of customers pets all Summer, with animals still being booked in now. We now also board poultry , and can take small numbers of Chickens and Ducks.
All nanny goats have been put back in the pens with the billies and we are hoping for some kids appearing in November. Nannies have started arriving to visit our stud billies and are coming from quite long distances.
Our Jacob ram has been put back in with his ewes and has been fitted with a raddle so we can monitor when lambs will be due.
The Reindeer are nearly fully grown. With their new set of antlers , they are looking very smart. They have started their first rut , locking antlers and pushing and shoving each other , so we need to be careful when we go in the field. They are now booked in at a local garden centre for their Christmas grotto for two weekends over December , so hopefully all will go well with that.
Turkeys are fattening up well for Christmas. They are very adventurous , which includes running straight through our greenhouse and smashing the panes of glass !!
New additions to our smallholding – A breeding pair of Wallabies. Sydney and Alice arrived on Tuesday and are settling in the stable for a week or so before we let them out into the field.
Aaron has a new puppy , a 7 week old Australian Kelpie called Meg. Skye , his Collie will start her training soon. Meg will also be trained when she is older for cattle herding.

Summer at Oakdean

Hello everyone , hopefully you have enjoyed a bit of summer this year , it has at least been drier and warmer for a few weeks in June and July.
Rodents rest has been in full operation now for a few months and is doing very , well, we have had lots of new customers , as well as existing customers from last year, all booking in their Guinea Pigs and rabbits for boarding whilst they go away on holiday, we have also had a Patagonian Conure to look after , and at the moment we have two Degu’s boarding with us for three months whilst their owners travel around Europe.
The Guinea Pig breeding has been going well and we have had a lot of babies , most of which have sold , but there are still some for sale,
All the baby Pygmy and Golden Guernsey goats have found new homes and the Jacob Ram lambs are fattening up well, all ready for the freezer ! The Pygmy and Guernsey Billys are now being booked out for stud duties this Autumn , and they are proving to be very popular,
Aaron has completed his Alpaca shearing course at a local farm , and has been helping out the owner , Jay with some shearing jobs. He also did a sheep shearing course at Humble by Nature (Kate Humbles farm near Monmouth). He has also now sheared our two Alpacas and five Jacob sheep. Both Aplaca fibres , and three of the Jacob fleeces have been sold to a local spinner, but we still have two fleeces left if anyone is interested.
During July and August we have started Alpaca walking , through the Forest . There are two walks that can be done , a 30 minute walk or a 1 hour walk, and when we return there is a chance to feed them. After this it is time for refreshments for everyone else. We have been out on a few walks so far which have all been very succesful
Aarons incubators have been running over the summer and we have had a lot of chicks , ducklings and Turkey poults. We are now taking orders for Christmas , so if you want a Turkey for your Christmas dinner let us know.
The reindeer are growing well, and their new antlers are looking very impressive. We have just taken the first booking for Christmas. They will be at a local garden centre for two weekends in December.


New life at Oakdean

Lots has been happening since our last post.
Rodents rest , our new animal boarding facility, which is now in full use,  has been very busy over the Easter with both old and new customers. All have been impressed with the new building. A new venture is poultry boarding and our first customer has been booked in for the end of May. We are waiting to take delivery of a new coop and run , which will be used to house up to six chickens or ducks.
We have also had lots of new arrivals , which include , three beautiful Jacob lambs. (Two ram lambs which will be reared for meat and one ewe lamb which will we will keep to add to our flock). We have also managed to get some additional grazing for the sheep at a local farm.
We have four gorgeous pygmy kids. (Twin boys and two girls). All four have been sold locally and will leave their mums at about 12 weeks old , which will be at the end of May or the beginning of June.
Our two Golden Guernsey nannies have had one boy and twin girls , which will all be for sale after weaning.
All incubators are running at full capacity and so far Aaron has hatched Pekins (Both in the incubator and under broody hens). Also in the incubators are white , and ring necked pheasants , guinea fowl, and ducks. Finally, one of our Pomeranian geese is sitting on four eggs.
Aaron has managed to find a part time job on a local goat farm , which has led to the offer of an apprenticeship which will start in September.

Is Spring here at last?

Hello everyone….Well, it looks like the worst of the Winter is finally behind us , and like many people we suffered with the vast amount of rainfall over the Winter (Thankfully it was only our land that was affected and not our house or buildings , unlike many people , especially those on the Somerset levels.)
In order to help our land next time we have very wet weather, we have had a lot of drainage work carried out , and as of this post it is still on-going. We have had drainage put into our barn to help stop the floor from flooding. We have also had further drainage pipes installed in a couple other areas of our fields to help any excess water drain away. The stream at the bottom of our fields is proving useful for the overflow pipes to drain this excess water into. We have also had some gravel pathways built around the outside of our garden , so wheelbarrows etc can now be moved around through the garden into the fields without having to go across our lawn , which resembled an Irish Peat bog at the height of the Winter storms.
Since our last post we have also had an old garden shed knocked down (It didn’t really need a lot of knocking down , as it was rotten and was on the verge of collapsing of its own accord) and replaced by a much larger shed with a proper concrete base. This new shed (Named as ‘Rodents Rest’ by Donna) will be used for our Animal boarding.
As for the animals, all is going well. Skye , Aarons Border Collie is coming on well and is constantly getting up to no good , she likes nothing more than pushing , throwing and generally messing about with a 3 litre plastic milk bottle , and spends ages on the patio playing with them. She already has the idea of herding and can often been seen practicing on the Runner Ducks , Mini Appleyards and anything else she think needs to be penned up !! The geese have started laying and Aaron is now starting to collect Goose , chicken and duck eggs for his incubators, so the hatching season will be well under way in a few weeks time.
It looks like our Golden Guernsey and Pygmy goats are in kid , and the first Pygmy goat is due to kid at the end of March, so look out for the next update, which should hopefully include news of some new arrivals.
Enjoy the drier weather , lets hope it lasts a while , and look out for our next post with updates of Oakdean Smallholding