All posts by Wooly Farm

As one chapter closes another opens

Wooly Farm

Wooly Ward’s Farm

We are so happy to announce that the legacy of Wooly Farm that was begun by Scary Mary will continue under the new ownership of Farmer Al.

Wooly Farm has grown from strength to strength since it was founded in 2011 and while we will be sad to see Scary Mary moving onto new pastures we are so excited for you all to meet Farmer Al and his team.

“I grew up on a farm and I’ve always had a deep love for animals. Even as a small child I was always dedicated to nursing sick animals back to health. Being a chatty, caring person, I was drawn to the Nursing field and after exploring several avenues, I finally found that Intellectual Disability Nursing, in the Respite setting, was the perfect fit for me.” said Farmer Al when asked about himself. He loves meeting new people, welcoming them, building therapeutic relationships, sourcing activities, entertaining everyone and seeing that they are enjoying themselves.

“My love of animals and farming has only grown with time, and in 2011, I set up my own little sheep farm which I adore. I love having visitors to the farm and teaching them about farming and seeing them enjoy working with animals and getting involved.” It was from this that the dream of opening a Fun Farm began. He continues “In 2017, my mother-in-law bought me two potbelly pigs as a birthday present & in 2018 my friend offered me an Alpaca, so my little menagerie grew!” As part of his research into Fun Farms he came across Wooly Farm and after visiting Scary Mary and her animals he knew the right thing to do was to buy her farm which was for sale.

“Setting up a Pet Farm has been a pipe-dream of mine for as long as I can remember, and is the ideal and logical way of merging my two passions. I am a firm believer that growing up on family farm is a wonderful start to give any child. I want to share with people the joy that animals can bring and the fun that can be had on a farm and give them a day they’ll remember for a long time!!!”

Acquiring the mobile side of Wooly Wards Farm is a stepping stone towards the larger plan of establishing a Fun Farm which will be based in Moneygall, Co Offaly. In today’s society with people immersed more and more in the cyber-world it’s more important than ever to get back to basics and make fun away from the phone and computer screens.

If you are interested in having Wooly Farm come to visit you for your birthday, communions, confirmations, weddings, Montessori, school, university or Corporate Fun days then please get in touch either by info@woolywardsfarm.com or by phone (087) 367 6787

 

The farm that brings the animals to you!

Wooly Farm

Wooly Ward’s Farm

Thank you to Aidan Coyle from Dublin Institute of Technology for sending us this lovely blog!

Wooly Ward’s is a mobile farm based in County Dublin. It is run by Mary Ward or “Scary Mary” as she likes to be known. She along with the rest of her team bring animals to different places so people of all ages can see them.

 

I asked her why she first set up the farm. She said: “ The idea came about 6 years ago during the recession. We brought 2 lambs to a Montessori school in Skerries during the Spring for the children to feed them.”

 

Mary said: “The 2 lambs caused a stir in Skerries with so many people coming to see them that I thought we were onto something. So, in June 2011 we set up our first Mobile Farm.”

 

Mary brings the animals around which she calls the Tardis. She said “All the animals have individual pens in the van and because they know the routine so well, they all hop into the van of their own accord.

 

She said: “When we are returning home they instinctively sense when we reach the end of the road and start a chorus of bleats and chirps as their excitement grows – they are so clever!”

 

Mary has been bringing the animals around for six years and she is much better at it now than she was when she started. “It took us about 6 hours to load the animals the first day. Now it takes us an hour!”

 

Mary thinks that the Wooly Ward’s can benefit people of all ages. She said: “We visit Montessori’s all the way up to Nursing Homes and everything in between. Petting animals is great therapy for everyone and the irony is that animals love to be caressed as well. All our animals are hand reared so they have no fear of humans. Of course, from an educational point of view, it is great for children to get up close to pigs and sheep etc.”

Check out the animals on RTE Today!

Wooly Farm

Wooly Ward’s Farm

The animals had a great time at Newpark Nursing Home and a special visit from RTE Today.

We have been engaging with nursing homes over the past six years. and the farm regularly visits residents with a wide range of animals. Among those who visit nursing homes are small furries, poultry, and larger farm animals such as pigs, sheep, goats, and llamas.

How does it work?

Wooly Farm sets up in the nursing home residents’ day room to facilitate the petting as well as grooming of the smaller animals. The bigger animals are brought in at the end of the event to meet everyone.

Many nursing home residents are from farming backgrounds and visits from the animals facilitates reminiscing about their time spent on their family farms. Other residents simply entertain a huge love of animals, and have many stories to regale everyone with. For residents with Alzheimer’s, the animals bring joyful reactions, with sensory contact evoking a positive reaction. Residents find it very therapeutic and enjoyable to pet and hold the bunnies and chicks. Additionally, nursing homes are very proactive in engaging with Wooly Farm, and specialise in facilitating the experience the visit of the farm can bring to residents.

A recent visit to New Park Nursing Home, The Ward, proved to be a great success. Christine, the activities coordinator, quoted in her Facebook message

“Lovely staff and adorable animals. This year we got to meet 3 week old chicks, 10 day old lambs, and month old bunnies. Needless to say everyone had a ball petting, cuddling, and learning about these lovely animals.”

One of the many advantages of having the mobile visit in Nursing Homes is that it can generate excitement amongst the youth and elderly alike. Nursing homes invite residents relatives for the Farm’s visit. Grandchildren and grandparents enjoy wonderful interaction with each other and the animals, and create special memories. The pet therapy is effective as it brings people of all ages together, and memories of the visits are fun and ever-lasting.

We Love Our Animals – Scary Mary’s Blog

Wooly Farm

Wooly Ward’s Farm

The most common question we get asked when we bring our animals out to Mobile Events is “How can your animals be so quiet? Why are they so calm? Are they not stressed meeting so many people and being handled so much?
When we answer that the reason is they are all hand reared and handled from birth, sometimes our visitors look at us in disbelief.

But this is truly the case. We are very lucky to have a highly trained Animal Care Team on the farm. Our Animal Care Manager is a Zoologist and I myself having specialised in Animal Husbandry in college some 30 years ago and with the added experience since then, have a deep understanding of animal behaviour. Many European Agricultural colleges and our own vet college in UCD send their students to the farm for placement because of the high standard we adhere to. When our animals are born our staff immediately start the handling process. Because their mothers have been hand reared themselves there is a deep trust between the handlers and the mothers so they are happy to allow their young to be handled and petted. No more than we humans love massages animals love gentle caressing. Small furries learn to sit on knees, poultry to perch on arms and gates, lambs, goats and pigs to be led and all of this is done in a very safe, non-threatening environment. Hours and hours are spent engaging and playing with the animals. One of our animal care managers Amelia spends hours in the evening just sitting with different animals and studying their different character traits. When our animals are going to an event, they jump into their carrier boxes or cages without issue. When an event is over they immediately sense that we are packing up to leave, some animals especially the llamas start to get excited and dance about their pens. A few kilometres from the farm the goats start to bleet and hens start to cluck as their amazing senses kick in and they know they are near home! A couple of months ago two zoologists from the UK commissioned by Wildlife Services carried out an inspection of the Wooly animals and the farm. Their final comments in the report was “Wooly Ward’s Farm is an exceptionally well operated and commendable Mobile Petting Farm. The standards are exceptionally high especially when considering public safety and animal welfare and Wooly Ward’s Farm can act as an example to other collections, highlighting what can be achieved with the correct mindset. It was an absolute pleasure to meet the team and visit their site and we wish them well” As it happens only last week another impromptu inspection took place, this time from the Department of Agriculture. The inspector was again very pleased with our animal welfare practices and hygiene. Personally, albeit a bit stressful on our team when random inspections occur, I welcome experts coming to the farm as with every visit we learn something new from them and can improve our already high standards even more. Our learning is never over and this month two of our animal care team will commence further animal care and behaviour studies. So, the next time you meet us and our Mobile Farm, bear in mind that we care very deeply for our animals and they all have names and personalities. Remember that we are a highly trained team of animal handlers who do know what we are doing, and we do have inspections on the farm from outside bodies who ensure that we are doing a very good job. The highlights over the past few weeks on Wooly Farm was that Ali and Roo, our two Llama’s celebrated their first birthday and Ash our Collie dog will be 6 years old next week. We are eagerly awaiting new Guinea Pig babies as poor mum is heavily pregnant. On a sadder note, we had to say farewell to our much loved cat – Shercan who reached the ripe old age of 14 yrs. He will always be remembered as an adorable asset to the Wooly family. Life goes on and new births will bring lots of special animals to Wooly Farm in the future.

Nursing Home Week at Wooly Ward’s Farm

Wooly Farm

Wooly Ward’s Farm

‘Wooly Farm brings joy to local nursing home residents’

The Wooly Mobile Farm has been engaging with nursing homes over the past six years. The farm visits residents with a wide range of animals. Among those who regularly visit nursing homes are small furries, poultry, and larger farm animals such as pigs, sheep, goats, and llamas.

How does it work?

Wooly Farm sets up in the nursing home residents’ day room to facilitate the petting as well as grooming of the smaller animals. The bigger animals are brought in at the end of the event to meet everyone.

Many nursing home residents are from farming backgrounds and visits from the animals facilitates reminiscing about their time spent on their family farms. Other residents simply entertain a huge love of animals, and have many stories to regale everyone with. For residents with Alzheimer’s, the animals bring joyful reactions, with sensory contact evoking a positive reaction. Residents find it very therapeutic and enjoyable to pet and hold the bunnies and chicks. Additionally, nursing homes are very proactive in engaging with Wooly Farm, and specialise in facilitating the experience the visit of the farm can bring to residents.

A recent visit to New Park Nursing Home, The Ward, proved to be a great success. Christine, the activities coordinator, quoted in her Facebook message

“Lovely staff and adorable animals. This year we got to meet 3 week old chicks, 10 day old lambs, and month old bunnies. Needless to say everyone had a ball petting, cuddling, and learning about these lovely animals.”

One of the many advantages of having the mobile visit in Nursing Homes is that it can generate excitement amongst the youth and elderly alike. Nursing homes invite residents relatives for the Farm’s visit. Grandchildren and grandparents enjoy wonderful interaction with each other and the animals, and create special memories. The pet therapy is effective as it brings people of all ages together, and memories of the visits are fun and ever-lasting.

Animal Fostering Initiative

A new initiative has been set up between Riverside Nursing Home, St. Margaret’s, and Wooly Farm. Riverside is home to 50 residents and they had a small unused paddock on their grounds. Wooly Farm set them up with sheep and lambs to graze and a coop with hens. Wooly Wards endeavour to bring a sense of rural life to the doorstep of nursing homes and their residents, reinforcing the strong sense of Riverside being their home. The residents will also be taking care of the hens, and undertake regular checks for eggs as part of Riverside’s wellbeing programme.

Nursing Homes Week 2017

To coincide with Nursing Homes Week 2017, Wooly Farm will be visiting lots of nursing homes in Dublin and the north-east. The farm will be bringing a menagerie to visit nursing homes, and residents can expect; rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, chicks, hens, ducks, lambs, goats & pigs among the offerings.

Darling buds of May

Wooly Farm

Wooly Ward’s Farm

Hello all!

Scary Mary here…

Summer has officially arrived and we’ve all been busy bees here at Wooly Farm. J

The month of May is full of frolic and fun, it is a great month for communion visits. I love to see the girls and boys in all their finery.

There is so much to look forward to in these (hopefully) sunny months ahead. The farm is bustling as usual, and bursting with new life! We are delighted to announce that we have so many new and amazing animals to share with you.

It’s chick season at Wooly Farm and we have more chicks than we can count! Lots of mother hens are still sitting on their clutches as well and we can’t wait for them to hatch J Speaking of chicks; I have to mention the little ones that have hatched from the two incubators we installed in Hedley Park in Merrion Square and Playhouse Montessori in Skerries.  A huge thanks to all the children that have helped mind our little chicks!

We are so proud to announce the addition of five unbelievably adorable pet lambs, including my favourite Ruby; who is keeping our staff extra busy with feeding 4 times a day! We also have the happy addition of piglets Kevin and Peppa; who at just 5 weeks old have started to attend events and they’re taking to it like ducks to water! They were at the Carlton Hotel at the weekend, and will be there again on Saturday for all the communion boys and girls to see!

Our 16 week old Pygmy goats have become very friendly, thanks to their daily walks with the Animal Care team. They make quite a cute sight with their red collars and leads on!

I am also delighted to announce that we had our biannual Vet Inspection and passed with flying colours. This inspection is an extremely important occasion on the farm as all our animals need to be in top health in order to visit you guys! Thanks to O’Scannail Vets for checking our animals, and also to our Animal Care team who, as always, take such amazing care to ensure our team are in ship shape!

That’s all for now my lovelies, talk soon!

Lots of love,

Scary Mary.

March Madness!

Hello All!

Scary Mary here…

We have been so busy on the Wooly Farm especially now that winter is over. I am so excited that spring has finally arrived! It’s definitely one of my favourite times of the year as there is so much happening and even more to look forward to.

The double-headed snowdrops have started to appear and this is always a sign that new life is soon to come. These gorgeous flowers have been growing on the farm for over 350 years in the same spot!

Many of the animals have smelt spring in the air too, and have been busy having their babies. The Geese have been laying their eggs, and we are delighted that our black Zwartble 2 year old sheep – Spot has just had two lovely new born lambs. Lambs are so resilient; they just get up, feed from their mother and go! New chicks have arrived as well, so it’s been an absolute feast of cuteness around here.

Now that it is new-born season at the farm, bookings for mobile birthday parties are filling up fast, so don’t forget to organise a special Wooly Wards experience for your party with our mobile farm!

In other news we are all busy preparing for our big Easter event, and have started laying down some lines and rhymes for our Easter show in the animal theatre.  Come to the Easter Extravaganza at the Wooly Farm and you will get to see all the newborn cuties and enjoy a fabulous show from our amazing staff.

That’s all for now folks, talk soon!

Love Scary Mary.

Looking for a new part-time position?

Wooly Ward’s Farm is a Mobile and Activity Farm. The Mobile Farm visits Montessori’s, Schools, Nursing Homes, Universities, Birthday Parties, and Family Fun Days all year round.

The Activity Farm is open for three themed events each year including the Easter Extravaganza in April, Teddy Bear’s Picnic in July and Halloween Experience in October.
We are currently looking to hire new staff to join our Event Team for the Spring/Summer/Autumn season. Wooly Ward’s Farm is located on the Swords/Ashbourne Road.
Applicants should enjoy working with children and animals. They should also be confident, enthusiastic, outgoing individuals with an ambition to learn new skills.
Main Roles and Responsibilities:
  • Facilitator of birthday parties.
  • Team leader for events.
  • Customer Service
The successful candidate will:
  • Be able to work well in a team
  • Be flexible; reliable; creative; innovative; standards driven
  • Be fluent in English
  • Have leadership skills.
  • Be a highly motivated individual.
  • Be available both mid-week and weekends during peak season.
  • Preferably have previous customer service experience
Please email CV to info@woolywardsfarm.com by Friday the 17th of February.

Scary Mary’s Blog

Hello all!

I and everyone here at Wooly Ward’s Farm want to say a huge thank you to all our friends and visitors. 2016 was a momentous year as we had 20,000 visitors to our farm and 30,000 visitors to our Mobile Farm.

As we have so many families wishing to visit the farm, we now find ourselves in the position where we need to upgrade many facilities to give customers a better experience and to accommodate an even larger number. I’m afraid our little 300 year old farm wasn’t expecting such numbers!

For this reason, 2017 will be our year of reviewing and planning so we will not be hosting birthday parties or school tours here at the farm. I know this will disappoint many but hopefully we will see you again in 2018 for your party or school tour. I won’t know what to do with my weekends but my seven children are all very excited at the thought of spending more family time together.

However, we will be running the ever popular big events at the farm – Easter in April, the annual Teddy Bears Picnic in July, and our Halloween Extravaganza in October! We will update you with dates next month.

Of course we are still running our fabulous Mobile Farm! Our adorable animals are so excited to leave Wooly Ward’s Farm, and visit you for a change, at home or at work! Bookings are now fully open for hiring the Mobile Farm which is geared up and ready to go for any special occasion.

Wooly Ward’s Farm can’t wait to see all the Momma bears, Poppa bears and kiddie bears, and neither can all our cute critters!

See u all soon, love Scary Mary