Category Archives: Wooly Ward’s Farm

Goodbye and Farewell!

Goodbye and Farewell!                11/09/2018                                                        

Wooly Farm has grown from strength to strength over the years.

It only seems like yesterday when we set up and organised 54 events in our first year! And that was over seven years ago. The very first event we went to was a birthday party in Stamullen and I remember well how we couldn’t lift the pig into the van after the party because he was too heavy. We had to ring home and wait for reinforcements!

We have come a long way since that day in Stamullen and have just completed 570 events in the first nine months of 2018.

But as the business grows each year so does the amount of work and planning that goes into each event to ensure that all our customers get a top-class service. Of course, a farm never closes as our diva animals have us on call 24/4 365 days a year.

Our team has strived year in year out to be the best in class in our industry by implementing new procedures that ensure our animals have the highest care and attention, our vans and horseboxes are spotlessly clean, and our staff are highly trained in animal handling, first aid and child protection as well as customer service.

As I look out my office window, I see a lovely little farm that has been rejuvenated by all the visitors who have come here for events and school tours. Little did my fore fathers 300 years ago know that Scary Mary, theatre shows, Thomas the tank engine and pumpkin decorating would be a regular occurrence at Ward’s Farm. It is funny to think; how many enterprises have happened on this farm since 1720.

As we all know, nothing stands still in life. Things are forever changing around us. Our children are born, our parents and other family members die, we change careers, houses and cars. This has all happened to us too. Cathal and I have reared seven children who are all growing up and going their separate ways. We also cared for my parents on the farm with us until they both passed away – Dad only last month.

We now feel it is time to take our foot off the peddle so to speak and have more quality time with the family. We look forward to holidays and to finally go to events as spectators and not promoters. It is an ongoing joke that the kids check the roster before they visit to see if we are at home!

So, we plan to retire from Wooly Farm and put the mobile farm on the market for sale hoping that someone vibrant, enthusiastic and hardworking will take it over and bring it to new heights. We will close the farm for events and sadly the Halloween Experience will not be taking place this year.  Our plan is to finish up at the end of September and hopefully the mobile farm will be up and running in the New Year under new management.

Finally, I must thank you, our loyal customers from the bottom of my heart for supporting us and our visits over the past seven and a half years. This job has so many positives but one of the most rewarding elements is to receive the numerous messages and endorsements each week thanking us for bringing our animals and lots of fun to your events.

We never know what the future holds but hopefully the memories of Wooly Farm and Scary Mary will remain in your and your children’s hearts and minds for ever more!!

With much appreciation

Scary Mary

Book your tickets for the Teddy Bear’s Picnic Now!

Don’t miss our annual Teddy Bear’s Picnic on Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th Of July from 2-5pm at Wooly Farm.

A fun filled day for all of the family with activities including Teddy Bear’s Picnic with Goldilocks, Teddy Hospital, Magic Show, Animal Petting, Thomas the Tank Engine,  Bouncy Castles and much more!!

Tickets on sale now – Book early to avoid disappointment!

Easter Eggstravaganza Tickets On Sale Now!!

Wooly Ward’s Farm is delighted to announce the return of the Easter Eggstravaganza on  Friday 30th March, Saturday 31st March and Sunday 1st of April!

Special Activities Include:

  • Easter Egg Hunt
  • Live Lambing
  • Animal Maternity Ward
  • Easter Show

Not forgetting:

  • Bouncy Castles
  • Animal Petting
  • Thomas the Tank Engine
  • Scary Mary which will all be there as usual!

Tickets on sale now – book early to avoid disappointment!

The farm that brings the animals to you!

Wooly Wards

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 Wards

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 Wards

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 Wards

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 Wards

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.