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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Bloo's Review | Streamvale Open Farm

"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."
Immanuel Kant

Howdy readers! I know Bloo's Reviews are usually a Thursday or Friday post but I've been looking forward to writing and posting this since last Thursday but I've been rather busy. While this is a review it's also about what I got up to on my visit to Streamvale Open Farm as I figured it deserved a post of it's own rather than lumping it in with My Week In Words. 

Streamvale is a family run, open farm in Dundonald, Northern Ireland. I'd visited a number of times as a child but hadn't been in many years. I was looking forward to seeing how it had changed over the years and what was the same. The last time I was there I could walk, yes it was THAT long ago, and so I made sure to inquire as to how wheelchair accessible they were. I tweeted them pretty late at night and they replied faster than I thought they would! They assured me that most of the farm was indeed electric wheelchair friendly apart from the viewing gallery were the milk the cows and that I might have some trouble around the nature trail. That sounded fair enough to me. I wasn't too bothered about seeing cows being milked anyway as all I'm really interested in is petting them!

Photo taken by Eva

I visited with Eva, my aunt Karen and my aunt Eileen, who is visiting from Australia. It cost £24 for the four of us. We were given a couple of maps around the farm and the girl showed us where we were on the map and explained the different things on and at what time etc. She also told us there was a frog hunt and if we spotted the frogs around the farm and marked where we seen them on the map that at the end we'd get a treat! Being the big kid I am I loved this challenge. I took it very seriously.


Then it was time to set off and see what animals there was to see, and more importantly, get a cuddle or pet off! First we stopped by the chick and duckling room where we were greeted by one of the farm staff that offered us to hold a chick. No way was I passing that up!



I fell in love with my little chicky! My magical touch sent it off to sleep. I could have sat petting it's soft baby feathers all day. I nicknamed it Speckle. The member of staff chatted away to us and told us a little about the chicks and ducklings. One of the ducklings had been born just the night before! 


When some other young girls came into the chick and duckling room we decided we should probably give someone else a go. The next room we hit was the puppy room! The had a room with a litter of six week old Labrador puppies to hold and pet! They were so golden, sleepy and sweet. It's hard to believe Baby was ever that teeny.




Next was the mouse house. They basically have a big tank of mice. I remember this from back in the day but it had changed quite a bit and there was also less mice than I remember. Mice are one of my favourite animals. They're so teeny and adorable!


Next we hit the big barn where there are horses, calves, rabbits, guinea pigs and goats etc. I think the goats were my favourite of the bigger animals in the barn as they interacted with me more. We all know how much I love getting to pet things! Especially the bigger animals. I'm a little bummed out I didn't get a photo of the goats!




They had a great big indoor run for the rabbits and then at the other end of the barn they had little pens of baby bunnies that you could hold and pet. I have to say it was so well organised and there was plenty of staff on hand. I've been to other farms where you have to look for staff to ask to be able to hold chicks and bunnies etc. If you can't find someone then you miss out or if you're like me you might just be too shy to ask. Especially since I'm an adult! But at each point where holding an animal was available there was already a member of staff there.




I loved my little bunny. It was so sweet, soft and relaxed. Either I have a calming effect or I just got lucky as both Eva's chick and bunny were a little more feisty. She even had to swap her chick for another as she was worried it was going to jump out of the basket! Much like with the chick and the puppy I wish I could have taken this little cutie home! After the bunny holding we headed to the cafe for something to eat. It was a busy day so there wasn't much room in the cafe for my wheelchair. So we ended up sitting outside. Luckily it was a lovely day. We all got lovely hot dogs and tray bakes to share. I also got a latte. The food was super affordable and yummy! I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is where my time line of events gets a little blurred so I'm not actually sure what order we did things but this is what else we got up to.

We were late to the dog agility and caught the tail end of the trained dog's set. I can't remember his name. As he was finishing off there was a younger collie dog, Chase, running up and down outside the little agility field. It was very funny. Next in was his turn and the girl warned us he was still in training and they were having a bit of trouble with it. He then proceeded to take a long drink of water and when it was finally his turn to have a go he'd totally burnt himself out. It was one of the most comical things I'd ever seen. He had been so busting to go but ended up sauntering around, jumping over a jump and then walking around the other. He even threw up a bunch of water, much like my own dog does when she drinks to fast. It was quite the disaster.



As fun as it would have been to watch a good agility set I almost preferred Chase's as he was just so comical. My description of it doesn't even do it justice. We then went to check out the other animals but apparently I only got photos of pigs. So I hope you enjoy those!





I loved the pig whose snout there is a photo of. His enclosure was somewhere during the nature trail, which I DID manage in the end. It probably wouldn't be okay for a manual wheelchair and perhaps not every electric wheelchair, but I made it okay. There was a couple of parts I didn't do such as up by the deer and round near the badger sets. It was also a bit of a squeeze getting out at the end but my amazing driving skills got me through. Anyway! His enclosure was where during the nature trail and I ended up waiting beside it while Eva and my aunt Karen went down a path I couldn't to check for frogs to add to our map. He was snorting around eating grass and I made a generic animal calling sound and he came over. He seemed so friendly and smart. Or she. Beside his pen there was goats and they came up to say hi too. One even had a nibble on my chair and cardigan! I wish I'd gotten a photo of them.

We also lined up with mostly kiddies to feed milk to some kids and lambs. I felt like I was a kid again as it had been years since I'd done that! You didn't actually hold the bottle yourself but just held the end. I was kind of glad because those cuties were mighty strong! I didn't want to end up on the floor.



There was an outside grassy run for rabbits and some outside pens with guinea pigs in. I noticed that one of the guinea pigs had sound skin issues. It's skin seemed dry and there was a number of small wounds I suspected were from scratching and biting at itself. Being socially inept I didn't feel able to approach a member of staff just then but I emailed them when I got home. Seeing as there were so many members of staff and all the animals looked well cared for etc, I knew it was likely that they were already aware of the issues. They replied the next day or so, thanking me for my email. They said they'd enquired with those that care for the guinea pigs and assured me they were already aware of the issue and it was being taken care of. Much like I had suspected. My concerns were addressed very professionally and in a friendly manner. I made sure that they understood it wasn't a complaint and in no way would stop me from going back. And how they handled it only underlined that fact. 

We had been there a good few hours before it was time to leave. Admittedly I could have stayed there longer and visited all the animals again but my aunts aren't as animal crazy as Eva and I. I hope to visit again soon and be able to spend even more time.  Before we hit the road we stopped at the cafe again to have some of their free range ice cream. I got mint choc chip and it was so good.


Lastly, I picked up a couple of keepsakes in the gift shop to remind me of my fun day. I got a card to pin to my pin board and a little froggy keyring. I thought the front was fitting since I had enjoyed the frog hunt so much! 



All in all it was a wonderful day and a great experience. I would definitely recommend visiting if you live in Northern Ireland or even if you're just visiting. They also have different events on throughout the year depending on the season. I can't wait to visit again myself and cuddle and pet more cutie chickies, bunnies and whatever else I can get my hands on!

6 comments:

  1. Right - well, I'm just going to have to go here. I'm going to bring my cousin as an excuse too. I hope the opening times are good!

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    1. You totally should! Haha. No excuses needed. I think it's open to 6pm right now. Perhaps earlier in the winter months though. :) xo

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  2. Oh my goodness, this actually sounds like my idea of heaven! I wish there was somewhere like this near me - I think I'd have to go round and round and round for extra shots holding all of the animals, haha! I love that you emailed about the guinea pig's skin condition - that's such a sweet, thoughtful thing to do, and it's great that the farm were on top of the issue and obviously taking great care of all of the animals.

    x

    p.s. I have to say, I love the pig asleep in the Wendy house, that made me laugh out loud!

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    1. It was an awesome day. Can't believe I missed out on going for so long. Definitely going to make up for it with the season ticket they sent me. Hoping to convince my dad to take me in the next few weeks again. Haha. But yeah, I would have gone around all the animals again had it not been for the fact I think my aunts were about ready to leave. Lol. They handled the email really professionally and I'm glad they were on top of it. I'd have hated to have a reason not to return! :D

      I thought the big in the Wendy house was so funny too! How it got in I have no idea. Lol. It's the same big in the last of those photos. The big black and white one. I think it's called Peppa or something. :D xo

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  3. This looks like the coolest place. The white and black pig looks wild. Never see one with a fur pattern like that. The one in the big doll house is funny too. I can't believe how clean the animals are.

    I remember once when I was a little guy my parents took me to a place that had reindeers. There was this little one standin' around by himself and they were there so you could pet 'em and everything. So here I go to pet the thing and all of a sudden it starts running toward me. The thing chased me half way around the park before it finally decided it had better things to do.

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    1. It was a lot of fun. I can't wait to go back. But yeah, the pigs were some of my favourite. I wish I could have pet one though. I couldn't reach.

      Oh wow! I'm sure that was scary. Those things are pretty big too. They have a couple at another farm I've visited a lot but they're in a pen thankfully.

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