Checking up on our latest bantam chicks with Chris

I think it's fair to say that it's been one of the busiest weeks we've had at the farm in a little while. Between the extra cleaning out with animals inside, the extra food rounds needed at this time of year and preparing for our Christmas panto, we've had preparations to keep our birds safe.

Unfortunately bird flu (or avian flu) is now spreading across the UK and this disease can be deadly. To help reduce the spread all bird keepers must now keep their birds or poultry within their housing from Monday and we have to await guidance as to when this changes, though we suspect it'll be in place until the next bird migration in Spring. We really do feel for bird or poultry keepers with these guidelines coming into place as for many it's going to be a challenge.

The lockdown for birds and poultry will be a challenge for ourselves as well, but we're thankful to have had some fantastic volunteers in to help our with preparations this week. We've moved hay and straw inside the barn to reduce the risk of our birds getting through open doors. We've been putting up extra netting to keep the barn secure from wild birds entering and to extend the day to day living areas. All while creating a new feature for our mornings.

Yes, unfortunately as we can't let our birds out, or risk them following other animals out, we had our last rush hour on Saturday morning. Despite really wanting to be there I've sadly not made it to a rush hour in person, so I was extra sad I couldn't join Chris yesterday. He had the fantastic company of Caroline though, lots of amazing decorations and our animals made it a great rush hour too.

We know you'll miss the rush hour just as much as us, it's how a lot of you came to find us, but all good things must come to an end. Well, for now anyway. I'm sure they'll be some rush hours to come, especially as we have a few specials ready for you. Though for now we're moving on and the first feature we'll be bringing is the gate escape. I won't describe it, it's so much better to watch so keep a lookout.


Casey sort of helping Grampy in the feed cabin.

We brought you the first instalment of the gate escape on Friday night live with our volunteers, we hope you enjoyed it. We really enjoy using our special weekly show to share some exclusive content with you, though it's almost over for this year. I can't believe that next Friday will be our last of the year already and I've only just started joining around Casey's bedtime. I'm sure it'll be an extra special show though, I hope you can join us at 7pm (GMT) on Facebook or YouTube.

Our live feeds are also a great way for us to connect with everyone watching, though this week we had a very rare treat. We had some VIP visitors. Thank you to Connor for visiting with Amber to celebrate her Birthday, you were some fun visitors to finish the year with. We won't be opening for any more VIP visitors this year while we focus on essential work, but we really hope we'll be able to open again before too long.

Of course between all of the feeding, cleaning and videos there's our animals at the heart of it all and this week we have some new additions. A big welcome to ducks Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. We wouldn't normally take in any birds so close to a bird lockdown, though these four had nowhere else to go, so the local community who had temporarily taken them in set about finding them a new home. They'll stay in quarantine with us for a little while, just to keep them and our birds safe, though hopefully they'll settle in well.

Elsewhere, Devon, Dorset and Lowen are back out in the fields while we work on the barn. They are all happy outside though getting extra feed from Caroline and Devon doesn't remember getting stuck on her back at all. It's really important to help sheep who are on their back as unfortunately they can't get back up by themselves and it will kill them due to a gas build up in their bodies. Well done to Caroline for the rescue. Oreo is still doing amazing at his training with Chris, while Violet is making use of any shoulder she can get comfortable on.

Before I sign off I just want to finish with a thank you to Dave and Michelle. They came to the farm initially as followers and recently offered their volunteering services and even joined us live on Friday night this week. A big thank you to them for everything they do.

Until next time, keep safe,

Kara, Casey and Teddy