THERE’S a baby boom down on the farm!
Cute newborn animals – including rare pigs, pygmy goats, lambs, a llama and even a Shetland pony – have all been born within days of one another at Cannon Hall Farm, at Cawthorne near Barnsley.
Robert Nicholson, the farm’s director, said the new arrivals are all ‘doing great’ and being well looked after by their mums.
And he said that more babies are on their way over the coming weeks.
The three rare pigs are called mangalitzas, a dark-skinned breed which grows a long, curly coat.
Robert said: “They’re from Hungaria, with a fleece a little bit like a sheep.
“They’re really unusual – there won’t be many in England.”
He said the pigs are proving to be inquisitive infants – and that staff have christened them with names fit for royalty.
“We’ve called them Will, Kate and Pippa, after the Royal Wedding,” Robert revealed... adding their 18-month-old mum is called Elizabeth.
“They’ve just found a way of escaping though! They’ve found some bars that they can squeeze through, but when challenged they go back into the pen again,” he said.
“They’re doing brilliantly. We’ve been keeping mangalitzas for around 12 months and these are the first we’ve managed to breed.”
The newborn llama was Cannon Hall’s second this spring, and the farm is running a competition for visitors to choose its name, while the Shetland pony has been called Butterscotch.
The lambs are also an unusual breed, called soay – hardy creatures that come from the remote St Kilda islands off the Scottish coast.
They continue to survive on the islands despite the last permanent inhabitants having left the area in 1930.
Robert said: “The animals are doing great, and they all seem to have personalities.
“We find the fact that we’re open to the public seems to make them more immediately friendly towards people, and it brings out their character.
“We’ve got everything you can think of, including lots of cows and sheep. We have 400 ewes which all lamb during the spring and we’ve got a lot of sheep shearing work going on at the moment.
“We try to time the other animals, and we’ve got more goats and a donkey to follow.”
Recent visitor numbers have been up at the farm, which has been open for more than 20 years.
Robert said: “We had a fantastic Easter, well up on last year.
“We’re really pleased, especially given the economic situation.”
The farm is open from Monday to Saturday, 10.30am to 4.30pm, and from 10.30am to 5pm on Sundays and during school holidays.