Bedford activity farm appeals for support to help care for the animals
Help save Herrings Green Farm
Herrings Green Activity Farm and Bird of Prey Centre in Wilstead is appealing for urgent donations to feed the animals and keep the centre running during the coronavirus pandemic.
The owners of the activity farm are appealing for the public's help to keep the centre running, this is usually a busy time for the centre - which relies on visitor admission and pre-bookable experiences to keep the centre running - but the farm has been closed since the start of lockdown.
The farm is home to over 200 birds and animals from around the world and offers fun, family friendly days out where visitors can learn to handle and fly birds of prey, meet farm animals and have a go at a variety of activities.
The family run centre stretches back more than 40 years. Philip Gooden, a farmer’s son grew fond of magical birds of prey as a boy, learning the ropes from a neighbouring farmer - years later he would become a respected Falconer (and Fireman) running a successful business quite literally out of his back garden putting on flying displays up and down the country.
Now, daughter Emma runs the business alongside a small, dedicated team of Falconers and farm staff.
She said: "Since it's unclear when we can re-open we are facing an increasingly uncertain future.
"It is becoming quite difficult and we have no idea when we will be able to open, we set up a just giving page and raised £6,000 but we still need the public's help.
"We rent our site, we don’t own it. It costs between £800-£1,000 a day to feed and care for our animals. As the birds and animals continue to breed, we’ll have more to house and feed - we’re facing an uphill struggle.
"We’re in the midst of a baby boom - we’ve welcomed twin goats, great horned owls Marvel and Maska, tawny owl Lil Spud and with other birds on eggs there’ll be more hatching soon.
"We pride ourselves on being a hub for locals and attract visitors from far and wide. We take an active role in sharing our knowledge and educating through school visits to us and them, outreach visits to clubs and care homes and monthly Young Falconer’s and Junior Animal Keeper Clubs.
"We also run inclusive sessions for Home Educated Children, Parent & Toddler sessions and Senior Sessions.
"You’ll find Harris Hawks, majestic Great Grey, Tawny, and Barn owls, grand American Bald Eagles and unique characters like affable African spoonbill Spoony, Dalmore our striking golden eagle and the more unusual giants of the skies like Levi our silvery blue hued Blue Chilean Eagle.
"Our friendly Falconer’s run an exciting array of experiences, visitors can come face to face with owls and eagles and everything in between - you’ll be enchanted watching our feathered friends soar and swoop in the sky.
"On the farm side meet fluffy guinea pigs and giant rabbits, gorgeous goat Mr Grey, gentle giant shire horse Ned, highland cattle and an array of critters big and small.
"Some of our most popular experiences include fun walks with our zany goats or curious Alpacas in the local countryside."We want to continue to entertain and engage the public, but we need their help. Help save Herrings Green Farm and donate to our JustGiving campaign, all proceeds go to keep the animals fed and housed.
"We rely on gate income and with that not coming in, we are struggling, it is now getting quite scary and we need the public's support to feed the animals and keep the centre running."
An Amazon Wishlist has also been set up, where people can buy gifts including food and other essentials.