It’s a comment we hear from visitors almost every day of the week. And, of course, it IS a lovely place to work. The days are often long, but the work is varied and rewarding. And the animals make it all worthwhile.
Most staff begin their day at 8am. Residents take priority, of course, and boy do they holler for their breakfast! They are all fed and watered and staff will carry out health checks before starting the never ending job of cleaning out the pens.
Some animals might be moving house on any given day, so it will be all hands on deck to steer them in the right direction. A team of staff will get busy in the animal barn while others will jump in the jeep to take food all the way down to our Highland cattle and donkeys. The pigs wait impatiently, the hens make their feelings known loudly and the aviary is a frenzy of excitement. But by 9am things are beginning to settle again and everyone is chomping happily.
Attention turns to our two legged friends now. The park opens at 10am so the kiosk must be set up and the shop stocked and tidy. The morning cleaning routine is a big job with barns to sweep, large carpeted areas to hoover and the entire Park to be checked for litter. It really does need a team of people and the cleaning will continue throughout the day. We rely heavily on the help of the public and we really do appreciate tidy visitors!
Meanwhile, safety checks take place in all public areas, jeeps are pulled out and the Speedway set up, the Park perimeter is checked for any maintenance issues and the tractors and trailers are safety checked and driven round to their pick up point ready for the day.
While all this is going on, the Education team will be busy chopping and prepping food and setting up activities for the coachloads of school parties who arrive at 10am. Several staff work in different areas; the Farm Park, the Education team or the offices and they enjoy having a varied week.
When the Farm Park gates open it really is all hands on deck for the rest of the day, with all staff covering a multitude of jobs. They might be bottle feeding the calves, showing off the Small Animals, running the Barrel Ride, handling the Ducklings and Chicks, doing the Lamb Bottle Feeding Demo or driving the Tractor and Trailer! Each of these activities take place at least twice a day in order to accommodate all visitors.
In between the time-tabled events, staff could be manning the kiosk and shop, responding to phone calls and emails, greeting and guiding large groups, maintaining cleaning routines and looking out for litter or even joining in with the entertainment shows in the Big Barn. And some of our staff just LOVE a chance to dress up.
As well as all of the above, animal care and welfare is ongoing throughout the day. Staff might be meeting a visiting vet, setting up for shearing or helping with the never ending jobs of maintenance and ground keeping. And of course, they need to be ever ready for unexpected incidents, visitor queries and small first aid.
When the park closes there is still a lot of work to be done. Bins to empty, tidying up and cleaning to do, more animal checks and lots of locking up. Some staff will be preparing for private parties arriving at six or carrying out big jobs that couldn’t be done during the day.
So it is, indeed, a lovely place to work. And as you can see in the video recently posted on Facebook, hard work is always mixed with a bit of fun. It’s all about teamwork! If you think you would enjoy being part of the team check out our current vacancies here