From rugby-loving donkeys to an immortalised duck, we’ve enjoyed hearing all about Saint Ronan’s school farm

We opened our school farm with the aim to have a few rescue chickens – modest and easy to maintain. Our first batch of chickens were bald, squawky and reluctant to part with their eggs! Nothing would persuade the children to pick them up (or the chickens to allow them to). Today, we have lustrous and robust chickens who deliver the yellowest of yolks and run to be cosseted by little Ronians, and many other creatures besides.

“First, we have the escapologist pygmy goats who are taken for walks on leashes, for which the children bring leaves to be nibbled enthusiastically. Then there are our two sports-enthusiast donkeys, who love watching school matches and bray approvingly when the home team score a point, knowing that a carrot may soon arrive from an overexcited child.

“Next on the list are the rabbits and guinea pigs, and two imperious peahens, along with three adopted underweight hedgehogs to nurture through hibernation. We also have a herd of Ryland sheep known for navigating their public shearing in front of excited children with no sense of embarrassment in their nakedness.

“The democratically elected ‘President’ of the animals, Basil the Duck, shot to fame in lockdown, and remains immortalised in a brass effigy, after sadly being eaten by Mr Fox (not the Director of Sport – the wily sly one who expectantly saunters past the chickens with a twinkly glint). Lastly we have three large, well fed, and friendly pigs, Ivanka, Winnie and Clemmie – the latter two of which were gifted to us by the Dean of Canterbury who needed a loving home for them when he retired. We were only too pleased to step in, and now these piggies are washed, brushed, fed and pampered. In return, they are positively brimming with affection.

“Pre Prep children alternate their weekly trips to the Farm with the Forest
School, so they get plenty of time outside. In the Prep School we run an active
and popular weekly club, as well as participating in the local County shows.
The farm has come a long way since those first bald, squawky, egg-free days

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