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Animals at the Merry Moos Farm Project

Animals are one of the most critical components of the Merry Moos Farm Project! We already have a pig daughter/mother duo (Molly and Polly), who are currently in a temporary foster placement. They are the first in line, waiting for us to raise the funds to buy a farm for them to live on permanently.

It would be amazing if we could, one day, rescue more pigs for Molly & Polly to be friends with. We aim to, eventually, take in any farm animal who needs a home and a happily ever after. As long as we have the space, there will always be a place at our farm for those who need it!

We would love to have a small herd of free-range Jersey cows; which would roam across the land, living their best lives. Our clients and volunteers would then be able to milk these cows, teaching them valuable new skills and showing them how milk is made. This milk could then be sold at the farm, or made into other dairy products like butter, cream and soap! The profits from these sales could be reinvested into the project to help us look after all the animals. Plus, our clients and volunteers could use this as an opportunity to develop their sales skills, which is always a useful skill

to have.

Additionally, we would love to rescue some chickens (perhaps from battery farming or poor welfare situations). They would be free-range, able to explore the whole farm and just be a chicken again! It can take some time for rescued chickens to adjust to a life of freedom, but once they do they are so grateful and truly enjoy their new lives! The eggs that these chickens lay could then be sold to the community and the profits used to rescue even more animals in need. The same goes for ducks too, which could be kept with

need. The same goes for ducks too, which could be kept with the chickens on our land!

There are many other animals that we’d love the opportunity to provide sanctuary for - donkeys, horses and goats just to name a few. These animals would have large enclosures where they will have the freedom to do what comes naturally - our clients and volunteers will be able to give them all the love and care they need! Once we have raised the capital to purchase our farm, all these animals and many more will finally have a safe and loving home. They won’t be confined, isolated or left to fend for themselves - like so many are today.

Interspecies Farm Relationships

Community farms and sanctuaries, like the Merry Moos Farm Project, play a vital role in our society. Allowing not only humans to socialise with farm animals, but also allowing farm animals to socialise with members of their own and other species.

Everybody loves videos on social media of two species becoming best friends, for example, this baby cow and chicken becoming best friends. There are so many cases of farm animals having special relationships with others, it’s exactly what we want to see on our farm. There are many lessons we can learn from watching these relationships develop; tolerance, compromise and compassion to name a few.

A study conducted by the University of Sydney, in 2017, concluded that humans have a duty to socialise with domesticated animals and that farm sanctuaries are frontiers of friendships! Not only do they provide opportunities for people to make friends with others, allowing them to bond over their love for farm animals. They also allow interspecies relationships to grow, whether that be between humans and the farm residents or between the different animals.

A review of the literature in 2020 found that there are lots of benefits to multi-species farming practices. These benefits have been put into three categories; economic, environmental and social. The economic and environmental benefits are due to space on the farm being shared by different farm animals, not just one species like conventional farming.

By sharing the space, this leaves more area on the farm which can be used for crops or other projects. This also helps the environment by reducing the area that is taken up by just one species, this allows for more green spaces to help tackle climate change. The Merry Moos Farm Project could use this extra space to create a conservation area to protect native plant and animal species. One day we’d love to have an apiary to encourage more bees into the area. We also want to place bird, bat and owl boxes around the property, to aid in restoring their population and boost biodiversity on the farm.

animal species. One day we’d love to have an apiary to encourage more bees into the area. We also want to place bird, bat and owl boxes around the property, to aid in restoring their population and boost biodiversity on the farm.

The social benefits are numerous, for the animals, farmers and visitors. Animal health and welfare are greatly improved in multi-species habitats. Animals who share their enclosures with other species tend to experience fewer health issues than those who do not! It has also been found that some farm animals protect others when they are in the same fields, for example, cows have been found to look out for their sheep friends.

These interspecies relationships can also help to improve the mood and welfare of those visiting the farm! Everyone loves to see how different animals interact with each other, and it can help teach us how to get on with others, even if they are different from us. Additionally, having farm animals live together can improve farmer welfare. This is thought to be because it reduces the amount of work and travel farmers need to do in a day, giving them more time to look after themselves.

Social Prescribing on the Farm

Once we have fully established ourselves on a farm, we want to help as many people as we can with our animals. We believe in social prescribing and would love for our farm to be a part of people's treatment! The NHS defines this as “an approach that connects people to activities, groups, and services in their community to meet the practical, social and emotional needs that affect their health and wellbeing”.

We hope to help improve the lives of not just our animals but everyone who uses our farm. The elderly, those with long-term health issues, mental health issues, learning & social difficulties and isolated & lonely people, are just a few examples of who we could be helping!

Research has found that farm animals, like cows, can be used as therapists (especially in children). Individuals reported that they could speak to animals as they would a therapist - without fear of what they were saying being repeated to others or judged. Visiting the animals helped to regulate emotions, especially when they were feeling sad or angry. It also taught them how to care for and nurture other living things, which is a crucial skill that everyone needs!

This shows how important animals can be for not just those with mental and physical health issues, but for everybody. Everyone, no matter who they are, needs to have a safe space where they can vent and let off steam without judgement. We hope to provide this safe space, for all the members of our community!

Another research study, in 2011, found that animal-assisted therapy (AAT) with farm animals can reduce anxiety and depression, improves confidence & self-assurance and increases feelings of social support. These results may take time to produce, but the more people are involved with the farm, the faster results can be seen!

This has the most profound effect on those who are already struggling with their mental health. However, the Mental Health Foundation states that in the UK, more than 30% of people struggle with one or more long-term health issues - that’s more than 15 million people. Over 4 million of those also have mental health problems!

Additionally, Mind (the mental health charity), has stated that more than 1 in 4 adults will experience mental health problems each year in the UK. In children, the rate is lower but still 1 in 10! We want to help change these statistics through our work at the farm. Individuals in the community who suffer from mental health issues will be able to de-stress and forget about their problems, if only for a few hours a day.

Now, with all this in mind, you can see how our farm will be able to help people from all different walks of life. Would you like to help? If the answer is yes, please think about donating to our fundraiser by clicking here. You can also help by sharing our story on your social media or by word of mouth so that more people can discover our amazing project!

You can contact us by emailing or reaching out by social media. Let us know if you have any ideas on how we can make more people aware of our project, we would be delighted to hear from you!

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