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Fern Tor - Animals


The most important thing to us at Fern Tor is our rescued animals. They have been unwanted, neglected and often abused, but we aim to give them the best home possible. We do not run a zoo, so we ask our guests to respect their dignity and privacy.

Our latest arrivals are 2 Scotish pot-bellied pigs, so they naturally were named Robbie and Bobbie!  We got involved in the rescue of some 20 pigs at Loch Lomond, and when it became too difficult for us to arrange transport directly to us, our pair joined the others and were transpoted down to Fiona Oakes' Tower Hill Sanctuary in Essex, where we picked them up.  Upon arrival, they went bananas, running around in and eating the grass.  They soon got involved in some serious  rooting and wallow making.

 Robbie and Bobbie          Dinnertime

World renowned health expert, Robbie Sus, christens Fern Tor's new Health Spa

He can also expound extensively on the theraputic properties of Fern Tor Mud.

Excavating for the new Hot Tub

  We have given a home to 2 ex-racing greyhounds, thanks to the The Greyhound Trust.  Chester and Chuckles are a delight, being 90% couch potato and 10% lunatic.

Sadly, we lost our dear friend Chuckles in August 2009, after 7 years with us.  We sorely miss her.  Recently, we have given a home to Martha, picture to follow.

Tens of thousands of greyhounds are discarded every year in this country alone.  As Greyhound Action points out,  

There are more greyhound organisations on our links page.

 At last count, we also have  19 rabbits, 3 guinea pigs, 5 goats, 3 sheep and 13 chickens, as well as numerous pheasants and other birds who visit us.  They are all characters in their own right, and we love them all.

Our Flerd (our word for a combined sheep and goat collection)

Cocoa   Gertie  Vinnie    Eva     Bramble    HP ( brown and saucy!)                    Gorse

                                                       Peggy                                                      Benjy       

Sadly, shortly after this picture was taken  we lost Gertie.  Newer additions who missed the picture, are our aptly named sheep, Barge, and goats Annie, Blondie and William.

Vinnie, our Golden Guernsey-Unicorn cross.

Peggy on the roof, so we've re-named her Pegasus!

Most web sites on pot-bellied pigs are of the Hollywood pet variety, but a good site to visit is the sanctuary PIGS , which has over 600 rescued pot-bellied pigs.


Our Late Friend Treacle

Waiting for lunch  ( with friends)                                                           Tucked up for the night.

One of the best sites on the web for rabbits is Rabbit References   .  It indexes almost every important source of information available on the web. The  RSPCA    has some good concise advice. However, until recently they used to state that rabbits do not make good pets for young children and that they should be homed in pairs. Guess it no longer fits in with the cute cuddly image they present with Rolf Harris and Pet Rescue.  

The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund is a very good source of information and advice.  Another valuable resource is the book The Problem With Rabbits , compiled by Pat Rees, along with other sanctuary workers.  Current price for the 3rd edition is 2.25, available from Hillside Animal Sanctuary or Amazon. 

This book should be required reading for anyone who looks after rabbits, or is thinking of doing so. It is best summarized by the following poem by our good friend -

      A Rabbit's Prayer

      by Brenda Cornwall

      A rabbit's needs are manyfold,
      NOT just a hutch as you've been told.

      We need space to run and grass to eat
      That's big enough to stretch our feet.

      We like the company of one another,
      Whether it be a sister or a brother.

      We really like to be in twos;
      Being on our own just will not do.

      We need branches to chew of hazel or apple,
      To keep our teeth short and in fine fettle.

      Clip our claws to look after our feet.
      And rabbit food is what we eat.

      Carrot, apple and greens we like,
      but lettuce is something that is not right.

      If YOU were a rabbit for just one day,
      You wouldn't want to be shut away.

      You'd want to hop and run around,
      With another rabbit to share the ground.

About the only thing left out was space to burrow!

The poem arrived on the morning after we lost out second rabbit in two weeks. We cried.

If you would like to learn to speak bunny, try looking at the Language of Lagomorphs , or perhaps you would like to visit The Carrot Museum.

Our 4 ladies say "Don't use L'Oreal, because we're worth it!"

There is a good site with advice on guinea pigs; have a look at Guinea Lynx.

We were asked to home 19 chickens, which had been taken away from a farmer who was being prosecuted.  We were told there were 16 hens and 3 cockerals, and as they grew up together, "they all got on."  We have named the cockerals Ronald ( the boss), Roland, Robert, Roger, Roy, Ralph ( the biggest but a bit of a wimp), Malcolm and Marvin.  Yes, it adds up to 8!  Which meant there were only 11 hens , and no they din't all get on!  But we were still glad to have them and they give us a lot of enjoyment. Sadly, most of these chickens are no longer with us, but we have taken more from a "Freedom Food" farm and  from  battery farms.    Above is naughty Hen-rietta pinching our late Boris' dinner.  There are more pictures of our animals on our foot and mouth page .

We would welcome some help with the animals at certain times of the year (eg cleaning rabbit houses, goat barn etc) If this would interest you at all, we would be happy to offer a discount/free  meals in return .


You are welcome to bring your pets with you, as long as you make arrangements ahead of time, and keep to a few simple guidelines.

Firstly, because of our rescued animals, your pet must be under control at all times. Our river meadow is available for you to exercise your dog there off the lead.  Also, there is usually a field near the house where you can exerise your dor.

Please bring your own bedding, litter trays, etc.

Chester and Chuckles, with the able assisitance of regular visitor Poppy, have compiled a dog-friendly visitors guide to the area.

R.I.P. Ho, Murphy, Boris, Sam, Duki, Treacle, Chuckles and all our dear departed friends. We miss you terribly.

Updated Jan 2013