Sanctuary News

Sunflower Challenge is on!

Ferne Animal Sanctuary has thrown down the gauntlet to Primary School children within a 40-mile radius of Chard to see just how green their fingers are by growing the tallest sunflower.

To help them on their way, Otter Nurseries are generously providing Ferne with free packets of sunflower seeds to give away to schools who’d like to take part.

“All you have to do to get started is get in touch with the Sanctuary and arrange to collect your free seed packets” said Elaine Hayes, Chief Executive of Ferne. “After that, it’s over to you to sow your sunflower seeds and nurture them through until the end of the summer term.  Hopefully by then you will have towering plants!”

When you’ve got the tallest plant in your class or school, we’d like you to photograph and measure it and send in the winning photo and measurements to Ferne by the 1st of August.  The winner will receive a free annual family pass for Ferne, so they can come along anytime and enjoy our walks, wildlife and delicious treats in the café.

As an added bonus, no matter how tall or small your plant is, if you bring it along in person to the Sanctuary, you can see for yourself how it encourages the birds to forage for food in the aviary as they would in their natural habitat.

Otter Nurseries Marketing Manager, Sabine Taylor said: “We are always keen to encourage the younger generation to start growing, and sunflowers are such a favourite with even the youngest gardeners, as they can give such spectacular results.

“We are delighted to support Ferne Animal Sanctuary in this way, and hope the animals enjoy all the sunflower seeds later in the year.”

Although sunflowers aren’t native to the UK, they’ve become quite an iconic vision of summer thanks to their flamboyant appearance.  They are also a firm favourite for our aviary residents as they provide a very tasty snack!

Top tips to help you on your way…

  • Sunflowers need full sun and are heavy feeders
  • Big pots are good as they have long taproots
  • Water and feed regularly, but don’t pour directly onto roots
  • Tell them your best jokes and sing them your favourite songs

If you’d like to take part and get your free seed packets, phone Ferne on 01460 65214 or email us on info@ferneanimalsanctuary.org

New Trail at Ferne

A new plaque rubbing trail at Ferne Animal Sanctuary, provided by Bovis Homes, has just been launched and put to the test by pupils of Buckland St Mary C of E Primary School.

The accessible trail meanders throughout the Sanctuary from the grassed play area of the Gazebo, through the woodland with the Lily and Dragonfly ponds and past the play equipment area, finishing outside the café.

Jenny Wheadon, Head of External Funding for Ferne said, “The plaque rubbing trail at Ferne will be a welcome new addition to our many visiting families.  It’s a lovely accessible walk in all weathers and will now also provide a great opportunity to create a memory of Ferne’s wildlife to take home.  We are grateful to Bovis Homes for kindly providing these plaques and delighted that the students of Buckland St Mary had so much fun giving them a trial run.”

The engraved plaques were designed by local wildlife artist Patrick Moran and include pictures of a frog, toadstool, ferns, kingfisher, deer, oak and acorn.

The plaque rubbings were kindly provided by Bovis Homes as an added attraction to for the many visitors from the local community and beyond to enjoy whilst visiting Ferne…..

Puppies Helped By Local Companies

Image: Puppy Molly

Photo credit: Ferne Animal Sanctuary

An influx of hungry puppies just before Christmas to Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset saw companies in Chard, Taunton, Axminster, Tiverton and Yeovil jumping to the rescue to help with additional supplies.

Jenny Wheadon, Head of External Funding said: “Twelve little cherubs were brought into Ferne in the two weeks leading up to Christmas. As they were with us over the festive period, we used up our puppy food very quickly, so had to send out an appeal for help. The response we received was amazing.

“On behalf of Ferne Animal Sanctuary, I would like to sincerely thank Pets at Home in Taunton and Tiverton, Crown Pet Foods Castle Cary, Mole Avon Axminster and also express our appreciation for the general donation of goods for the animals at Christmas to Prenax Ltd of Yeovil and Numatic International of Chard.”

Learn at Ferne – Cookery Workshops

Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset are inviting everyone, whatever their ability, to come along and learn how to bake bread with their resident chef, Richard Kingdon.

Participants will learn how to prepare and cook varieties including Irish soda bread, focaccia and gluten free.

Chef Richard said: “I’m really looking forward to running these cookery classes. It’s a new and educational activity which should also be great fun for all involved.”

Sarah Jackson, event organiser said: “The cookery classes are aimed at adults which add a new and different element to our programme of events here at Ferne.

“This is a great opportunity to learn and our chef Richard will teach participating bakers how to get their dough to rise to the occasion.”

The event is on Thursday, 28th January from 10am to 1pm. Cost is £20 per person and only open to the first 10 applicants. All equipment and ingredients are included. Full payment is required on booking and is non-refundable.

“A second session is planned for Thursday, 25th February. This will be ‘Dessert Craft’ where participants will learn how to create restaurant quality desserts. This workshop will be £30 per person inclusive”, added Sarah.

“The classes will help raise money for us to care for the animals we have on site and will be particularly well received as we are currently fund raising to build a special care cat unit.”

“All cookery workshop bookings should be made direct to me on 01460 67587 or by email to frm@ferneanimalsanctuary.org

Animals are not just for Christmas!

 Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset is offering some sound advice for people looking to give an animal as a Christmas present.

Nikki Haddock, Animal Care Manager said: “We have all heard the mantra, ‘A dog is for life not just for Christmas’. It is repeated so often that one might think that the message surely must have sunk in.  Yet you can be sure that animal shelters the length and breadth of the UK will be thinking about preparing for the influx of unwanted animals of all kinds given as Christmas presents.”

All this fun and excitement can take its toll on staff at animal sanctuaries like Ferne. So imagine how a new pet, who may have recently been taken away from its mother and siblings and a familiar environment feels.

“Toilet training a young animal needs routine and eyes in the back of your head!  Feeding needs to be at regular times, training needs to be consistent and is more effective with few distractions.  There are also many tasty, festive treats which may get accidentally dropped or left within easy reach of your pet which may be harmful to them”, continued Nikki.

“If you are looking for a new addition to your family, maybe consider sponsorship of an animal as a Christmas gift and look at adoption once you are back into your usual routine and can give the time a new pet will need to settle into your home and lifestyle. This would be less stressful for the pet – and you!

“Everyone at Ferne Animal Sanctuary wishes all readers a Happy Christmas and would like to say a huge thank-you for the support we receive.  Without it, we simply would not be able to help those animals who need us.”

Ferne Plan to Expand

In their 75th year of helping animals, much loved charity Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, near Chard are looking to improve and expand their current facilities.

Plans to build four new buildings on their current site are shortly to be submitted for approval. These will include a new agricultural building and storage shed. Both are urgently needed to house all the wonderful donations the Sanctuary receives from the general public.

In addition, the application will include plans for a new Visitor Centre, which will provide a much needed meeting room and exhibition space.

The fourth building will be for a new cat Special Care Unit for strays and nursing queens.

Elaine Hayes, CEO at Ferne Animal Sanctuary said: “It’s hard to believe that the doors of the Sanctuary were opened 75 years ago; everyone here is very proud that we still continue to make a difference by helping animals and communities.

“Our plans for expansion are yet another very exciting time for all the staff, volunteers and supporters of Ferne.

“We will shortly be launching an appeal for the cat Special Care Unit as this will be a very expensive building, full of the latest technology. This new facility will enable us to look after the cats to the highest possible standards. ”

Depressed Dog Urgently Needs a Home

A desperate plea to find a new home for Jasper, a five year old male neutered English springer spaniel is being launched today by Ferne Animal Sanctuary, Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset.

Jasper has been at the Sanctuary’s kennels for six months and is now showing signs of depression.

Tara Nirula, Re-homing Manager at Ferne Animal Sanctuary said: “Some days he just lies in his bed looking so sad. It is heart-rending. Jasper urgently needs a place he can call home.

“Although he gets lots of care and attention from the Animal care staff, he really needs a loving owner who is home most of the day as he doesn’t like to be left on his own.

“Jasper is a very loving, loyal dog who can only cope with living with one person as he gets very attached to individuals.

“He is good with other dogs, but would be better as the only pet in the home as he likes all the attention. He is a very intelligent dog who loves playing fetch with a ball and his recall is excellent.”

Jasper urgently needs someone who has a lot of time to give him plenty of love. He enjoys human company and would make someone a wonderful companion.

Tara continued: “We are desperate to find Jasper a permanent loving home with a special owner who can give him another chance of happiness. Anyone who can help can either call me on 01460 65214 or email animalcare@ferneanimalsanctuary.org”

Young Horses Need A Home

Abandoned with a group of around 14 other pregnant mares, mum Sydney gave birth to her daughter, India in April

 The Sanctuary took Sydney in after she was seized by trading standards and no owner could be found. Both mother and baby are now in excellent health.this year at Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset.

Nikki Haddock, Head of Animal Care at Ferne Animal Sanctuary said: “We are now preparing to wean them so they will both be looking for new homes with people who have experience of training and keeping young horses.

“Ideally India would love a playmate of a similar age.  She is quite a big girl and we would expect her to make at least 14.2hh.  When she is fully grown she would be suitable for riding or being broken to harness.  She has been very well handled here and can lead, be groomed and pick her feet up.

“Sydney is 5 years old. It’s unknown if she has ever had any training. She has had quite an unpleasant life and is often on the defence – but with some time and tender loving care, she should come round and be a lovely pony.

“Abandoned ponies are now a huge problem throughout the UK. Without charities like us who are willing to take them in, these two would not have stood a chance.”

Anyone who can help should contact Nikki Haddock at Ferne Animal Sanctuary on 01460 65214.

Rabbits Need Homes!

Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, near Chard, Somerset is currently overrun with male rabbits and is seeking suitable homes for them.

Nikki Haddock, Head of Animal Care said: “We urgently need people to come forward who can help. The rabbits will require suitable housing. They need access to outside runs with grass and a companion, where appropriate.

“Some of the rabbits arrived as strays, so the information we have about these is limited, but they are all good to handle.

“There must be homes out there for them – I can’t believe that Gulliver rabbit (pictured), Benjamin bunny, Roger rabbit and numerous others will be here for long.

“We are looking for kind, loving people who can provide them with the environment they need. If that’s you, please give us a call on 01460 65214.”

Ferne Needs You!

Ferne Animal Sanctuary in Wambrook, Chard, Somerset is seeking local support and volunteers for their biggest event of the year, the hugely popular annual Family Fun Day. Taking place on Wednesday 5th August 2015, this event always attracts an enormous crowd and is a fabulous day out for the whole family.

This time the event has a 1940’s theme to celebrate Ferne’s remarkable 75th Anniversary year.

Organiser Sarah Jackson from Ferne said: “This year everyone at Ferne is really excited as we have more attractions than ever! They include Sharandy’s Birds of Prey, Punch and Judy, arena displays, vintage vehicles, a History of Ferne presentation, bouncy castle and rides, face painting, a miniature railway and more.

“There will also be family games from the era and competitions for the Best Dressed 1940’s Lady, Gent, Boy and Girl, which will be great fun. In addition there will be a Tug of War and of course, our Annual Mascot Race, which is hilarious!

“Amongst numerous stallholders, we’ll have traditional sweets and a Dig for Victory (plants and home produce) stall. There’ll also be traditional wood turning and wool spinning, a raffle and tombola.”

A “Dogs at War” Photographic Exhibition is being very kindly provided by Chard Museum and Heritage Centre.

Sarah continued: “And of course, everyone will be able to meet Ferne’s wonderful animals and visit Pets Corner. There will be a children’s story teller on site too.”

Over £7,000 was raised in 2014 at this event. Ferne need help to make this year’s Family Fun Day the biggest and best ever to celebrate their special anniversary year.

“As well as welcoming new volunteers to help with all sorts of areas on the day, we need donations of books, soft toys (with CE label) and raffle prizes. Donated items can be dropped off at the Sanctuary near Chard, or at one of Ferne’s charity shops in Chard, Langport or Bridport, making sure staff know that any items are for the event,” Sarah concludes.

Refreshments will be available all day. The event is open from 11am until 4pm. Price is £5 per car. A free Ferne shuttle bus service is being provided from Crowshute car park in Chard. There will be a discount off the entry fee for groups arriving by the Ferne shuttle bus (£4 per family of up to 5 people and £1 for every extra person). The last bus leaves the Sanctuary at 4.30pm.