Working in a secondary school, I get a lot of perks, such as going on fun school trips to interesting places. Today’s trip was to two farms in Netherfield, near Battle in East Sussex with a group of Year 9 Geography students. The farms we visited are outcentres for Plumpton College, which offers courses in agriculture, animal management, horticulture and more.
After an interesting talk from our guide Ellie, we went and met some cute small animals including rabbits, guinea pigs, degus and a rather shy parrot. We also went into a reptile room where the kids were able to handle a snake.
Then we met some gorgeous lambs. The kids (and the adults) really enjoyed being able to stroke, feed, and pick up the lambs, who were all really friendly. My personal favourite was Poppett who managed to escape and followed us back to the centre.
After hanging with the lambs, it was time for lunch, and then we hopped back on the bus to visit the second farm. At this farm, we got to meet some lovely pigs with adorable piglets, more sheep and lambs, and some beautiful cows. The kids got a chance to get quite hands on with the animals, and they were shown how to dock the lambs’ tails, tag and castrate them. Some handled this better than others, but to be honest, it was all very well done, and the lambs didn’t seem too bothered by it all.
The thing that upset me a little was meeting the cows, knowing they would eventually end up on a plate. Call me soft, but it was hard to look them in the eye when I knew their fate! It got even harder when we were shown around the butchery. A few of the students got a bit tearful, vowing to turn to vegetarianism. I could definitely empathise with them!
At the end of the day, we got to wander around a field full of sheep and lambs. It was quite amusing how curious they were, although they were not quite brave enough to come right over to us. They simply watched us from a safe distance.
Our visit to Netherfield was both educational and entertaining, and it was really nice to see the students getting involved and how interested some of them were in the idea of studying there in the future. With so many farms in my local area, it was great to have more of an insight into what actually goes on, even if some of it was a little hard to stomach!