Updated: May 6
As you are probably all aware by now, Dean Farm Trust was the very first sanctuary I visited as a photographer, so I was incredibly excited about getting the chance to visit again. The weather was looking good and I couldn't wait to see Jeff again.
After signing in and being greeted by Tina singing to me, I headed to Turkey Terrace where I found Uncle Watson and Paul wondering around and munching on grass. Most of the usual Turkey Terrace residents were still inside, they hadn't yet got used to having their freedom back after the national Avian Flu Lockdown.
After spending about 15 minutes laying on the floor trying to get Watson's photo, I noticed that Juney's pool was being refilled. Now, I was reliably informed that as soon as it was done, Juney would be straight in the water for a bath because she does it every single time...
So I waited and kept watching. She waddled over and I got excited. She just had a drink and walked off! What is it they say? "Never work with children or animals"!?
So I gave up waiting for that shot for the time being and moved on. By now Mary had finished with the fencers and took me to visit their beatiful herd of rescued male cows. These boys are so gentle and loving, it's incredible. Unfortunately, the downside of that is that they can get a bit over excited to see you! Watching them bounce over their little bridge when they see Mary is so lovely and heartwarming, it does mean taking cover on the other side of a gate though. After giving them lots of rubs and attention, we went over to my favourite part of the sanctuary: Piggy Avenue.
This is the bit I had been looking forward to most, seeing the little bachelor pad of Billy, Jeff & Linky again. I love these guys. Jeff is such a big softy and as soon as he saw me, he came trotting over, wiggling from side to side making all kinds of noises as I gave him lots of rubs, followed a good head scratch on my wellies and then flopping onto his side for tummy rubs. I don't think I told you Jeff's story last time, so here it is, from the Dean Farm website:
"Rescued May 2018 – aged two years old
"Jeff came from a smallholding where they had a number of other pigs. Jeff became a favourite with the children and the local community but as he grew, he found himself looking for a new home. Thankfully they contacted us and we were delighted to welcome him to the sanctuary.
"Jeff is really, really friendly and has become best friends with Billy and Linky. Jeff is hard of hearing, Billy is blind and Linky was very timid and terrified of the other pigs. These three boys are so gentle and patient with each other – they all seem to know that their friends need an extra bit of help. They spend their days together grazing, rooting and sleeping in their bachelor pad."
I spent a good amount of time with those guys, unfortunately Billy was asleep, but Jeff and Linky definitely kept me occupied.
After making our way to all the residents of Piggy Avenue (more on them in Part 2), it was time for a hen rescue! Eight beautiful, white, ex-laying hens have been given a safe home for life thanks to Mary and everyone else at Dean Farm, you can see the video here for more of the details directly from Mary.
Afer that, my very cold but incredible day with the residents drew to a close, but I was back the next day. You can check out Part 2 now, where I will be sharing a few more details on the pigs of Piggy Avenue. The photos will be added to the gallery and store soon, keep an eye on my Instagram and Facebook pages for the latest updates.