To those of you who haven't had the opportunity to visit us yet, we'd love to introduce you to the animals that call Wānaka Lavender Farm home. We think that every single one of our cool critters make the farm a better place, and they all have something unique going for them.
If you have popped in to see us in the past, you may see some familiar faces here, and possibly new ones (depending on when you last took a wander around).
Kristen and Jove
Our Highland Cattle are the stars of the farm for many. Second of her name, Lady Kristen of Langside has been with us for a number of years, and relishes in the multi species flora and veggie crops we sow for their Summer grazing. Kristen had a best friend in the late Millie, who sadly is no longer with us but remembered by all for her beauty and grace. Kristen's new partner in crime, Jove, joined us in 2022 when he was still just a calf. He has grown lots since! And has become comforting company to Kristen.
Kristen and Jove are majestic and handsome, as most of their kind are. Highland cows are recognisable by their long, wavy coats, fancy fringe, and distinctive horns. Known as "the gentle giants" of Scotland (or "Hairy Coos" in their local language), they certainly live up to the name with their even temper and easy going attitude.
Skipadee and Lindsey Lou
Our pair of donkeys may seem nonchalant as they graze away the day, but they are quite demanding when they want to be. Skipadee and Lindsey Lou enjoy screaming, snorting and making a goofy raucous when excited. And they never fail to let us know when it's past feeding time. Much to the amusement of guests who might be near by, the donkeys may spontaneously bray at any given moment.
Skipadee and Lindsey Lou are American Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys and were sired by the same male - meaning they are half sisters. This breed is considered to be the gentlest and most docile of donkeys.
Our herd of alpacas are hugely popular and guests love their cheeky attitudes. In the Winter, when animal feeding is available, these fluffy creature will happily scoff up their nuggets from customers' hands. Commonly mistaken for llamas, alpacas spit less (phew!), are much smaller animals and have cuter faces. A word to the wise, though - the black one loves to scare you by mock spitting.
Interestingly, there is only one species of alpaca in the world, originating from South America. However, there are two fleece types/breeds named Suri and Huacaya. Here at the farm, we have the Huacaya Alpacas, whose wool is similar to a sheep's. After shearing our herd, the matriarch of Wānaka Lavender Farm, Corry Zeestraten, takes pride in making wonderful woolly creations such as boots, felted pin boards, book covers, phone cases, bowls, etc.
Matterhorn, Roger Federer, Albert Einstein
Our most recent residents are three of the fluffiest little sheep we have ever had the pleasure to meet. This flock is a rare breed called Valais Blacknose, originating across the globe in Switzerland. They're easy to identify by their shaggy black faces, spiraled horns and knee patches.
Rumour has it that when passing through the picturesque region of Valais, you are surrounded by these fuzzy creatures. A dreamy thought; meandering through meadow flowers and fresh green hills, listening to the cheery sound of the Swiss bells wrapped around the necks of these adorable sheep. As an ode to their homeland, Bria the gardener has lovingly named our three Matterhorn, Roger Federer and Albert Einstein.
Koko and Piccolo
Our precious pair of pigs are Kune Kune, which is a breed of domestic New Zealand pigs. They're hairy, large and round, and spend all day eating and sleeping. Unfortunately, they won't take note of anyone unless bribed with a treat. Be that as it may, we try and keep the pigs slim and trim since they are long-term residents here, and are not heading to the butchers.
Koko and Piccolo are happy doing their own thing and putting the goats in their place!
The goats at the farm get a lot of attention, and rightly so. The pack of 4 are mischievous, bold and greedy which makes for a fun time hanging out with them. They are always begging for extra food, nibbling on anything they can get their mouths on (think scarves, fingers, hair).
On occasion, the goats will somehow end up with their heads stuck in the fence, and needing a helping hand to get back out. Never a dull moment!
Toffee and Pepper
Our pretty pair of Shetland Ponies are adorable and fierce. Toffee, the lighter of the two, is a force to be reckoned with and is no doubt one of our most comical superstars.
Be wary of approaching these two (and others of their kind) as they are known to be quite temperamental! Toffee and Pepper enjoy their own space, but tolerate the donkeys' presence in their paddock.
There are many different kinds of Chooks strolling through the farm. Most like to stay in their hut and surrounding area but some of them take pleasure in roaming about, saying hi to the sheep, or laying eggs in places they shouldn't be (like in lavender bushes!).
Bria the gardener will often have to go on a little egg hunt to locate all the eggs the chickens have left in random spots.
At Wānaka Lavender Farm, we pride ourselves on having healthy, happy animals. Most of our residents have come to us from other farms or owners who could no longer look after them. Here, they are content to eat, sleep, play and find peace in each other's companionship!