Fur, feathers and fun for all
AFTER months of anticipation, an Emerald petting farm will open its doors this week.
Opening today (May 10) Bells Barnyard Emerald - the brainchild of local mum Jade Davies - will be a fully mobile experience which allows children to get up close to farm animals.
"I have a goat, guinea pigs, chickens, ducks, piglets and I am waiting on sheep - they're not born yet,” Ms Davies said.
In a bid to get a true hands-on experience, Ms Davies has also begun breeding her own animals to use for the business.
"I want to do everything myself but it is more convenient because I don't have to try and find people to buy babies off,” Ms Davies said.
" ... I breed my own piglets, so I have two litters that have already been born and I'm just waiting on a third (litter) now to be born at the end of the May.
"I'm actually getting pygmy goats and I'm going to breed them, too.
"I'm breeding my own guinea pigs, too and I also incubate my own chickens and ducks.”
While she will be available to attend events across the Central Highlands, Ms Davies said, at this stage, she had restricted her party bookings to the Emerald area only.
"I don't think I'll do birthday parties elsewhere,” she said.
"But I'll still do events - like if there's a show on in Blackwater, I'll go out there if they need me.
"But I won't specifically do birthday parties out there just yet.”
However, it doesn't look like Ms Davies will be short of bookings.
Since announcing her official opening on her Bells Barnyard Facebook page earlier this week, Ms Davies has received more than 35 bookings.
"I did my first daycare visit yesterday... I went down to Emerald Community Kindy on Retro Street,” she said.
"I took my whole set up down there, all my animals, and the kids loved it.
"Even the carers and the director, she said she was very happy and she can't wait for us to come back this Thursday.
"She said the kids couldn't stop talking about it and it was a good experience for them to know what it would be like to live on a farm.”
To find out more about the petting farm or to make a booking, visit Bells Barnyard Emerald on Facebook.