Come on down to Kingston Maurward Animal Park and spend a fun filled day feeding our sheep, alpacas, chickens and goats, meet the piglets, miniature Shetland ponies, alpacas, giant rabbits and many more!
Learn all about how Kingston Maurward is helping to conserve our animal heritage through our work with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and enjoy coffee and snacks while children enjoy the play areas.
We have a wonderful range of animals who are waiting to meet you, here are a few of our favourites.
Dating back to the 1300’s, the Bagot Goat is one of the oldest known registered breeds of goat in the UK. They are registered on the Rare Breed Society Trust‘s endangered list as there are only 200 nannies left in the world. That makes them rarer than Giant Pandas!
Bagot goats are small to medium in size. Both sexes have large curving horns. They have long hair, with a distinctive colour pattern being black forequarters and white on the rear part of the body. Some have a white blaze.
Lily’s brother, Vinney Blue, has gained the coveted position of mascot for The Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester, and will be making an appearance at assemblies and events!
Meet Tug! Aged 19, he is one of our oldest of resident Shetland Ponies. Tug came here as a rescue pony over 10 and is now 19 years old. He is grey in colour and a very sensitive and quiet pony. He lives with our four other Shetlands – Sparky who is a standard size like Tug and Holly, Tiny Tim and Pepper who are miniatures. These ponies are very strong and were once used to pull carts in coal mines!
Holly is 14 years old and is a pedigree miniature Shetland pony. She has a beautiful palamino (pale cream) coat and is very friendly and loves to say hello to the visitors at the animal park. She is the only girl in the small herd at Kingston Maurward, she is a bit of a diva and stands just 33 inches tall!
Shetland ponies were bred in the Shetland Isles and are therefore very hardy animals used to living outdoors. They are fed on grass and hay.
Named after the famous ice cream brand, you can’t fail to miss our two Alpacas on a visit to Kingston Maurward. Alpacas come from South America where they were used to demonstrate a person’s wealth and provide milk, meat and their fleeces used to make clothing. The hair of the alpaca is called ‘fleece’ or ‘fiber’ rather than ‘fur’ or ‘wool’ and can live for up to 25 years.
Our alpacas live with a flock of sheep and Ben takes his role as protector very seriously and will sit in the stable with the ewes when they give birth. He acts as a lookout and would chase a fox away if one came into the field. He tends to follow staff around the paddock if they are doing something new.
Jerry is white in colour and more sensitive than Ben and you will often see him standing behind Ben. Our students have nicknamed him Victor Meldrew because he can be a little grumpy at times!
Alpacas do not like to have their heads touched and are likely to spit if this happens, however, they will allow you to stroke their necks so you can feel how soft their coats are.
Our Pedigree Saddleback pigs are now into their fourth litters and with an average of 9 in a litter, you will often see lots of piglets running about in the enclosures! The Saddleback is large with lop ears, black body with white band around the saddle and the front legs. They are considered one of the easiest breeds to have as a first time breeder due to their gentle nature.
Through successful breeding programmes like our own, the Saddleback is a successful conservation story and is now considered Minority rather than Rare and is spread throughout most of the UK.
The Cayuga duck breed was developed from a pair of wild black ducks that a miller in Duchess County, New York, caught on his millpond in 1809. The pair raised large broods, providing the miller’s family with meat and these ducks became popular in northern New York and were named “Cayuga” after the native people of that area.
The plumage of the Cayuga is a beautiful iridescent green and black and the Kingston Maurward breeding pair soften receive compliments. You can tell the males as they have several curly feathers on his tail – a bit like Daffy Duck!
Come down to the Animal Park and see one of the oldest British varieties of chicken. This breed is a genuine bantam – which means ‘miniature bird’ – and was the first poultry breed to have its own specialist club for enthusiasts!
Their feathers appear to have a lace pattern to them and there are two colour varieties– silver and gold and Kingston Maurward Animal Park hopes to get some gold ones in the future. Our cockerel is called Robin after Robin Hood because his headpiece looks like his legendary hat – we also have Marian and Merry (as in merry men!).