At Farnless Farm Park we have our own breeding herd of North American Bison, come and meet them.
Bison are traditionally found on the North American plains but in the late 19th century as man settled the plains they trimmed the population from 50 million to only a few hundred. Today the bison are on the increase with 100,000 animals in the US.
To keep Bison we have to have a dangerous wild animal licence and under no circumstances must you enter their pasture. They are timid creatures but brought to bay they will fight with ferocity, they can run at nearly 25mph and easily jump a 6ft fence. Once provoked they are unstoppable, and will kill.
Bison is the scientific name for Bison-Bison. The bison is a member of the bos family, related to bovines such as domestic cattle, but distinct from the true buffalo, those of Asia and Africa. (Water Buffalo)
English settlers on the Great Plains first used the term buffalo; it was a modification of the name “les boeufs”, which early French explorers gave to Oxon or beef cattle.
Red Deer (Cervus elaphus)We have a herd of Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) also at Farnless, which are the majority of our parkland animals, our pure bred English Park Stags. Depending on when you visit The Stags, he may have antlers and if you come in September you may be lucky enough to hear him bark as we enter the rut.
The deer are very timid and you wont be able to get too close, although we do have a hand-reared calf, called Henrietta, who will happily come to the fence to say hello. Red deer are the most common farmed deer species in the UK and are great lovers of our ponds. You should be able to see their red coat unless they have been wallowing.
Although the deer are timid when they have young or they are rutting they are as dangerous than the bison and will attack if approached. When we handle the animals we wear stab vests, as the antlers are very sharp and dangerous.
The Red Deer is one of the largest deer species and inhabit most of Europe, the Caucasus Mountains region, Asia Minor and parts of western and central Asia. It also inhabits the Atlas Mountains region between Algeria and Tunisia in northwestern Africa, being the only species of deer to inhabit Africa. Red Deer have been introduced to other areas including New Zealand and Argentina. In many parts of the world the meat (venison) from Red Deer is widely used as a food source.
Red Deer are ruminants, characterized by an even number of toes, and a four-chambered stomach. Recent DNA evidence indicates that the Red Deer (Cervus elaphus) and the East Asian and North American Elk (Wapiti) (Cervus canadensis) represent two distinct species. They give also hint for an additional primordial subgroup of Central Asian Red Deer. The ancestor of all Red Deer probably originated in Central Asia and probably resembled Sika Deer.
Although at one time Red Deer were rare in some areas, they were never close to extinction. Reintroduction and conservation efforts, especially here in the UK, have resulted in an increase of Red Deer populations, while other areas, such as North Africa, have continued to show a population decline. Red Deer were once common place in Bishop Middleham, in the middle ages Bishop Middleham had its own deer park, so you could say we are reintroducing Red Deer to Bishop Middleham.
Dominio and Dice the Pigmy goats
A pygmy goat is a small breed of domestic goat; females weigh about 23 to 34 kg (35 to 50 lbs) and males about 27 to 39 kg (40 to 60 lb). Pygmy goats originated in the Cameroon Valley of West Africa. They were imported into the United States from European zoos in the 1950s for use in zoos and as a research animal. They were eventually acquired by private breeders and quickly gained popularity as pets and exhibition animals due to their good-natured personalities, friendliness and hardy constitution.
Although they produce a large amount of milk for their size, and can be eaten, pygmy goats are not typically used for milk or meat, unlike larger dairy and meat goat breeds. Pygmy goats tend to be more robust and breed more continually throughout the year than either dairy or meat goats. They have stomachs with four compartments: the rumen, the reticulum, the omasum, and the abomasum. As browsers, goats are similar to deer and enjoy variety in their diet, including woody plants.