Where would you find a baby alpaca called Dennis, an overpregnant cow called Louise and three mischievous little rodents racing up and down?

I’m not talking about a sequel to the horrendous Alvin and the Chipmunks – on a farm of course! And our trip to Smithills Open Farm recently with Sophie was such a great experience.


Alpacas and llamas are such cool animals!

We’d tried a farm visit back in August, when she was only five and a half months old. I don’t think she really got it. Dare I say it, but it was my wife who had the most fun, running around chucking carrots at pigs and feeding llamas.

This time, with Sophie now a year old, she was able to interact more with the animals and get real enjoyment out of it!

After all, spring is such a fabulous time of year. Not only are flowers (and sunshine) starting to appear again after lying asleep over winter, but the onset of new life on the farm adds an extra special element to the visit.

We were treated to an amazing feed and hold session with a huge variety of baby animals, including a piglet called George who was less than 3 days old. So cute. We were worried at one stage that the magnificent owl which was brought round was going to maul Sophie, but instead it sat patiently on the farmer’s arm and allowed us to stroke its back.

This was a safer distance than it ended up!

This was a safer distance than it ended up!

Sophie was fascinated by the chipmunks and ferrets (don’t tell her Gran!). Something about the playful way they tore around their cages kept her hooked. She could have watched them for hours! And as for the wizened old goat who meandered over to check her out – it was like they’d been friends for years!


She was less enthralled by the supersized red and yellow ringed python. Although in fairness, all it did was lie there like a brightly coloured branch. Albeit a branch with the power to kill you in one swift neck-breaking movement.

Moving swiftly on…

We were able to find out tons about the different types of cow there and how the transition from pregnancy to milking works at the farm. Sophie wasn’t too bothered about there – she wanted to crawl around in the dirt surrounding the cows’ pen. Not in your brand new tights Sophie…

Sophie reaching for the reindeer!

Sophie reaching for the reindeer!

Finally, we checked out the pigs enclosure where a multitude of baby piglets were being suckled by a very relaxed looking mother, sprawled out on the floor. Now that’s the life. Not so the next pen along though where three piglets cowered in the corner as their angry mum pounded her head on the wire fence.

Rest assured, we kept Sophie well away from the crazy pig!


All in all it was a great day out. Gorgeous baby animals, beautiful sunshine, lots of interesting animal and farm related facts. We’d definitely go again!