Sandy Feet Farm - Meet Kathleen our Highland Cow
Meet Sandy Feet Animals
sandy feet tractor ride
Sandy Feet Farm – Meet Kathleen our Highland Cow

Meet Sandy Feet Animals

sandy feet tractor ride
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Enjoy feeding the various rare breed animals, exploring the farm, playing in the playground or taking a trailer ride around the farm.

Our Alpacas

Lucy the Alpaca was one of the very first animals here at Sandy Feet Farm. While Lucy is from cork boy! Like most people from cork, she has plenty to say. You can hear her talking below! But in the meantime, let us tell you some interesting facts about these quirky, curious animals.

Lucy’s ancestors hail from South America. They had no difficulty adapting to the Irish climate and landscape which is, at its worst, far less extreme than their ancestral home of the Peruvian Andes

Alpacas are cousins of the camel! They basically look like a cross between a sheep, a small giraffe, and ‘Falkor’ from The Never-Ending Story. They have sweet, expressive faces with long sweeping eyelashes. They are naturally gentle, intelligent and good with children (mostly). You’ll know when they are not happy because they will spit some chewed up grass, they’d been holding in their stomach, all over you – and it STINKS!

They are much gentler on land than cattle and sheep, as they are not cloven hoofed and have soft pads on their hooves instead. They place about a third of the stress on grazing land as would the same number of sheep.

Alpacas, after an eleven month (very) long pregnancy, have a baby alpaca called a ‘cria’. Twins are extremely rare. They are great Moms, and the aunties all help out with minding the new arrival.

They are good around other animals and can run with horses or donkeys, sheep, goats, cows and even poultry. They are instinctively predisposed to make very good “guardians” for sheep during lambing season – they will scare off a fox like nobody’s business. Alpacas have a thick fleece which is shorn annually producing fibre which is soft, dense and three times stronger and warmer than sheep wool. There is great demand for Alpaca fleece which is much less oily than sheep wool.

Alpacas at Sandy Feet Farm

Listen to Lucy!

Sandy Feet Farm Scottish Highland Cow

Listen to Kathleen!

Our Cows

Highland cattle are a Scottish cattle breed famous for their distinctive look and docile nature. ‘Kathleen’ The Cow is the oldest cow on the farm. She is about 7 years old now, and is definitely the cow boss. You can hear her talk about her arrival at Sandy Feet below!

Her long wavy coat is her most discussed attribute. When Highland cattle are mentioned, people often immediately think of their ginger-red coat. Most people are surprised that cows, not just bulls, have horns. Kathleen has long, wide set horns, which she uses to forage for food during the winter months.

Did you know, a group of Highland cattle is not called a herd, but a ‘fold’ instead?

Our Donkey Family

Maple and Duffy are a mother and son pair. Maple is a Jenny (female donkey) and Duffy is a Jack (male donkey). They are two of the most popular animals on the farm!  Of course they are! Ireland, and especially the west of Ireland, has a particularly strong traditional link with donkeys, where they played a key role in rural lives right up the middle of the last century. They were used for everything from clearing rocky fields, moving turf from bogs, ploughing, transport of people and goods, grinding corn, to family pets. In Ireland, their milk was thought to cure both TB and gout and was supposed to be particularly good for the complexion! Today, Donkey milk has a niche market in Italy where a litre can retail for about €15. Maple and Duffy are miniature donkeys. This breed originated in Sicily.

It’s thought their long ears are to help locate other donkeys over vast areas, and can pinpoint the presence of other donkeys at a distance of sixty miles, and their sound itself carries for two miles – they are VERY loud!

Their stubbornness is often misunderstood – they have a good sense for their own safety and can sense if something is wrong or likely to go wrong, which is when they’ll dig their heels in. Their stubbornness is an expression of fear – a scared donkey will be a stubborn one rather than a flighty one.

Meet the Donkey at Sandy Feet Farm
Animal Interactions at Sandy Feet Farm

Small Animals & Large Insects

At Sandy Feet we give anyone who wants it an opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of small animals, for as long as they want. The most popular animal here, by far, is our fancy mice. More than one child has tried to smuggle one out in their pocket!

From Hedgehogs to Rabbits and Guinea pigs these are the animals that capture the kid’s imagination, and hearts, the most. It’s always a pleasure to watch the interactions here. If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can handle some of our captivating creepy-crawly creatures while you’re here!

It’s the best way to add a bit of buzz to your visit! While we don’t go for the scary ones, we love the large ones. Stick and leaf insects are particularly fascinating to watch