While spring means an extra hour of daylight, warmer weather and the chance to gorge on chocolate after Lent, as the new season unfolds, nature welcomes billions of tiny babies that animal lovers just can’t help but coo over.
Gloucestershire is home to an array of wildlife centres, gardens and farms where little and big kids alike can meet a flurry of spring babies, from fluffy chicks and wobbly-legged lambs to Old Spot piglets and even King Penguins, with 11 of the best featuring in SoGlos’s latest hot list.
While the mild winter led to some early arrivals at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust HQ, including miniature harvest mice the size of baked beans and fluffy little goslings, from May to June, visitors can coo over a newly-hatched batch of downy ducklings and take a peek into the first few days of their feathery lives during behind-the-scenes tours of the busy duckery.
This Bourton-on-the-Water attraction is home to the country’s only group of King Penguins, which has already produced the first Humboldt egg of 2014, currently being kept safe and warm in the incubator. Other early eggs include the boldly patterned Blacksmith Plovers, owl-like Tawny Frogmouths and gorgeous Grey Peacock-Pheasants, with more arrivals expected over the coming weeks in Birdland’s own nursery.
The baby boom began early at Cotswold Wildlife Park too this year, with a cute baby meerkat pup, fluffy Bactrian camel and mini giant anteater arriving already, and plenty more spring babies expected to pop up at the Burford attraction soon.
Adam Henson’s famous farm park in Guiting Power is the place to go to see hundreds of bleary-eyed, bleating baby lambs being born from February onwards, not to mention hen and duck eggs hatching in the incubators in the dedicated Touch Barn.
Based at Batsford Park in Moreton-in-Marsh, the Cotswold Falconry Centre has announced that a number of birds are already warming their eggs, ready to hatch as spring blooms, including the crane-like secretary bird and unmistakable spectacled owl.
Among the host of animal encounters available at Berkeley-based Cattle Country, there’s the chance to bottle feed its baby lambs and fawn over fluffy chicks on selected dates in April.
This year is an exciting one for the Newent-based attraction, with breeding season already in full swing and a baby Eurasian griffon vulture being the first to attempt to flap its tiny wings. Keep an eye out for little eagles, owls, falcons and hawks over the coming weeks too.
Set in Gloucester city centre and with free admission all year round, St James City Farm not only has lots of cute little lambs for visitors to see this spring, but also an old spot piglet, due to be born any day now.
Each year, during the Easter holidays, Daylesford welcomes countless new arrivals from more than 1,500 pregnant ewes, guaranteeing visitors a glimpse of a lamb taking its first wobbly steps during tours of its dedicated ‘maternity unit’.
Open from the end of March, this organic working farm in Arlingham draws in families from far and wide with its baby chicks and bunnies during the Easter holidays in particular.
The popular Moreton-in-Marsh farm, shop and accommodation has just welcomed the arrival of three little lambs, which visitors can see in the stable, next door to the pigs, when picking up their next lot of local produce.
By Shelly McCatty
Wednesday 19 March 2014
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