Mug Shots Competition

Have you got what it takes to capture what Ferne is all about in a fantastic photo?

We are looking for three photos that encapsulate the Sanctuary for our ‘Mug Shot’ competition running until December 15th.  This could be a photo of a pet you have adopted from us, a snap taken on a recent visit to us or perhaps one of something else which reflects why Ferne is very special to you.

The competition is split into three categories, (14yrs and under, Amateur and Professional), with a winner chosen from each category.

The only guidelines are that the photo must have something to do with Ferne Animal Sanctuary and the image needs to be of high quality and resolution.

The deadline for entries is Friday December 15th 2017. The winners will be chosen by our judges and the new mugs will be available to purchase in our gift shop and charity shops in the New Year.

Please send your entry, along with your name, address and phone number to

Appeal to give Goosey Gander a safe place to wander

The harsh reality facing us once again this year is that if just one of the 200 birds in our care caught bird flu, all our birds would have to be put down.

Last December, we were faced with this terrifying threat when bird flu swept across the country, spread by migratory wild birds from Europe. Bird owners collectively held their breath as the disease spread, as under DEFRA regulations, all those affected had to destroy every bird they owned to stop the virus spreading.

At Ferne, for over three months, hundreds of our birds were locked away for their own safety, until the danger from the virus had passed. With no covered run, our poor geese had to be left out in the open as if confined they will fight, causing themselves injury and distress. This left our geese at great risk of catching bird flu, putting the lives of our entire family of feathered friends in jeopardy.

We urgently need your help to raise £7,500 to build our geese a new home with a covered run, provide new fencing to keep out predators and a reed bed to clean their pond water.

Your gift will make a real difference and help to protect all of our birds from bird flu.

  • £5 buys plants to clean the pond water
  • £10 helps us to build their covered run, or buy fencing for their safety
  • In recognition of your kind donation, you will receive a personal thank you on Facebook
  • £50 buys a cosy new nest box
  • In recognition of your kind donation, you will receive a gorgeous cuddly goose toy
  • £100 helps us to build our geese their lovely new home

In recognition of such a worthwhile donation, your name will be engraved on a plaque to be displayed on the new goose house

To donate £10, please text: 70140, inserting ‘Ferne £10’ in the message box. To change the amount text Ferne £xx, for example, Ferne £5 to donate £5. Thank you, we hugely appreciate your help!


Christmas festivities at Ferne

Coming up on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th November, Ferne is hosting its first Christmas Fair to start off the Christmas festivities in style.  There will be 32 stalls selling a great variety of arts and craft items – perfect for presents and stocking fillers and a stress-free opportunity to start your Christmas shopping.  From reasonably-priced jewellery, felted animals and homemade Christmas decorations to original paintings, ornaments, bric a brac and lots more.  Father Christmas will also be making a special guest appearance in his Grotto between 1pm and 4pm on Saturday 25th at our Fair.

For the kids (and adults not so keen on shopping), there’s a whole outdoor covered area of entertainment from face painting, a bubble artist, teddy tombola, Pin the Nose on the Snowman and for the more competitive, Hoop the Reindeer.

Our gift shop with a great selection of seasonal products and gifts will also be open, not to mention our fantastic little cafe with a mouthwatering selection of Richard’s homemade cakes and snacks.

For those that can’t make it to see Santa at the Fair, the Grotto will also open on 2nd and 9th December between 1-4pm, where Santa will be waiting to meet the Sanctuary’s smallest friends and take some last-minute present requests.

From the 25th November to 6th January, children are invited to come and enjoy the Christmas Trail, “a pet is for life, not just for Christmas”, which will challenge visitors to find clues that will help them match the pets with the average age they will live to.

From the 16th of December to 6th January, there will be various craft activities taking place at Ferne with sessions to make presents for pets.  These will run most days between 11am and 3pm (except 24th, 25th, 26th of December and 1st of January).  Nearer the time, please refer to website for times and availability of craft activities.

We look forward to seeing you over the weekend for fun, festivities and shopping – without the hustle and bustle of the city crowds or hassle of traffic or parking.

Free Admission to Craft Fair and throughout Fair weekend,  there will also be a reduced cost of just £2 per person to visit the Sanctuary. 

Sweet ending to a sour start for Toffee and Minty

In April, Ferne Animal Sanctuary was asked to rescue two very unwell horses from a badly managed livery yard. The four-year-old stallions had been confined to stables for three years and were severely malnourished, suffering from developmental problems, liver damage, UV intolerance, lice and dental problems.

Microchip testing revealed that the horses were not registered to the people who were keeping them. They had been bought as yearlings under a payment plan that was defaulted on, leading to court proceedings and bailiffs being authorised to retrieve the horses. However, at that time the whereabouts of both the animals and owners were unknown.

The horses come from an outstanding line of champions, showing that even if an animal begins its life with exceptional upbringing, a caring home and impressive pedigree; there is no immunity from this kind of subterfuge, neglect and abuse.

A member of the public visited the livery yard, noticed the appalling conditions and reported it to a local charity. The stallions were still registered with their former owner, who gave permission for them to be taken in by the Sanctuary.

“The poor boys were traumatised to be brought out into the light and the big wide world but they had no strength to put up an objection,” Nikki Haddock, Animal Care Manager at Ferne, said. “We were able to load them into the transporter with the help of sweets we brought for the journey, hence their new names: Toffee and Minty.”

The horses’ rightful owners decided that the best way forward was to sign them over, as it would have been dangerous to bring them home to a breeding farm with no quarantine facility. The Sanctuary could give the animals the intensive treatment they so desperately needed, slowly introducing them to daylight and outdoor paddocks and helping to improve their mobility day by day.

The beauty and character of the geldings is more apparent with every day as they gain strength and become healthier with the appropriate nutrition in the caring environment of the Sanctuary.  We are now looking to find loving homes for Toffee and Minty on a permanent loan basis. Their ideal owners would be lovers of the Arabian breed, experienced in educating young horses and be able to provide a suitable, safe environment.

For more information on Toffee and Minty and other horses and ponies looking to be rehomed click here

Black Cats and Brilliant Bats Half Term Fun at Ferne

Lots of fun activities lined up during the Half Term at Ferne for our “Black Cats & Bats” theme – dispelling the myth that black cats are unlucky and finding out about the amazing abilities of bats.  Craft activities include making your own cat bowl, cat toys and bat finger muppets.  There will also be a  trail of clues around the Sanctuary in as we try to dispel the myth that black cats are unlucky and highlight bats amazing abilities and value.

We will also be asking people to bring their carved pumpkins to the Sanctuary and we will be running a competition for the best carving.  Afterward, our resident animals will be able to enjoy the pumpkins as part of their enrichment.

For more information click here


Local businesses helping rescued animals to thrive

With costs rising every year to care for the ever-increasing number of abandoned and unwanted animals taken in by Ferne Animal Sanctuary, receiving support and sponsorship from local businesses is more vital now than ever.

“The number of animals we rescue each year sadly seems to be on the increase, so it is a great help to receive financial support from businesses,” Jenny Wheadon, Head of External Funding, said. “Our corporate sponsorship makes such a difference to the work we do here at Ferne.”

Thanks to the Sanctuary’s well-established work with rescued animals and its popularity within the local community and with visitors, several companies have seen Ferne as a perfect fit in helping them support a great cause and a local charity.

Since launching new sponsorship packages earlier this year, the Sanctuary is thrilled to welcome its first Corporate Ambassador, Oscar Mayer, to the Ferne family. The company, which produces prepared foods for the top UK grocery retailers, employs more than 900 people at its Chard site and has committed to donating a generous proportion of its profits to help improve the lives of hundreds of rescued animals.

“We are very proud to become the first Corporate Ambassadors to Ferne Animal Sanctuary,” said Chloe Messer, Employee Engagement Co-ordinator. “We reached out to our employees and asked them who they would like Oscar Mayer to actively support in the local community. There was overwhelming support and an enormous respect for this lovely organisation and it was clear that our workforce wanted to get involved. What is truly inspiring for all of us at Oscar Mayer is the obvious commitment and passion for the work Ferne Animal Sanctuary does. From humble beginnings the Sanctuary has continued to grow, improve and evolve and now is an integral part of the community, that really delivers results. We are also really impressed with the work that they do with local schools and other groups ensuring that they share their passion and providing important education to the wider community. We look forward to getting more involved and hopefully building a great partnership”.

MailaDoc Ltd, a print and postal solutions firm based in Somerset, has also chosen to enhance their social responsibility by becoming a Corporate Supporter of Ferne and its deserving cause.

Their generosity will help the Sanctuary to care for the hundreds of domestic pets, farm animals and horses who have been neglected or have owners who can no longer look after them. Without this kind of support, animals that deserve a second chance at life could go without the medical attention and loving home they so desperately need.

If your company is interested in either becoming a Corporate Ambassador or finding out more about Corporate Sponsorship, please see our Corporate Sponsorship page on our website:

Art Exhibition at Ferne

Alzheimer’s Society has been working in partnership with Ferne Animal Sanctuary and the Blackdown Hills (AONB) Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to produce an exhibition of autumnal art which is now on display at Ferne’s new Visitor Centre until the 6th December.

With help from Blackdown Hills Nature and Wellbeing volunteer Sue, Memory Café members have created some beautiful seasonal artwork in the form of stained glass window displays inspired by the Blackdown Hills AONB. Sue has started to lead seasonal art sessions where there are photographs, maps and information about the local landscape for people to look at, chat and reminisce about. Many members grew up on the hills and enjoy sharing stories of cycling and picking apples from local orchards during their childhood.

The group’s autumn artwork will be exhibited in the Sanctuary’s new conference room until the beginning of December. The Memory Café meets fortnightly on Wednesdays between 10.30am and 12.30pm at English Martyrs Church Hall, Chard.


Our rescue dogs need your help!

We are in desperate need of a purpose-built area where our rescue dogs can learn to relax, play and explore new environments as part of their rehabilitation journey.  To fund this project, we need your help with our ‘Ferne Rescue Dogs Appeal’ – every penny counts!

Many of our rescue dogs are nervous, unsure and untrusting of other dogs and of humans because of the trauma they have experienced from neglect, abuse or abandonment prior to their arrival at Ferne.

This new area will provide a safe outdoor multi-sensory place where our most timid, traumatised, abused or elderly dogs can learn to relax, play and explore new environments as part of their recovery” said Tara Nirula, Re-Homing Manager.  “For some of them, it will also give them the chance to be around other dogs or humans, without fear, providing an invaluable opportunity to build up their confidence and trust again in both humans and other dogs.”

The area will include open spaces for those dogs ready to play or exercise and for the more explorative, a maze of woven archways to explore and a sandy ‘beach’ and water play area for a little bit of fun time.  For our older dogs, the quiet shady areas may prove to be the perfect spot for some well-earned outdoor downtime. For all the dogs, the variety of environments will undoubtedly make the time they spend with whilst waiting to be rehomed, pass more enjoyably.  For some dogs, who are with us for longer periods, it will also enable us to keep them stimulated with obedience and agility training.

Please help us to help them! Ferne Rescue Dogs Appeal