Writer looking in awe of the horse who is looking into camera lens
Coco was angelic even when stealing mango chunks from her sheep neighbours. Credit: Izzah Kazi

I was never exposed to animals during my childhood, so I feel nervous around them.

After interviewing the editor of Farmers Weekly, I felt inspired to visit a farm. I’ve stroked a rabbit and a cat before, it was scary, but I got used to it once I realised that they weren’t a threat.

Stonebridge City Farm, is a registered charity in Nottingham that is free to visit and runs on donations. I was excited and nervous, but my predicament was, what do I wear?

I didn’t want to get my white trainers muddy, so I decided to go for black Sketchers ignoring the ‘dad shoe’ stigma attached to them. I opted for no jewellery because I didn’t want to get sheep saliva on my rings.

Before going, I researched animals but I won’t bore you with the stats about how animals equal happiness, allegedly.

When arriving, I saw the cutest rabbit keyring that I brought for my rabbit-obsessed cousin, and this hyped me up. I was ready.

Before approaching the area, I was stopped by what felt like a million bees buzzing past my ears. I could hear them but not see them, which freaked me out.

It turns out, they were swarming . . .this is when the old queen leaves with some of her bee mates and finds a new home. The remaining bees then have to decide where to live. Seems like a lot of drama to me. The only thing I was worried about was getting stung.

‘I bought some animal feed for 80p from the farm shop. I wish my dinners were that cheap’

I braved it and made it past the swarming bees to enter the land of sheep, goats, and ponies. It smelled like a farm, but it was tolerable.

I bought some animal feed for 80p from the farm shop. I wish my dinners were that cheap.

The sheep were behind wooden gates and I tried to get their attention by shaking the paper bag containing animal feed, but they weren’t interested. The baby goats, however, ran towards the gate like Usain Bolt, they could sense the food from a mile away.

I let my friend feed them first so I could build some courage. I scooped the animal feed out which didn’t look very appetising in my hand. Standing about three feet away, I stuck my hand out and eventually moved closer because they couldn’t reach it.

What happened next was insane, a baby goat inhaled animal feed from my hand. In one second, the pellets were gone and I’m glad that I didn’t wear rings because my hand got soaked in sticky baby goat slobber.

I will admit that they were the cutest things I’ve ever seen. We did have a bit of drama though, as the older goat was a bully and tried to intimidate the babies to steal all the food.

After sharing it out equally, the goats caught on that there was no food left, so they left.

I felt used.

The two cows were huge, and I tried to ignore the masses of cow dung in the grass and focus on the cute baas of the lambs.

Next up were the two meerkats, they had their own residence in a brick shed with glass windows. Now, I’ve seen the Compare The Market ads with Sergei and Aleksandr, so tell me why meerkats are tiny in real life?

Meerkat number one was stood on what looked like a fake tree stump. Apparently, one keeps a look out for danger hence the high vantage point and the other plays or eats and then they swap over. In my opinion, the meerkat didn’t do a great job of being a look out, he looked like he was about to fall asleep.

As the farm was getting ready to close, the animals were led into a barn, their overnight home. This is where I met Coco.

Coco the pony loved my camera lens, and she knew that she looked good. Every time my mobile was out, she was ready and posing. A tad vain if you ask me, but as the saying goes, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.

After Coco’s unexpected photography session, I moved on to see the rabbits who were minding their own business in their hutches. Absolutely adorable. I wasn’t allowed to pick one up (a rule that I was pleased with), but I watched and gushed over them from a safe distance.

What warmed my heart was the fact that many of the volunteers had a mental health challenge or learning disability and seeing the joy the animals brought to them was a magical moment.

They tell you that animals equal happiness and I have to agree that it’s true. I was on cloud nine after leaving, I don’t know what kind of magic they possess but I need a daily dose of it.

(My trainers survived by the way).

Click the link to find out more about Stonebridge City Farm