A BROTHER and sister duo have taken on an exciting new venture in their careers while both still in their 20s by becoming joint directors of a business that hires out all kinds of animals from alpacas to camels. Oakley Whilock, aged 23, and Chloe Whilock-Harvey, aged 28, of Oakleys Farm in Kingsley Moor both took on ‘The Animal Company’ in January which lends external businesses animals to use in advertisement and production as well as providing ways for children to be educated about domestic and exotic mammals. The farm caters for 17 reindeers (of which five are in-calf), donkeys, alpacas, ducks, guinea pigs, meerkats, camels, chickens and rabbits.
The Animal Company served the likes of Tesco, Disney and television programme Coronation Street among many others over its 12 years of existence before Oakley and Chloe took on the mantle.
“I originally started on the farm when I left school and started working for myself before going into breeding and poultry,” Oakley said, who has lived at the farm all of his life.
“We have always sold Christmas trees every year and started doing Christmas on the Farm two years ago when we were hiring out reindeer.
“Chloe has been here since November and we acquired The Animal Company in January.”
One of the services set up by the business is a ‘mobile petting farm.’
“You can build your own package and whether you want ducks, chickens, goats, donkeys or rabbits and then it goes out to schools and birthday parties,” Chloe explained.
“We talk to children about what they eat, what they produce, how they reproduce, all educational things really.”
The Animal Company has a lot of events lined up to take part in during 2020 such as a charity family fundraiser at Trentham Lakes and the Leek & District Show, as well as a few special trips with the camels.
Although they do have volunteers from Reaseheath College helping out as well as people on an ad-hoc basis, the company is mostly run by Oakley and Chloe themselves.
They explained what is it is like to operate the business.
“It’s not straight forward as people might think,” Chloe stated. “You’ve got licensing, insurance, paperwork and permits.
“If you take the animals out you’ve got to log it with the council.
“We have to worm the animals every three months, give them vitamins and we spend about two hours feeding them all.”
Oakley added: “Through the winter is the hardest time.”
Both said they enjoyed doing the job they do and spoke of how busy they can get at different points throughout the year.
“Weekends are obviously bigger than anything and then we have got the mobile petting farm at schools during the week,” Oakley commented.
Chloe said: “In summer it’s every weekend without fail. At Easter, the mobile petting farm is busy because it’s all about new babies and bunnies and chicks and ducklings.
“Reindeer in December is pretty much everyday.
“Another thing we do every year is go down to Reading where Google executives from all around the world have a training week.
“Part of that is at a country hotel, where they stay, and we provide sheep that are placed in a massive pen in this marque.
“They’ve got to herd the sheep, who have got flags on them, and they’ve got to get them into the corners with the matching colours as part of their training.”
The company has received requests from all around the British Isles including Ireland and the Isle of Man.
To get in touch with the farm, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Oakley on 07447 028015.
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