Apprentice Challenge 2022: Wellies on, gloves off!

Published on March 3, 2022 by Alex Eade

Instead of the Allotment some of us thought we were travelling to (good red herring Tom B…) February’s Apprentice Challenge took us to Wellies On, a Community Interest Company on a Farm just outside Colchester. Challenges included petting goats, taking selfies with animals, playing with goats, welly wanging, feeding goats, building animal sculptures, and (if you’re Steve) trying to steal goats.

Two Dairy Goats

First things first, we got our wellies on (literally) and had a tour of the farm. First, we went into their big barn and met the dairy goats, pygmy goats, and horses. One of the horses, Romeo, had only been there four days and although he was a little nervous he made us all very welcome! The dairy goats were not nervous at all and ate as much sliced banana as we could give them. 

Next up was the shed of chickens and ducks – we had to dip our wellies going in and out of their section to keep them safe. Ed was very excited to collect two duck eggs, and some of us braved a cuddle with a chicken or a duck – living out our Joey and Chandler dreams! 

After dipping our wellies again, we headed out to the fields and met two lovely pigs, one called Gertrude, who were 15 years old and enjoyed eating, sleeping, sunbathing and mud bathing. Not a bad life! They were very put off when we walked over to the sheep pen and took the food we had with us. We went into the pen with the sheep and started feeding them by hand – some of them got stuck in straight away, with a few of the younger ones holding back until they realised the food was going fast and they needed to get in there quickly! 

Emeke with a sheep

We then met the ram and a few more goats and ponies who were outside, before heading back to start our Challenges. The three teams split off and each took part in a Scavenger Hunt, Welly Wanging, and an Apprentice style pitch. 

The scavenger hunt meant lots more time playing with the animals – fantastic! We went into the paddock for Welly Wanging – each team member had five chances to throw their welly as far as possible – collecting five, 10 or 15 points for each marker it flew past. The winner from each team got to play in the final – our best wangers turned out to be Emeke, Shaak and J – after a very tense battle with some false starts, J took the crown! 

Team Welly Wanging

The slightly more serious challenge was to come up with a way for the farm to secure regular sponsorship or income, without too much output. We heard two very serious ideas, and one about Only Farms which really should have come from Baker’s Dozen…but they did a 180 and their excellent pay it forward plans meant that they WON ANOTHER APPRENTICE CHALLENGE. (What have you got on Tom B, and can you please let us into the bribery???)

Bailey and a white horse

After saying goodbye to the animals and checking that Steve didn’t have a pygmy goat stashed in his bag, we headed to the Donkey and Buskins pub in Layer de la Haye for lunch.