SWINDON, England, June 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- The National Trust has revealed that it will be broadcasting the birth of a foal live over the internet as part of its MyFarm experiment*.
Queenie, the only Shire Horse mare at Wimpole Home Farm in Cambridgeshire is preparing to give birth, and the live streaming - which can be viewed now - is a key part of the MyFarm project, which aims to reconnect people with the realities of farming. It is the first major birth on the farm since the project started in May, and it was a huge decision to broadcast it.
Richard Morris, farm manager, said: "There's no guarantee the birth will be straight forward, particularly as Queenie had a miscarriage last year and a previous foal had to be put down due to a deformity. We don't want to hide people from the risks involved - it's fundamental to our purpose in reconnecting people with the realities of farming to allow the possibility of lows as well as highs. If all goes well, MyFarm Farmers will be able to name the foal and so on, but not until it's a few days old. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, but that's reality."
Shire Horses are increasingly scarce with only 900-1,500 breeding females currently in the UK**, and while they are no longer a core part of the working operations on the farm, this birth is a significant moment for the entire breed and for Wimpole's work with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST).
With no way of knowing exactly when Queenie will foal, a webcam*** has been installed in her stable and MyFarm Farmers will be able to watch the whole birth as it unfolds, live on the MyFarm website. Infrared lighting is being installed to ensure that viewers will still be able to see the birth, even at night.
In the meantime, Queenie is being carefully monitored by Wimpole horse manager, Emma Warner.
Queenie will be looked after 24 hours a day until she gives birth and the farm's vet will be on stand by in case he is needed.
Viewer can keep up-to-date with how Queenie is doing and watch the foaling live on the MyFarm website.
Notes to Editors:
* The MyFarm experiment which launched on 4 May 2011, aims to connect thousands of people with how food is produced by giving them a greater say in how a real working farm is run.
** Figures from the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
*** The webcam in Queenie's stable has been fixed in such a way it won't disturb her in any way during labour. The camera is remotely operated so no-one apart from those tending Queenie will be in the stable at any time.
About The National Trust:
The National Trust is one of the most important nature conservation charities in Europe. The Trust is involved in the whole food chain, with 200,000 hectares of food producing land, over 150 restaurants and tearooms, and historic kitchen gardens, orchards and mills. The charity has community growing spaces -– from allotments to kitchen gardens -– at over 50 locations around the country and is increasing these annually. These spaces inspire the Trust's 3.8 million members, 60,000 volunteers and visitors to think and learn about food. The National Trust is creating 1,000 new allotment plots on its land in the next three years to give local communities the space to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
Assistant Press Officer
The National Trust
Wilts SN2 2NA