The cows at Oghill Farm, now better known as Tickety Moo, know that everyone loves the ice-cream made from their milk and because of this they voluntarily queue up to be milked several times a day!
If you don’t believe me, go to the Tickety Moo Farm at Killadeas, a short distance from Enniskillen, and resist your immediate instinct to head for the ice-cream shop/cafe. Instead, veer right and go into the large cowshed, or rather up the stairs and onto the cow viewing platform.
Here you can watch Tickety Moo’s Jersey cows going about their business of eating, sleeping and … well you know what. Same as any other cows, I hear you say. Indeed so, says I.
Look closer and you will see the cows voluntarily wandering over to a gate where they are scanned. If they haven’t recently been milked the gate automatically opens and in they go. Once inside, and deemed in need of milking by the milking robot, the cows under-carriage is automatically washed and dried with warm flowing air. After this the robotic milking machine seeks out and attaches itself to the cows teats and it is milked. Once this is done the cow leaves by the exit gate and the next eligible cow enters. Not a person in sight.
Why do the cows offer themselves for milking like this?
Well, truth be told they are not really that interested in the fact that you like Tickety Moo ice-cream. What entices them in is a special, and obviously delicious, food portion which is also automatically provided to the cow as it is being milked. As an incentive to give up its milk, this special feed is awarded in direct proportion to the cow’s average milk yield in the previous seven days. The more it gives, the more it gets.
After a while the cow gets used to the process and offers itself for milking around the same time each day (or rather between 2 and 5 times per day with an average of 3.3 times!)
What surprised me more than this voluntary milking process was the pampering these cows receive including free massages, for which they obediently line up awaiting their turn as well. When the cow brushes against one of the ‘massage’ machines it automatically switches itself on and moves around the cows personage massaging it until it walks away, at which point the machine switches itself off.
While you can’t see them in the picture above, the cows lying down have ‘pillows’ so to the keep correct posture. The sleeping platforms are heated.
These pampered cows produce some of the most delicious ice-cream I have ever had. While Tickety Moo ice-cream can be found in various outlets in Northern Ireland – including Maud’s ice-cream shop in Enniskillen – and further afield nothing beats going out to the farm and seeing the cows. Tickety Moo has a second ice-cream shop at the seaside resort of Rossnowlagh, across the border in County Donegal – but no cows there.
I understand that other farm animals are sometimes on display at Killadeas but I didn’t have time for that. It was ice-cream o’clock when I had finished viewing the cows.
TIckety Moo offers a great selection of ice-creams in a cone or tub, together with various sundaes and the like. Choosing what to have is the difficult bit as everything looks so delicious. The friendly staff are very patient and don’t rush you in this all important decision.
While the shop focuses on ice-cream, coffee and other treats are available should you want this instead of, or in addition to, your ice-cream. Tubs of ice-cream are available for takeaway.
There are picnic tables outside and you can bring your own food (presumably excluding ice-cream!).
Summing up, don’t leave County Fermanagh without visiting the Tickety Moo Farm and ice-cream shop, if it’s open. A clear favourite with children young and not so young!
Where did the name Tickety Moo come from? I have no idea.
Sadly, this is a seasonal business only open daily during the summer (from mid April to the end of September) with weekend opening at other times. Actual opening hours seems to vary a bit but 11am-6pm seems to be minimum. I suggest you call ahead if making a special trip to see the farm.
Admission to the farm is free – sadly the ice-cream is not. That said, it is reasonably priced given its superior quality.
Address: Oghill Farm, Killadeas
Directions: About 15 minutes drive from Enniskillen. Well signposted and easy to find once to get to Killadeas.
Phone: 028 6862 8779
This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on many trips to Enniskillen. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Get out and about on Lough Erne – or to start the loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – “Fare thee well Enniskillen, ………..”