CHRIS DUNNE comes face-to-face with the star attractions of a newly-opened pet farm in Cork
HARRY, the night watchman at Rumley’s Pet Farm, has his beak out of joint. There are new inmates and they are causing quite a stir.
The cause of all the fuss is a pair of marmoset monkeys, bought from an advert in the Evening Echo’s Free Ads section last month!
Harry is a proud cockatoo, and he welcomes visitors to the pet farm just off the Cork-Bandon Road (near the Viaduct) and even says hello.
“Yes, Harry is our token doorman,” says the owner Ivan Rumley (pictured above). “My wife Sandy runs the café and oversees the play area and our two children, Emma, aged 12, and Stephen, aged 15, give a hand too during the school holidays. We employ six full-time people and four are part-timers.
“The pair of marmoset monkeys we recently acquired and they have definitely attracted a lot of attention,” adds Ivan. “They are an unusual, adorable animal who thrive in the wild in climates like Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru.
“And now we have the adorable primates here in Bishopstown, which is very exciting,” says Ivan.
So how did the monkeys, who originated in South America, end up in the Cork suburbs?
“Well, I am always looking for poultry to stock up,” says Ivan.
“Apart from the animal farm, we produce all our own produce, from fresh vegetables to dry-aged Angus sirloin strip steak from our own herd. My aim is to achieve complete traceability, unique in open farms.
“Every evening I usually trawl through the classified ads in the Evening Echo, and that is where I saw the small ad, advertising the marmoset monkeys for sale, and I rang the number.
“I thought the monkeys would be a great asset to the pet farm because they are so unusual and so adorable.
“It was a man from Northern Ireland who had them for sale. He was going into hospital for a serious operation and couldn’t look after the animals anymore.”
The unique primates didn’t come cheap.
“I paid in excess of 1,000 each for them,” says Ivan. “And I had to do a lot of research to find out how to feed them and look after them properly.
“They get fed baby food like Milupa and demand a varied diet, rich in vegetables and fresh fruit. They like hard-boiled eggs and cooked fish.
“Their treat is a tasty insect twice a week in the form of a grasshopper or mealworm.
“The monkeys also have a sweet tooth and like to be fed melted ice-cream and marshmallows.”