Robots making ice cream? It’s true!

When my friend Zoe suggested we do something together, I asked her what would interest her. Her response was, “something farm related”. This stumped me for all of around three seconds. After all, we were in Co. Fermanagh and agriculture is a major industry in the county. I suggested we visit the Tickety-Moo, a dairy farm based in Killadeas, near Enniskillen. It is a fifth generation farm, owned by the Grey family. The farm began in 1898 when four cows were milked by hand on a three legged stool. It has since advanced greatly and 210 cows are milked daily (by robots), producing around 25 litres each per day.

tickety moo farm shop

Tickety-Moo is located approximately 15 minutes outside of Fermanagh’s largest town, Enniskillen. It is well signposted and very easy to find. There is ample parking at the farm shop. Zoe and I like cows, but we like to eat more, so we visited the ice cream shop first.

tickety moo ice cream farm shop

Each year, Tickety-Moo produce 18 different ice cream flavours. This year’s flavours include ‘Bubblegum Mallow’, ‘Lemon Meringue’ and’ Liquorice and Blackcurrant’. On display was a Jaffa Cake flavour, which I would have loved to try. Sadly, the last had been sold before our arrival. I’ll have to return for that.

tickety moo ice cream farm shop

We both ordered sundaes as a simple tub or cone would not suffice. Zoe had a ‘Summer Breeze’ which was full of fruit, with a beautiful mango and passionfruit sorbet (yes, I had to try it). I went for a ‘Cinematic’ sundae solely because it included popcorn. I wasn’t disappointed – along with the popcorn, there was the original  Just Jersey ice cream as well as  Double Caramel Fudge.

tickety moo ice cream farm shop

Summer Breeze sundae

After our ice cream, we went outside to explore. One corner of the farm is home to a ram. I grew up spending days in fields with sheep and they are one of my favourite animals. This ram was not the friendliest, so we didn’t hang around too long.

tickety-moo ice cream farm shop ram

The farm has a viewing area of the cow shed and it’s possible to watch the cows milk themselves. Yes, you heard that right. The cows are part of a voluntary milking system, which means they bring themselves into the milking area themselves. As they are being milked by robots, they are given an allowance of concentrate feed. The robot grants permission for the cow to milk and feed based on the last time it successfully milked. As the cows get used to this way of milking, they visit the robots at the same times each day. Most cows milk two to five times per day.

tickety moo ice cream farm shop cows shed

The cows live in luxury. They lie on beds that retain heat, have pillows to keep their posture correct and when they need a massage, there are brushes around the cow shed they can lie against. During the summer months, the cows are fed on a ‘zero grazing’ system. For those who are not agriculture experts, this is when grass is cut daily and brought freshly into the cow shed.  As we were browsing the cow shed, we spoke briefly to one of the farmers who was able to answer all our questions.

tickety moo cow shed

tickety moo cow shed

Cows queuing for a massage

I really enjoyed my time at Tickety-Moo. The sundaes were beautiful and I got to reminisce about my childhood by spending time with the cows and sheep (when I was younger, I had a cow called Sucky and two sheep called Lisa and Lassie). This was the first time I got to see robot milking take place and it was brilliant to watch it happen. I will have to return to Tickety-Moo soon, if only to get some Jaffa Cake ice cream.

tickety moo cow shed

**Zoe was the photographer for the day and all photos belong to her. More of her work can be found here**

Practical Information:

Tickety-Moo, Oghill Farm, DP1 Oghillis, Killadeas, Irvinstown, Co. Fermanagh, BT94 1RG

Telephone: 028 6862 8779

Prices: £2-£5

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The shop is open each day until mid September 12.00 – 18.00, after which it operates only on weekends.

Have you been to an open farm before?



  1. 11/08/2015 / 10:18

    I’ve read a lot about those robot milking systems – they seem to be of benefit to both cattle and farmers. Though am I right in saying these cattle in particular never go out to pasture? The dairy industry is something that I am a little uneasy with. But typically I can not imagine being without it… Ideally I would get all my milk direct from a farmer I know and trust. Though it doesnt always work out….

    Liquorice and Blackcurrant icecream sounds exceptionally good tho! Might just have to go and have a nosey myself one of these days!
    Laura recently posted…What Food? What Wine? – Wine Pairing with LambMy Profile

    • Sarah
      11/08/2015 / 17:50

      We asked the farmer about how often they got outside and usually they would each day but this summer has been quite wet and the fields are too “boggy” for grazing or anything else really. That’s been standard for a lot of Fermanagh (and probably NI) farmers this “summer”.

      Can’t say I’ll be queuing for the L&B ice cream – that can be all yours!

    • Sarah
      11/08/2015 / 18:04

      Oh definitely do – try all the weird and wonderful flavours. Saying that, I stuck with my usual toffee/caramel like flavours. Mmmm

  2. Kas
    11/08/2015 / 19:21

    I love the photo with the massage machine: That one cow is totally hogging it while the others patiently wait!

    • Sarah
      11/08/2015 / 22:30

      They are so disgusted that they cannot even look at the selfish cow. Love it!

  3. 12/08/2015 / 16:02

    I have a 3 year old god daughter from England who is visiting us in Fermanagh this month and I think a visit to Tickety-Moo is just up her street (and mine).

    • Sarah
      12/08/2015 / 16:09

      I think you would be doing yourself a favour really… 😉

  4. 26/08/2015 / 17:09

    I love that you can have a tour around the farm and see where the ice-cream comes from. Great fun for the kids.

    Your friend has an eye for capturing pictures at the most opportune moment – the one of the cow getting a massage is just brilliant.
    Sarah recently posted…Classic Victoria Sponge LoafMy Profile

    • 29/08/2015 / 17:05

      Zoe has an unhealthy love for cows so if anyone is gonna get good pics of them, it’s her!

  5. Marilyn Vance McGaughey
    05/02/2016 / 22:19

    I love the photos of the cows and the ram. Is this the Oghill townland in Drumkeeran – Lurg – Fermanagh? If so, some of my Vance ancestors lived there for many years. The countryside looks beautiful. I would love to visit. Marilyn Vance McGaughey. Atlanta, Georgia USA

    • 07/02/2016 / 22:22

      It’s a beautiful part of the world of course!

      I think you have a greater knowledge on townlands than I do as I have no idea!

  6. Marilyn Vance McGaughey, Ph.D.
    25/03/2016 / 22:19

    Sarah, thank you for your reply. I appreciate you taking your time to do so. Oghill farm is about in the correct place for the Oghill Farm I was talking about. The ice cream and activities look lovely. Good luck with this project. It must be a lot of hard work but with a lot of fun involved too. Best Regards, Marilyn Vance McGaughey.

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