A farm has seized the initiative to liven things up on lockdown video calls through the introduction of a "virtual goat" in an unorthodox - and highly successful - method of farm diversification.
Cronkshaw Fold Farm, based in Lancashire, England, managed to steady the ship and improve profitability during Covid-19 restrictions by filming the farm's goats and uploading them to join unsuspecting people on Zoom video calls.
Allowing the public to "book a goat to add to your video calls to spice things up", for £5 (€5.66), Cronkshaw Fold Farm owner Dot McCarthy has already clocked up 10,000 "goat visits" - making some £50,000 (€56,630) in the process.
Not bad for an idea that "started as a joke"...
During normal times, the farm usually hosts holiday-makers, events and school trips - but made the move to virtual offerings when Covid-19's impact hit.
"One day your Goats will be on @5_News for joining video calls" said not even the wackiest fortune teller ever. When life is crackers, just goat with the flow 😆🤯🐐 @CronkshawFold https://t.co/0EEwKs1HOY
— Dot McCarthy (@DotMcCarthy) January 29, 2021
The enterprise has expanded its online range, offering virtual farm tours and allowing the public to "adopt a bee".
Commenting about its new-found success on social media, Cronkshaw Fold Farm explained how it will use this to improve the enterprise:
"We're super grateful to everyone who has booked a call with us so far - the £5 booking fee has meant we can keep our two staff in paid work [and in a very Covid safe environment as they spend their workday in the barn - the only downside is they go home smelling a bit goaty].
Any extra funds raised are all going towards installing equipment to make renewable power on site at the farm, switching farm machinery from diesel to electric and switching up our farming practices to the lowest carbon models possible to help us do all we can to help tackle climate change.
"We love being able to bring you a bit of silly fun during all this upheaval and will keep at it until we're all allowed out to play again," the farm concluded.