By Kendrea Rhodes
Natalie and Matt Egan had a vision. They wanted to create a fodder store with a difference, a shop focused on their love for animals and their desire for their lives to be centred within the Adelaide Hills. From their vision sprang the vibrant Lobethal Fodder Store which is soon to celebrate its two-year anniversary in February 2022.
“We wanted to create a beautiful space where people could not only come for their animal’s needs, but also beautiful giftware, local produce, plants and gardening needs too,” Natalie said.
Natalie’s passion for poultry is clear in the new Chook Nook where you’ll find chook feeders, waterers, nesting boxes, and their own Lobethal Fodder Store Happy Chook Mix (an alternative to layer pellets). It’s a one-stop shop for all things poultry including healthy, high welfare, well-bred chickens from local heritage chicken breeders, Bellandarreh Farm and Wattle Creek Farm.
The Fodder Store has animal feed for chickens, horses (hay, chaff), dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and birds (seeds and grains). As well as their own Chook Mix, they also make the Lobethal Fodder Store Hobby Farm Blend, good feed for goats, sheep and cows. The two-legged variety doesn’t miss out either, with takeaway coffee and treats like cornflake cookies, iced shortbread and gingerbread made by Deliciouslee Homemade Biscuits, Nairne.
The giftware includes things like avocado vases, propagation stations, plush toys, ceramics, pottery, indoor and outdoor ornaments, quirky pots, hand poured candles from Transform Scents (Woodside), Bellandarreh Farms preserves, cordials, sauces, relishes, and Gumeracha’s Mighty Mighty Coffee.
Plants feature both inside and out, with the carpark full of seedlings, herbs, flowers, shrubs and vegetables. Inside is the Garden Trug with many kinds of seeds, including organic, open pollinated heirloom seeds from Eden Seeds. You will also find potted plants, tools, watering cans, potting mixes, composts, fertilisers, indoor plants and hangers. They also have a Grow Free cart, the “Fodder Store Exchange” where you can drop off your excess produce and pick-up produce for free.
Lobethal local, Brendan Power is a horticulturalist of 20 years. He has worked at the Fodder Store for the past six months and will happily talk gardening with customers all day long!
Matt said, “Brendan and I put our heads together and decided we would beautify the top of Main Street by installing raised garden beds in the front car park.”
Matt and Brendan grow seasonal vegetables in the garden beds to share with the community in the Fodder Store Exchange. The vibrant foxglove flower display and water feature definitely brighten up the top end of the town.
Natalie and Matt have a lot of experience with animals and a deep affinity too. They live on a 20-acre hobby farm in Carey Gully with goats, sheep, chooks, ducks, a pony, alpaca, four dogs, cats, guinea fowl, cows and a bull name Bully. And it’s not uncommon for them to bottle feed kid goats, lambs or piglets in their lounge room. Caramelle, their house cow, comes and goes of her own accord for daily milking, providing fresh Jersey milk, some of which Natalie and Matt make into cheese and butter. Cilla the greyhound often joins them at work, and can be found either asleep, or waiting for a pat from friendly customers.
“We have been very lucky to have been welcomed and embraced by the beautiful local community,” Natalie said.
Everyone is welcome at the Lobethal Fodder Store as Glen the bantam rooster attests, greeting all in sundry with a loud crow. Customers often drop in with their animals to say hello and grab a takeaway coffee, while school children walking by come in to see Glen and the chickens.
“We love it when young children come in store to watch chicks hatching or hold the chicks,” Natalie said.
Their Facebook videos are very cute and worth a look — hatching chicks, baby goats and other fun animal antics. The Lobethal Fodder Store is at 99 Main Street, or you can contact them via email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone 8389 5399. Opening hours are weekdays from 8am – 5pm, Saturdays 9am – 3pm, and Sundays 10am – 4pm.