Animals at the Village

When you come to visit the museum, be sure to save time to see the many farm animals. At one time it was very common, … for kids to be raised with, handle and care for a variety of animals. When children were raised on farms there were eggs to collect, cows to milk, pigs to feed and barn cats to play with, often before the children ate their own breakfasts.

These days children very rarely spend time, or even know much about what happens, on a farm and “who” lives there. We often have school groups that come to tour and I usually take them into the barn to see who’s home. One time as we stood looking at the milk cows, I asked them where chocolate milk came from. No one knew. When I said it came from brown cows, many of them nodded  in agreement (I have noticed that many farmers tend to have a very dry sense of humor).

Come to the museum and introduce your family to our Big Black/Duroc Hampshire pigs, Jersey/Normandy milk cows, Jacob sheep, La Mancha milk goats, New Zealand rabbits and lots of different breeds of chickens (our favorites are the Aracana hens that lay blue or green or pink eggs).

We really like to raise heritage and less common breeds. This is partly because heritage animals can be much more hardy to difficult weather conditions and different available forages. They can also often have more successful births without human intervention.

Most people know that we are losing our diversity of seeds for the garden, not as many know that the same thing is happening with livestock. Mega farms tend to raise one of two particular breeds of animals because it helps make profit easier. Hereford cattle, Angus cattle and common white pigs are very often raised. For Thanksgiving turkey, most birds raised are “Big Bronze”. The problem is with almost exclusively raising one or two breeds, if ever a disease particular to that breed causes them to die out, we may all be forced to become vegetarians, or worse yet, we could lose whole species of animals, not just that one breed. Most chickens like leghorns have “forgotten” how to hatch eggs because it has been bred out of them. And in the case of the big bronzes, if they’re allowed to live past a year old they become so big they can’t fly and often can’t even walk.

We also do a certain amount of animal rescues. Sometimes people can’t or even won’t take care of their animals. When that happens, the animals are sometimes taken away so they do not suffer. There are farms where they are placed with people who will care for them. We have had beef cattle, goats, riding and draft horses, ducks, turkeys, llamas, pigs and lots of roosters brought here. When we find new homes for them, they move on. Stop by to see if we have any current rescues, along with the animals we raise.

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