Farmyard Posts

by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

National Farm Animal Awareness Week 2014

September 13th, 2014

September 14th – 20th is National Farm Animal Awareness Week!

 

 

While the museum isn’t celebrating the week in the same way we do Bear Awareness Week or Wolf Awareness Week, you should still come out and say hello to your favorite Farmyard animals. You can even buy a Duck to help offset the cost of feeding our hoofstock and maybe win a really awesome prize on October 4th when the ducks race at the American Tobacco campus!

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

It’s Closer to Winter than Spring!

September 1st, 2014

North Carolina might stay comfortably warm well into October, but I start thinking about blizzards and snowpeople by September. So in honor of “it’s almost winter, and Sarah wants to wear her comfy sweatshirts again” Day, a video of Elaina, Rocky and Patches, all wearing their winter finest:

YouTube Preview Image

Join the conversation:

  1. Is “it’s almost winter, and Sarah wants to wear her comfy sweatshirts again” Day always September 1st? If so, I’d like to get it on the calendar.

    If yes, September will be a wonderful month with this and “Hug Kent day” on the 27th.

    Posted by sherry
  2. Keeper Comment :

    I don’t think it’s technically closer to winter until September 21st. But I’m happy to celebrate early.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Welcome Brooklyn and Bronx

August 28th, 2014

Brooklyn and Bronx, two non-releasable great horned owls arrived today from CLAWS, Inc. We’ll . We’ll write more about them in the future, but for now, a few photos.

They are getting used to their new home in the Farmyard… come say hi.

Brooklyn on the left, Bronx on the right

Brooklyn on the left, Bronx on the right

2014 Aug 28 032

2014 Aug 28 059

 

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Farmyard Visitors

August 23rd, 2014

Early one morning, I got a radio call from Sprout Cafe asking if we could come pick up a bird who had flown into the glass. Ranger Greg got to the cafe before me and handed me a small, white paper lunch bag; bird inside.

Look who it was!!

This is either a female or an immature (male or female) Ruby-throated Hummingbird. The little bird had a few sips of sugary Gatorade and rested for about 10 minutes, before flying to the top of a River Birch tree.

Only a few days after the hummingbird visit, I picked up this scaly, little fellow. This Rough Earth snake had been hunting insects (or napping) in the middle of a big mulch pile that I was in the process of spreading out and kept getting right in my way. He/She was relocated safely away from the tines of my rake.

 

Most recently, this lovely lady dropped in to visit. I think this particular Grey fox has been visiting the Farmyard for several years. She uses the train tracks like a highway from the wooded areas at the back of our campus to the more populated sections by the train station and farmyard. She was a common morning visitor back when Ducky was alive. She would  creep around the edges of the farmyard and Ducky would puff up and charge at her and scare her off. Without the duck to try and catch for breakfast (assuming that’s what she was after), she hasn’t come around much in the mornings.

Ranger Greg has done many blog posts featuring the resident foxes. Check out his blog for better fox photos than my old cell phone camera can take.

 

Nearly every morning, I get to say hello to one of the most frequent (and my favorite) farmyard visitors: a female Eastern Towhee. Like the Grey fox, this little bird was also attracted to the farmyard seemingly because of Ducky. She hops all the way from the front entry plaza where she spends most of the day, up to the farmyard where she pops in and out of the animal yards, picking up bugs or pieces of spilled chow. She used to share Ducky’s breakfast with him and could be seen later in the morning tucked up alongside him taking a nap. Nowadays, I see her hopping her old route along the back of the farmyard, often with a male in tow. She’s identifiable by her consistent lack of tail feathers (she usually has only 2 or 3) and spotted rufous left side.

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  1. love hearing about our guests- thanks for sharing Sarah!

    Posted by sherry
  2. Your hummingbird photos are really impressive, such a cool experience to see one so close.

    Posted by Ranger Ro

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

There’s a Pig on my Trailer!

August 20th, 2014

I heard some noise coming from the compost trailer when I was cleaning the pig yard. Look who had hopped inside!

Auggie checks out what Miss Piggy is doing, but quickly finds something else to do.

All done inspecting the trailer.

I think I’ve earned her approval.

Join the conversation:

  1. Love Miss Piggy’s snout of approval!!

    Posted by djcronce

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Update: Frog Eggs

July 29th, 2014

A few weeks ago, I wrote up a post about some frog eggs we found in the alpaca pool and the tadpoles they hatched into.

I’m sorry to report that none of the tadpoles made it into frogs. However, only a few days after the last tadpole disappeared a whole new batch of eggs was laid in the alpaca pool during a night of heavy rainstorms. I collected the eggs up and the new group of tadpoles have already hatched and started swimming around. I’ll post new photos when these guys get a bit bigger; which is likely soon as this group is growing a lot faster than the first bunch did!

An interesting fact to leave you with:

It’s entirely possible that all of the tadpoles in this new batch are siblings! A single female Grey Treefrog (which is what we think these tadpoles are) can lay as many as 2,000 eggs at once!!

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum since 2010. I love to read and learn; it's rare that a day goes by at work when I'm not suppressing the urge to spew out something cool I just learned to my coworkers. In my spare time, I play the 'cello, snuggle my dog and reminisce about snowmen and Nor'easters.
I work Sunday through Thursday. You can find me raking the Farmyard in the morning or training the donkey and dwarf goats in the afternoon.

Cows Have Horns, too!

July 24th, 2014

Lots of guests come into the farmyard, see Max, and call him a “cow.” I assume that a few know he’s not a cow but choose to use “cow” rather than “steer” because it’s an easier word of small kids, but I’d bet more people just don’t know what the difference is. So here’s a quick run down of the various common terms used for cattle:

Cow – A female who has had a baby (or many babies).

Heifer- A female who has not had a baby.

Bull- An intact male.

Steer- A castrated male.

Ox/Oxen- adult, male or female, trained in draft work (pulling). Often males that have been castrated as adults.

Calf- A baby, male or female.

Bullock- In the UK, a castrated male. In the USA, an intact male, less than a year old.

Cattle- either gender (or both) in a group.

 

What about the horns?

Horns are common on both males and females, especially in dairy breeds. It’s not usually possible to tell if you’re looking at a bull or cow just by looking at their face. You’d need to get a look at their bellies to tell them apart for sure. Udders are only visibly present in cows. Heifers have udders but they aren’t typically distended or visibly hanging because she’s never had a calf. Intact males are bulls, castrated males are steer.

Some cattle are naturally hornless. This is called being “polled” and is a genetic trait in cattle that can be passed down to their offspring. It’s also common for cattle on farms to have their horns removed as very young babies, so they never grow, and to have the horns on adult cattle cut or blunted so they don’t hurt each other or the people working with them. Max keeps his own horns blunted by rubbing them on all sorts of stuff, like toys, stumps, and his fence.

Max

Max, napping in the sun

jersey heifer

An adorable little Jersey heifer with her horns

Here’s a handsome naturally polled, Jersey bull from MaryJanesFarm in Idaho.

 

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by , Keeper
I've been at the museum for many years now. I spend most of my time behind-the-scenes in the Vet room. You might catch me out and about with one of our many veterinarians checking on the animals.
When I'm not hanging out with one of our vets I'm usually in the Vet room running a fecal looking for intestinal parasites! If I'm not up to my elbows in poo you'll find me at the computer updating the health records of our animals or preparing for Vet Rounds.

Quick Pics

July 17th, 2014
Retro

Retro

100_5502

Mudsy

Franklin

Franklin

Auggie

Auggie

Salt

Salt

Zoe

Zoe

Gus

Gus

Canebrake

Canebrake

 

 

 

 

 

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Donation for Max

July 8th, 2014

max donation 001

Last month, a 2-year-old Museum member who is a huge fan of Max donated some items and money to take care of our big bovine. She and her family thought it would be great to celebrate her birthday by spreading some love to Max. A big thanks from the animal department for the recent donations. A couple of cute Max photos to share with you all below.

 

 

Max used to be little

Kent teaching Max to walk on a leash.

A young Kent, teaching a young Max to walk on a leash.

 

But not anymore

2014 Mar 13 033

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by , Director
I've been at the Museum sooooo long - longer than many of our interns have been alive. I do a little bit of everything as part of my job: care for the animals, work with the keepers and other staff, spend time with guests. Lucky me!
I spend a lot of time behind-the-scenes, or here after hours, but if you really want to see me, you'll have to sign-up for a behind-the-scenes program.

Farewell our Feathered Friend

July 2nd, 2014
Christopher resting in the vet room

Christopher resting in the vet room

Christopher, our barred owl that resides on the Farmyard, was euthanized on Monday. Keepers found him about one month ago not eating and on the ground several days in a row. We brought him inside, checked him out and then sent him to the NCSU vet school. To be honest, I assumed he would not improve, but after multiple tests, treatments, and supportive care, he took a turn for the better and starting eating and perching. Unfortunately, that turn for the better didn’t last. Sadly, the difficult decision was made this past Monday. He will be missed by so many people!

My favorite blog post about him was talking about when I took him to a classroom. There is a great drawing of him (and me, looking skinny, with my hair down, tongue out, and purple Museum dress).

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Keeper Comment :

    Last night when I was pet sitting I was outside with the dogs and a Barred Owl flew over our heads. It was very cool. I like to think that is was the spirit of Christopher letting us know all is well!!! And then I had a dream about him last night… he was acting very cute in the dream!!!

    Posted by Katy Harringer

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