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
But not anymore
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).
Let’s take a look back at some of the goings on in the Animal Department. Some of these critters have moved on to further their careers and education, some of them have retired, some of them have passed away and some of them are still with us in the Animal Department, just older and wiser now! I have 10 years worth of memories and pictures of all the happenings in the Department… here are a few of my favorites! Keep your eyes peeled for many more to come!!!
The alpacas found themselves with quite a number of visitors in their yard one evening last week. I was in the farmyard with Jill and Kent when they called over to me to come see the frog eggs in the alpaca pool.
I rescued as many eggs as I could and moved them to a 5 gallon bucket. I say rescued only because we drain and scrub the pool daily and these eggs were soon to be “thrown out with the bathwater.” Generally, wild animals are very rarely in any need of actual rescuing and human intervention often causes more problems for the animals than it remedies.
After our newly laid egg masses were removed from the pool and settled into their new home, Jill called Ranger Greg to help us answer my “what now?” question. He assured us that there’s nothing more we can do for the eggs but wait and once they hatch, they should be just fine eating the algae in the water for at least a little while. One source I looked at said the eggs will hatch into teeny, tiny tadpoles in anywhere from 4 to 14 days.
So now we wait. I am terrible at waiting -really, I’ve checked on the bucket at least a dozen times today, just to make sure they’re okay-.
In the meantime, do you have any ideas as to what kind of frogs these will grow up to be?
In the time it took to write the first blog post, our little eggs have hatched! In 3 days, many of the eggs became tiny tadpoles, each a maximum of 1/4 inch long.
The biggest barn in the Farmyard is used to house our tools, bedding and hay. Loading hay into the Hay Barn generally takes a few people, mostly because we get a little competitive and stack as quickly as possible (7 minutes and change was our best time to load 70 bales into the barn!). This needs to happen every 6 to 8 weeks depending on how many bales we order (or how many our local farm has to offer us), the speed we go through them, and the size and quality of the bales.
Hay bales change size and weight throughout the year depending on how the grass is growing. Early to mid Spring can be a bit of a challenge for us since the bales tend to be at their smallest and Max is eating a whole bale on his own. The smaller, Spring bales don’t fit in our stacking system quite as easily as the larger bales we have during the rest of the year. The last hay delivery was not attended by Kent or myself. Apparently, when the people who typically help load the barn are on their weekend breaks, those who get involved in loading the hay barn decide to get a little bit creative with their stacking.
Here’s what the pigs’ home used to look like:
In March, we tore down this old yard (an original from when the Farmyard was first built) and built a larger yard set back into the woods. Then in April and May, we worked on building a new barn for the pigs.
And now that it is done:
Come check the pigs out lounging or wandering in the mulch.
I mentioned in the last post that the pig barn was being built. While many people seem to be longing for the pigs, I am not sure the pigs are feeling the same. They appear to be quite content in their vacation home. Some photos to document their journey
The Pigs and the Bears are doing just fine with this temporary set up. Granted, we’re not letting the bears near the pigs. Pigs get half the house and the bears get the other.
Look for the pigs back in the farmyard the first week in May.
the pigs’ yard was torn down and rebuilt- it’s now newer, larger, and set back in the woods. This week they are getting a new barn. The finished product will be in the same theme as the rest of the Farmyard. Initial photos and design are below. Check out the farmyard during construction.
The pigs will be back when the work is complete.
I recently refilled Lightning’s, our donkey’s, prescription. I forgot the donkey had a last name!
What should the last name(s) of the Museum’s animals be?