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.

Frog Eggs

June 18th, 2014

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.

The substitute “vernal pool”

The neighbors

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.

Look closely. See all those tiny black dots clumped together? Those are the eggs!

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?

 

Quick Edit:

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.

There are four tadpoles in this photo, can you spot them all?

 

 

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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.

Hay Stacks

June 6th, 2014

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.

IMG_20140511_141256_868

This is how I found the hay on Sunday when I came in. To an untrained eye, this might look like well-ordered hay; however, note how all of the hay bales are facing the same direction and the slight lean of the bales toward the left side of the photo.

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This is how I found the hay barn later that day. In total, 17 bales fell and several of them slipped out of their strings, leaving hay pretty much everywhere.

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A volunteer and I unstacked every one of the bales and restacked them in a more traditional pattern.

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Look how nicely organized they are!! Bales stacked in alternating directions use gravity to keep the bales on the row below them from falling, plus, they look pretty.

 

Join the conversation:

  1. I had no dealings with this debacle

    Posted by Jill
  2. Director Comment :

    I was involved in this stacking. It was amusing to say the least, as there were disagreements among the stackers as to the method the bales should be stacked.

    Of course, our main goal was to provide information for a blog post, so we succeeded.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels

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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.
Tags: , , , ,

Pig Yard: then and now

May 22nd, 2014

I’ve talked about changes with the pigs’ home a couple of times during the past month. (Here and here).

Here’s what the pigs’ home used to look like:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

pig barn 005

 

pig yard 003

And now that it is done:

pig yard new

pig barn

Come check the pigs out lounging or wandering in the mulch.

pigs

 

Join the conversation:

  1. It’s LOVELY!

    Posted by Wendy
  2. Nice digs!

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  3. Do you think we could have THREE little pigs?

    Posted by Wendy
  4. Director Comment :

    That’s a great question Wendy!

    Posted by Sherry Samuels

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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.

Pig Vacation

April 25th, 2014

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

Miss Piggy in the lead as the pigs walk away from the farmyard with volunteers and keepers

Miss Piggy in the lead as the pigs walk away from the farmyard with volunteers and keepers

Auggie catches up as they enter Catch the Wind

Auggie catches up as they enter Catch the Wind

Arrival at temporary housing

Arrival at temporary housing

Miss Piggy checking out her her vacation rental... the bear house

Miss Piggy checking out her her vacation rental… the bear house

Gus checking on things from the exhibit cave

Resident checking out the vacationers from the exhibit cave

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.

Join the conversation:

  1. They were quite content last night when I put them to bed.
    The progress of the house is going nicely too!

    Posted by Jill

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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.

Pig Barn Building this week.

April 22nd, 2014

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.

Picture1

Join the conversation:

  1. What an adorable pig barn!

    Posted by Wendy
  2. Keeper Comment :

    Can’t wait for them to see their new house!!!

    Posted by Katy Harringer
  3. Can we have a pig housewarming party?

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  4. Director Comment :

    What did you have in mind Ro?

    Posted by Sherry Samuels
  5. Bring them some snacks, maybe a few decorations like new hay or new enrichment items.

    Posted by Ranger Ro

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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.

QuikPost: Last name of animals?

April 8th, 2014

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?

Join the conversation:

  1. I think “Samuels” works, as you are the godmother of the Museum animals!

    Posted by Wendy
  2. I like “Samuels”. Another contender could be “Murray” for the street that the Museum is located on.

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  3. Of course, you could name by species (could be an assist to any new keeper unfamiliar with the animal names, if that is ever a challenge). Lightning Donkey, Henry Woodchuck, Gus Bear, etc.

    Posted by Wendy

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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.

Max’s Medication

April 5th, 2014

A couple of weeks ago Max, the steer, wasn’t feeling very well. He had some loose stool, a runny nose and wasn’t as interested in his food as normal. We had Dr. Cannedy come out to look at him to find out what was wrong. Dr. Cannedy came out and gave Max some medication to help with his stool quality as well as medication to help with the other symptoms. One of the issues was Max had an intestinal parasite. In order to treat this parasite Dr. Cannedy gave us medication to give to Max for the next 4 days. We were to give Max 2 tablets crushed into his chow with a little molasses dribbled over it to cover up the taste. Max weighs 774.0 kg (1702.8 lbs.) so his medication is a lot larger than what many of our other animals would get. Below are pictures of Max’s medication.

2014 Mar 13 029

Max’s medication is on the Right – 2 of these tablets per day crushed into food. The medications on the Left are an Aspirin tablet, Cosequin capsule, Baytril tablet and a Papaya pill.

2014 Mar 13 032

Max’s medication.

2014 Mar 13 030

Side view of Max’s medication.

2014 Mar 13 033

Max taking his medication like a good boy!!!

Max took his medication very well. The molasses helped a great deal! Max was also given Gatorade water which he drinks very quickly! And now Max is doing much better and is almost completely back to his normal self!

Join the conversation:

  1. the photos, even with the ruler and coins, don’t do justice to just how big these pills were!

    Posted by sherry

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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.

Early Morning Walk

March 27th, 2014

Lightning and I don’t always have enough time first thing in the morning to make the long walk out to Explore the Wild, but when we do, it’s always worth the trek.

Lightning and I walk on a service path behind the train tracks and meet the moss cattle and deer that inhabit the train pasture

Next, we walk down the paths in Explore the Wild and say, “Good Morning” to the wolves.

 

Then, we stop in at the Bear House and check on Jessi and Autumn…we might have stolen some of Jessi’s breakfast…

 

Lightning goes for a walk every day, as do most of our farmyard animals. Even the pigs and Max! So next time you’re here, if you come by the farmyard and don’t see your favorite furry (or feathered) critter it’s probably a good thing, they’re likely out enjoying the sunshine in the company of a keeper.

Join the conversation:

  1. Love it!

    Posted by Wendy
  2. This could be the start of a good children’s book–”A Donkey’s Day”…Lightning certainly gets into mischief (stealing radios, snitching food…)

    Posted by CVdB
  3. I had no idea the animals went for regular walks…thanks for sharing!

    Posted by Libby
  4. Keeper Comment :

    Absolutely, Libby!

    Walks are an important way for animals to get exercise, explore new places, sights and sounds, and to spend some time bonding with their keepers.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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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.

Alpaca Hair 2014

March 18th, 2014

Will it be a re-run of 80s themes, fancy up-dos for everyone or something a little weirder?

 

In roughly 3 weeks, our fluffy foursome will be getting a new hairdo! The exact date’s not set yet –we’ll let you know when that is– but now is the time to get your vote in on what the girls’ hair should look like. So add your ideas to the comment section however funny or serious your idea is, we’ll consider them all!

 

Here’s the wool we’ll be working with this year. The two babies are almost full grown now! From left to right: Equinox (way in back), Emily, Ray, Retro.

 

As a refresher, this is what the girls looked like last year.

And here are the alpacas’ predecessors, the sheep –who have recently been reported as all doing quite well at their “retirement” home, if anyone was wondering– being sheared two years ago in 2012.

 

Join the conversation:

  1. APRIL 7 is now the date (as long as it is not raining and the girls are dry)

    Posted by sherry
  2. How about a comb over for Retro.
    Of course who’s up for a poodle cut?

    Posted by HRvdB
  3. I vote for at least one to be totally bald. I loved the mohawk and Retro’s fade is pretty great.

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  4. Ditto on the bald suggestion and the poodle cut on head. legs and end of tail. Glad to hear the sheep are enjoying retirement.

    Posted by djcronce
  5. No further suggestions…but added thanks for the sheep update…my 3 year old was just asking about them today.

    Posted by Libby
  6. What time on the 7th? My 6yo son is a big llama/sheep fan and would love to attend, but doesn’t finish kindergarten until 3:30ish. I really wish the shearing could have taken place on a weekend day, when older children would be able to attend!

    Posted by Norton
  7. Director Comment :

    Hi Norton:
    We’re shooting for 10:30 start on the 7th.
    we’ll try to get some video taken so that those who cannot make it to the shearing can see it on the Blog.

    Posted by Sherry Samuels

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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.

Goat Coats

March 15th, 2014

Polar Vortex 2014 brought bitter cold air and lots of snow and ice to Durham. Most of our outdoor animals were snug and warm inside their holding areas or tucked into huge piles of hay to wait out the winter weather, but some of the farmyard residents were still just plain cold. We added a big heat lamp in the goat stall and would lock them inside but it still wasn’t enough to keep our two older boys toasty when it was 10 degrees out.  Even Lightning, the donkey, was shivering on the coldest of days.

How else do you keep a tiny herd of African animals warm?

GOAT COATS!!

 

and a donkey coat, too.

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