Farmyard Posts

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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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.

The Interns Make Friends With Max

February 25th, 2014

Our Spring 2014 interns, Katie and Jill, got to spend some time in the farmyard with Max and the “Max Scratcher”

YouTube Preview Image

Join the conversation:

  1. what’s the “max scratcher” made of?

    Posted by sherry
  2. Keeper Comment :

    It’s an old PVC perch core that has a metal comb attached to one end.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg

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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.

Snow Pictures 2014

February 22nd, 2014

More snow pictures of the most recent storm to hit NC.

 

Join the conversation:

  1. nothing like a goat in a coat.

    Posted by sherry

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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.

A couple more snow photos

February 5th, 2014

Ro got some more “snow photos

The Farmyard is very pretty in the snow

 

no issues for the alpacas in the snow

 

Join the conversation:

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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.

Big Word of the Month: Prehensile

January 21st, 2014

If you’ve been to a Meet the Keeper program at Lemurs, you may have heard someone ask if the Red Ruffed Lemurs have “thumbs” or “fingers” on the ends of their tails. The answer is “no”; the little bit of naked tail that sticks out in varying lengths from the normally furry tails of our lemurs is a by-product of over grooming. The Red Ruffed lemurs will occasionally groom their tail tips by licking, chewing or rubbing at them with their fingers and subsequently, have removed tufts of fur from the ends. The naked bit of tail can bend and curl just like the rest of their tails, but it isn’t prehensile.

So what exactly is “prehensile”?

It’s defined as an appendage or organ found on a vertebrate animal that has the ability to grasp or hold.

Though the definition seems simple enough,  it’s not always so black and white. Think about the tail of a Virginia Opossum or the lips on a rhino or donkey. They have the ability to grasp or manipulate objects, but can’t really hang on tightly. In those cases, the appendage is considered “semi-prehensile.”

 

Here are some examples of prehensile appendages in the animal world: new world monkey tail (like Spider Monkeys), octopus arms, chameleon feet, prehensile-tailed porcupine tails, Giraffe tongues, primates with a thumb have prehensile hands and sygnathidae tails.

Photo Credit: ARKive.org
Photo Credit (Prehensile tailed porcupine): The Creature Teachers, Littleton, Mass.
Lycus the Lemur is our photo.

Here are a few more “semi-prehensile” appendages: elephant trunk tip, camel lips and snake tails.

Photo Credit (elephant): ARKive.org
Photo Credit (camel): ImageShack user “poojambasaurus”
The grumpy baby Northern pinesnake is our photo

 

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by , Keeper
I graduated from NCSU(go pack) and have worked in the animal department for about 8 years. Some of my favorites include ferrets and birds. I am also known for my weird obsession with Boba Fett.
I work Tuesday-Saturday in either the Farmyard or inside the main building behind the scenes.
Tags: , ,

A loss in the department

January 7th, 2014

Sadly, I’m writing this blog to let you know about our most recent loss, Scout. Scout was a big part of my career here, he hatched only a few days before I started. We would pal around in the mornings together in the farmyard before the museum would open. You could call him and he would come to you, at night he would know how to get to his stall and depending what time of year it was you had to run from him so he wouldn’t attack your legs. Some of the times before we would open his stall in the morning I would shout “RELEASE THE QUACKEN!” (on homage to “Release the Kraken!” stated by Zeus in 1981′s Clash of the Titans .) He had the prettiest blue eyes and loved sweet potatoes.

Duck became ill and we brought him to the vet school where it was determined he had anemia and several other problems we cant be sure of until the necropsy results come in.

I was recently working on a blog about duck and his enrichment. I have decided to include it in this entry along with a slide show of Scout.

YouTube Preview Image

 

 

 

 

Join the conversation:

  1. Keeper Comment :

    Who’s going to teach the kids that “anything with a mouth can bite”? I miss Ducky greatly, especially first thing in the morning when I’m raking the farmyard. It’s weird without him underfoot, perching on the trailer or bug hunting nearby.

    Posted by Sarah Van de Berg
  2. I didn’t know Scout as well as I suppose I should have, although I’ve heard plenty of stories of his daring escapades. All things considered, I’ve never met a bad duck. Scout
    will be missed.

    Posted by Ranger Greg
  3. Great video, Jill. I will miss duck greatly. I still have the small stuffed lion that we let him snuggle up to when he was a tiny duckling. It sits by my computer and I think of him whenever I see it.

    Posted by Marilyn
  4. Great video and tribute to a one of a kind duck! He will missed.

    Posted by Ranger Ro
  5. Hello!

    Posted by makers

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