It has been awhile since I was last in the Farmyard. All the changes that the animal department has had for the past few months has kept me in Explore the Wild most of the time. Last week, I got to go back to the Farmyard. It was great to see all of the farmyard animals and catch myself up on the duties of farmyard keeping.
Keeper Jill helped me reacquaint myself with the Farmyard tasks plus gave me some tips on time management when it comes to getting tasks completed. Getting this information is vital when keeping in the Farmyard since there is a lot to do in the mornings. Now that I got a refresher in the Farmyard, you should see me there most Fridays.
After lunch, I went up to the Farmyard and checked on all of the animals. Once done with the tasks, I was walking by the Alpacas and saw this…
Ray looked very stoic with the sunlight in her hair but the picture does not do her justice. So, come by the farmyard and hopefully you will see Ray on the mountain.
The other day I was in the farmyard and observing our two rabbits, Betty and Jean.
Occasionally, I will give them access to run around inside the whole barn where they are kept so they can get some exploring time before guests arrive.
At this time, I see them hopping back and forth and sometimes they will jump in the air and twist. This behavior is associated with positivity and excitement. This behavior actually has a name and its called “binky.” Unfortunately, I dont have a video of our rabbits cutting a binky, but there are many on youtube!
He’s almost 1,700 pounds and stands about 5 feet tall at the shoulder (the height is a guess, he tried to eat my tape measure). Max weighs more than all 4 of our bears put together and can poop the combined weight of our baby alpacas every day! He has a well documented adoration of shoes and Kent. You’ll just have to trust me on the Kent part, or come visit some day and listen to Max bellow when Kent drives by and doesn’t stop to scratch him.
Max, besides being one of the more affectionate animals in the farmyard, is arguably one of the most playful. Keeper Jill and I decided to give an old piece of enrichment (a garden hose with plastic chains attached to it) a farewell send off by letting Max have it. He didn’t destroy it like we expected he would, but it was fun to watch him knock his big head into it.
And if you want to check my math:
Max weighs about 1,700 pounds
Max can poop between 150 and 200 pounds a day (10% of his body weight)
The bears weigh, at most 350 pounds (x 4 = max of 1,400 pounds)
The baby alpacas weigh 100 pounds (Emily) and 77 pounds (Ray) combined = 177 pounds
The take home message of all this: Max poops a lot.
We used to have naked sheep once a year- check out last year’s sheep shearing. The four of them lost about 21 pounds of wool. Much less than the 35 pounds the 4 sheep took off last year This is our first year shearing alpacas and today was the day. They no longer look like this:
We’ll get some video and more photos up in the near future, but do come by and check out the girls. I am sure the keepers will want to talk about hairdo options and more!
If you travel up to the farmyard, you will notice that we have a domesticated Muscovy duck named Scout. He doesn’t quack because Muscovy ducks hiss. Scout is 6 years old and I know this because he and I have been here at the museum the same time. He came as an egg from Keeper Kent. He hatched only a few days before I started working here. When he was little he was actually on display in Carolina Wildlife in one of the snake exhibits…minus the snake of course. When he was a little bigger we would put him in a kiddie pool and let him swim around, it was kind of cute because he was afraid of the water at first . Eventually, he got big enough where we moved him into the farmyard during the day and he would follow us back to the building at night for safety. Now, Scout lives permanently in the farmyard.He had a brief roommate encounter with the pig, which you can read about here.
Scout has a lot of personality. He has his moments where he will wander around the farmyard before we open and search for bugs quietly. Majority of the time he is “talkative” and can be real moody. He can be nippy and likes to jump on ankles holding on with his feet and beak (it really hurts in the summer time).
Here at the museum the keepers love duck for who he is despite the mood he is in. Its just a part of who he is and we accept it.
If you have any questions about Scout, jot them down in the comment section.
Only a couple days after we were given that truckload of giant pumpkins, I answered a radio call from Sherry telling me to drive the gator very carefully so I wouldn’t spill the cargo (I didn’t spill any).
With our Quarantine stall in the Farmyard already full of pumpkins, something needed to be done to whittle down the collection.
The result: Pumpkin Fest 2012
There was even some pumpkin smashing!
The alpacas are doing fine in their temporary quarters, but since you cannot see them here are a couple photos.
Come and see them on October 20 when the Farmyard reopens.