Tag Archives: Petting Farm

Pixie

Pixie is the farm show off .  She will was born June 2013 and moved to the farm the spring of 2014.

pixie on the slide   pixie sliding   pixie at bottom

Her favorite trick is to go down the slide on her playground for treats.

Pixie is a pygmy goat and her partner in crime, Pepper, is catching on fast.

They are real talkers (especially at feeding time) and they are really fun to play with.

Poppy

Poppy belongs to Jill.  (Because again….who in their right mind needs two mini donkeys? Or three mini horses?  Or two Ginormous White Slobbering Dogs?)

Poppy

See… we went shopping for a mini cow (Lilly) for Anthony and Jill fell in love with a baby mini donkey.  She claims the donkey mama asked her to take her baby but I’m not so sure.  Can Jill really speak donkey?

poppy

Going to these other farms is tricky business. We were lucky to get out of there with just a mini cow, baby donkey and two goats!!  There was also a pony Ashley has her eye on…..

 Pippy 004

Poppy was born in a petting zoo and LOVES people! She can’t wait to meet everyone!

Shearing Day 2014

Today was Shearing Day at Cook’s Country Connection! Marty Hofmann of Integrity Shearing and his “Head Man” Eric were incredibly efficient and gentle with all the creatures getting haircuts.

 

First, let me start with this; a picture of a shaved alpaca.

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Welcome.

And below is Molly, my faithful camera assistant. She made sure to drool on my camera strap and nuzzle my pockets for goodies. 400 pounds of helpful, this one.

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Softer than cashmere and warmer than wool, alpaca fiber can be knit or woven, depending on it’s quality and intended purpose. Here is a wiki link to everything ELSE you ever wanted to know about Alpaca Fiber.  

Next year, we hope to have a seminar or field trip coincide with Shearing Day.

First, the animal is caught and trussed up like a Christmas goose. This keeps everyone -including the animal-safe. Here’s a video of what that looks like:

One, Two…THREE!

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The front legs are pulled forward, the back legs backward, and just like that, it’s time to shave a llama.

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This is Maddox, one of only two spitters today.  By the way, “spitting” is kind of inaccurate. It smells bad, and is more like projectile vomiting. Luckily, they only do this when all their other body language is ignored, and people are scaring them. I am guessing it tastes as bad as it smells, because he made the craziest “ew” face for hours afterward. (See that first picture??)

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Steve’s dad Leo did a great job his first time as official Gate Man.

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Jill was the only llama not to get the royal treatment today; she has a heart defect and is a Gramma Llama, so Lois didn’t want to stress her out.  She didn’t recognize her herd-mates until they breathed at each other a bit.

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Itchy (The Very Naughty Pony) was equally confused.

Here’s a video of that…the look on Itchy’s face just cracks me up when he sees that shaved llama. (You should probably just subscribe to our YouTube channel now. Chop chop.)

And THIS is as close as anyone will be getting to a llama for a few days, which is why we take this opportunity to vaccinate, de- worm and do pedicures at the same time.

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Lilly

Lilly is one of our bodacious bovines. Anthony (one of our Jr Farmers) had his heart set on getting a mini cow as a pet. And not just any mini cow – he wanted a mini Scottish Highlander. He saved his money for over a year and in April 2014 was able to pick up his new pet!

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Lilly is a GREAT addition to the farm!

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GusGus

Our dogs and cats are our personal pets and not “exhibit animals”.  That doesn’t mean you won’t see them bopping around the farm but interactions with them will be unlikely.

GusGus is quite the character.

halloween costumes2011 008He never really liked his role at the Cook Dollar Barn.

GusGus and BigGuyHe is much happier as a farm dog.  

He and Walli are half siblings and are Pembroke Welsh Corgis.

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Corgi’s are herding dogs and this is one area where GusGus is superior to his sister.  He absolutely – positively – LIVES for chasing Feta back into the pasture. And squirrels into the trees.  And naughty ponies away from the fence.  He is the talker of the bunch….sassy even.  He has a bark that makes my ears bleed.

All his flaws aside, he was one darn cute puppy!

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Birds – Meet The Flock

Chickens

For years and years and years I have wanted chickens.   (Not that anyone really wants chickens….what I wanted were the eggs.)  Each spring, the local feed stores have oodles of the little peepers.  I would look at them longingly, but the reality of no coop left me chickenless.   So last year my husband went to a local farm supply store and bought ten chicks.  Bantams.  Bantams!!!  What good are bantams!?!?  They lay tiny eggs and they’re about the size of a cornish game hen when in the stew pot.   (Why do I let him go to town alone?)

GusGus and chicks I have to say though, I kinda started to like those fluffy little feet of theirs and they seemed to have personality.  But then they started crowing….yup…SIX of the ten were roosters – no eggs!  Rooster noodle soup!

Rooster, Banty, Food, Pajari Girls, Funny Farm, chicken      omnom, rooster noodle soup, chicken noodle soup, homemade soup

 I made sure to order some layer/meat type birds to pick up the slack.  The beauty part is that once you have the chickens, you are FORCED to come up with a coop.  We should have done that years ago!

Here’s another chicken story, “The Trouble With Chickens”.

 GuineaFowl

A couple summers ago, Walli contracted Lyme’s disease.  Right then and there, I declared war on ticks.  I was told that the best (natural) way to eradicate those nasty little blood sucking bugs was with guineafowl(Here’s a link to Laura’s post on “Guinea Monsters From Hell”. She is PHOBIC about poultry!)

Turns out keeping guinea birds alive is trickier than one would think.  They like to wander, the entire flock shares one brain (not actually verified), they are not very trainable and their biggest defense from predators is yelling like crazy.   (Except when I am trying to catch them….then they are ninjas.)

baby gunieas, guinea fowl, cook's country connectionBaby guineas are sooo cute!  

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Not so much when they get older…..uuuuuugggglllyyyy!

Luckily I don’t give up easily, as long as there are ticks I am GOING to have guinea birds.  I don’t care how noisy they are.  Besides, I have a bantam chicken trying to hatch a golf ball so if I give her some guinea eggs to sit on it will give her life purpose – I call that a “win-win”.

Itchy – The Very Naughty Pony

Itchy  is another of the miniature horses on the farm.   He came to us spring of 2007 as a new foal.  Talk about a little cutie!

Itchy has a way of always getting himself into trouble.  I would have to say he is the naughtiest animal on the farm.

pony, cook's country connection        Itchy

Over the years he has managed to nearly cut his leg off, had a big round hay bale dropped on himself, ended up under the neighbors deck, singed his behind on a bonfire and spends equal time in and out of the fence.

singed ItchyA singed pony behind….

Over the years Laura (and her kids) and Jill (and her kids) have spent more time retrieving this horse than any animal past or present.

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Laura spent most of an afternoon one summer tromping around the pine hill looking for him after a call from the neighbors asking if we were “missing something”.  She ended up with so much pine pitch in her hair she had to have it cut out.

Meanwhile, Itchy  was back in the barn acting as if he had never left the farm – little imp.

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PS:  Phone calls that start with “are you missing something” are never good when you have animals – especially if it’s from the sheriff’s department….just sayin’.

Sophie

Sophie is the newest (and LAST) dog to come to the farm (at least for a long long time).  She is another Great Pyrenees. Because logic says, if you have one that doesn’t work for it’s intended purpose, you should get another one.      🙂

Sophie is a working dog and as such won’t be an “exhibit animal” but since she lives here on the farm, she gets her 15 minutes of fame!

Great Pyrenees, ginormous white slobbering dog, cook's country connection

So here was the thought process:

  1. JaiJai needs a partner.  The corgis are too small and just not that much fun for him.
  2. Hopefully this one will have some natural instinct.  (Cuz it’s pretty darn obvious that he doesn’t.)
  3. If nothing else, we have provided her with the farm environment she needed.

See – perfectly logical.

Great Pyrenees, ginormous white slobbering dog, cook's country connection, petting farm, Look how happy that JaiJai is!!!

Thus far we haven’t been able to really test Sophie’s aptitude for the whole Livestock Guardian Thing yet – another visit to Dr Fisher at Vermilion Vet Clinic to take care of this no-risk-of-having-puppies business and we will be on a roll.

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We will keep you posted!

Llamas – llama llama llama!!

So when and how exactly did I become a llama farmer???  Like most of the animals around here, they “needed a good home”.  (A line I am starting to meet with more and more skepticism.)

The first question everyone asks when they hear I have llamas is “do they spit?”.   Valid question and the answer is – it totally depends on what you are doing to them.

You can tell by llamas (and alpacas) ears, how annoying they are finding their current circumstances.  And I have discovered that there are varying degrees and intensities of “spit”.

llama spitThis is my “look out – you’re gonna get it” look.

Before any spitting happens there is a warning look.  If you are paying attention and don’t have to continue doing what you are doing, you won’t get spit on.

After the warning look, and if you, the assailant, hasn’t backed off, there is a warning spit.  This is mostly whatever is in their mouth at the moment and it’s usually directed over the offender’s ( your) head.  Most often they do this to each other over food.

Llamas don’t have much for defense mechanisms – they can run away or they can spit.  The “I’m really ticked off” or “I’m absolutely terrified” spit is the stuff you need to look out for.  This is the nastiest, most vile- smelling yuk ever!  It is projectile vomit right from the bottom of their third stomach.  It shouldn’t even be called “spit” if you ask me.  A different “s” word comes to mind and more closely describes that stuff.

The only time I have gotten this is when I am doing something really unpleasant or scary.  Shots, shearing, sometimes haltering…. anything that involves cornering or tackling has landed me in the crosshairs.

Moral of the story:  Don’t harass or annoy the llamas and you’ll be fine!

Sprout and Sophie AGAIN

Spitting aside, I find that the llamas are curious, inquisitive and a whole lot of fun to have around!

Meet the herd!

Nelly  Nelly

Sophie the llama

Sophie

coco

Coco

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Bella

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Jill

And just for fun, here is the llama song we sing ALL. THE. TIME.

BaaBaa

BaaBaa is a Barbados Blackbelly Sheep.  These sheep are raised for meat, not fiber. Not that we plan on eating him; most animals around here are on a retirement plan.

IMG_1008Friends– NOT food!

Many people think he is a goat because of his small horn buds, but I think they are just a byproduct of a bad de-horning session as a lamb.

baabaa in the feederSeems that he has learned some bad habits from that goat Feta!

BaaBaa was a bottle raised lamb that we adopted by accident.  See, I was adopting three llamas….I didn’t know they came with a sheep.  Hmmmm…..