WHO LIVES ON OUR FARM?
Critter Barn is home to over 200 farm animals. The main criteria for animals in our programs are that they play a supportive role and provide endless opportunities for teaching, recreational therapy, interaction, and demonstrations.
Feeder pigs, baby dairy calves, and Leghorn hens are donated by local producers to raise on our farm. Additional poultry is purchased directly from hatcheries.
Domesticated animals such as sheep, goats, and rabbits who are born here, plus roosters, Banty chickens, potbellied pigs, a horse, donkey, cow, and a pony, who were raised here, make up our animal residents. These animals provide close contact with our Barnyard Crew program and hands-on learning for all of our educational activities.
Critter Barn raises three breeds of sheep: Suffolk, Colored Corriedale and Romney sheep. Our ewes are raised on our farm, so our flock allows guests to enter their pens. Our ewes are bred on the farm in October, and begin lambing in mid March. They are sheared in February, and you're invited to watch! Our rams are named Chevy, Dodge, and Ford.
Critter Barn's dairy goats love people. They are accustomed to the routine of milking and their kids are a delight. After the does freshen or give birth in the spring, they are milked 2 times a day like most dairy cows. You should try milking a goat when you visit the farm!
Usually, we raise feeder pigs from Sietsema Farms, but last year we were given two gilts (females who have not had piglets yet) named Princess and Pignelope and a barrow (a neutered male) named Richard, who are all very social. We look forward to breeding the two girls next spring.
We raise three breeds of small goats. Pygmy goats and Nigerian goats jump on the rooftops of their huts. Little goats have joyful personalities and are sure to be your favorite at the farm. Angora goats with beautiful curly mohair are often mistaken for sheep.
Newborn calves arrive at the Critter Barn when they are two to four days old. We're so grateful to Crossroad Dairy for providing these adorable bull calves. Guests and students help with bottle-feeding since the mother cows are on the milking line at the dairy farm.
Raising male dairy calves for beef gives the Critter Barn an opportunity to share the harvest with others. Our bottle fed calves reach an impressive size in their first year.
Critter Barn has one horse on the farm - Henry! The relationship of humans and horses is based on trust.
Jake and Ms Mary are the only two original members of the Critter Barn team. Jake is turning 37 years old on Thanksgiving Day and has lived his entire life around children at the Critter Barn. He was adopted from the Poest farm in Zeeland when he was three months old. Donkeys are known for kicking and being stubborn, but old Jake is very gentle.
Our Leghorn girls produce a snow-white egg almost every day. These Italian birds came from the port city of Livorno, Italy in the early 1800's, and were called Leghorns (English for Livorno). Leghorns come in many different colored feathers, but they all lay white eggs.
Cornish-Rock-Hybrid-Cross chickens are bred for their meat and are ready for market and the cooking pot in just 6 to 7 weeks. By 8 weeks, they are a heavy roaster, dressing at 8 to 10 pounds. Did you know that chicken is the Number 1 meat consumed in our country?
Hens and pullets, roosters and cocklings, layers and eggs! There are more chickens in the world than any other bird! Countless breeds of Layer Hens who weigh 6 to 8 pounds supply eggs for everyone around the world!
Gobble Gobble! Our country's Thanksgiving Day favorite struts around and puffs up its feathers and tail! Critter Barn currently has Royal Palm Turkeys for show. We anticipate raising more turkeys at our new farm!
There are over 60 breeds of rabbits in the US and over 300 breeds worldwide. That's a LOT of Cuteness!
Our popular "kitty corral" houses many cuddly, friendly cats. The smallest members of the cat family are popular pets, but on a farm? They are the mice hunters!
Our domestic geese are the watchdogs of our farm. They honk at everything that moves!
Be sure to visit the lucky duck's pool party this summer. We have domestic ducks who do not fly but love to swim! They have bills, webbing, oil for their feathers, and love to quack!