The Sharon Family Farm has about 25 chickens. All are different breeds and different ages. The purpose of raising chickens (for our farm) is for their eggs to both eat and to hatch. People may raise chickens for meat, eggs or just to have as backyard pets! Believe it or not – chickens are very friendly birds, especially if handled since birth. We introduce the children to most of our chickens, but we value the size and friendliness of our Bantams (miniature chickens).
*Average Life Span: 8 years
* Lay 1 egg per day
* Chickens aren’t completely flightless—they can get airborne enough to make it over a fence or into a tree.
* Baby chickens are chicks. Female chickens are pullets until they’re old enough to lay eggs and become hens. Male chickens are called roosters, cocks or cockerels, depending on the country you’re in.
*A female chicken will mate with many different males but if she decides, after the deed is done, that she doesn’t want a particular rooster’s offspring and can eject his sperm. This occurs most often when the male is lower in the pecking order.
* These birds are omnivores. They’ll eat seeds and insects but also larger prey like small mice and lizards.
* Lifespan: 10-15 years
* Female goats (does) only produce milk while they’re pregnant
* They are “herd” animals, therefore, you cannot just have one
*Gestation Period: 145-155 days
* Height 17-19 inches* Weight – approximately 50-80 pounds
*Goats Rumens are on their left side, so a pregnant female's kids are carried on her right side.
* Rumen is the first stomach of a ruminant, which receives food or cud from the esophagus, partly digests it with the aid of bacteria, and passes it to the reticulum.
* A healthy Nigerian Dwarf doe can produce a surprising amount of sweet milk for her small size - up to two quarts per day.
* Diet: Grain, Grass, and second cut hay
* At birth, kids weigh 2-3 pounds and are able to walk and follow their mother when they are just hours old. They may nurse from their mom for up to one year!
* Goats are most active during the day, and spend most of the time grazing. They are herd animals and establish a hierarchy by continually testing each other. The males butt heads for hierarchy status. These aggressive displays rarely result in injury.
* They come in varied colors: black, white, gold, brown and any combination of the above. Many people breed and raise Dwarf Goats as 4H projects or as farm animals used for milk.
* Sexual maturity: 3 months for males; 7 to 8 months for females
* Nigerian Dwarf milk is higher in butterfat (6-10%) and higher in protein than milk from most dairy goat breeds, making Nigerian Dwarf goat milk excellent for cheese and soap making.
* For breeding or pedigree quality goats or those with unique or rare coloring, the cost is between $200 or $600 per head. A pet-quality Nigerian Dwarf goat will range between $50 and $200 per head.
* This breed is the largest of all the dairy goats with does usually weighing at least 135 lbs. (61 kg.) and standing at least 30 in. tall
* The Saanen dairy goat originated in Switzerland, in the Saanen Valley. Saanen does are heavy milk producers and usually yield 3-4 percent milk fat.
* The breed is sensitive to excessive sunlight and performs best in cooler conditions. The provision of shade is essential.
* There are more than 200 recognized breeds of goats.
* Goats are the oldest domesticated animal, dating back 10,000 years to the first evidence of goat farming.
* The portrayal of goats as garbage eaters is a misconception that needs to be debunked. Goats have two times the taste buds as humans and are surprisingly picky eaters.
Emma was the first sheep the Sharon Family Farm purchased! She was born in 2005! Due to old age, Emma has gone completely blind. Fortunately, her sheep friends are able to guide her around, “baaing” for her when she gets lost. Emma is a Cotswold sheep (one of the larger breeds). Emma has never been bred, she has always just been a backyard pet to us! Lucy has never been bred either, she has been with Emma since we purchased her as a day old lamb. Lucy’s breed is a Dorset-Texel. Dolly is new to the flock, she has lambed several successful times! Dolly is an East Friesian Sheep.
* Man learned how to spin wool in 3,500 B.C.
* There are over 40 breeds of sheep in the U.S. and approximately 900
* Different breeds around the world.
* President Woodrow Wilson grazed sheep on the White House lawn.
* The female sheep is called a “ewe.”
* The male sheep is called a “ram”
* A baby sheep is called a “lamb.”
* The act of giving birth is called “lambing.” * The ewe can have 1 to 3 lambs per litter.
Suzy is Bailey’s baby. She was also born on our farm. She was born in 2016. She has a personality of her own! She can be skittish until she has warmed up to. Goats are always friendlier when you bottle-feed them, but we allow all of our kids to nurse right from the mom as it’s a healthier source of nutrients in comparison to powder formula. Suzy has beautiful markings! Suzy is a Nigerian Dwarf goat (on the smaller size).
The children will never be introduced to our males because they STINK! Male goats spend their days spraying themselves in order to make the females go into heat. Therefore, we have two so they have each other for company since we really can’t handle them. They both have beautiful markings and create beautiful offspring! Chuck is “polled” which means he has a gene that didn’t allow for his horns to grow. Therefore, his kids have a 50% chance at also being polled. We typically do not keep any males that are born on our farm, as we of course, aren’t able to breed them. We always castrate them and find them good homes! Male goats who are castrated are just like a female with no smell to them, making for great pets. Both Chuck and Mighty are Nigerian Dwarfs.
* Male goats are called Bucks
* Male goats come into puberty at 4 months old
* Bucks can weigh (depending on the breed) anywhere from 150-350 pounds
* Bucklings (baby male goats) require medicated grain as babies as they’re known to have urinary problems
* Bucks have beards and much longer fur than females
* Bucks always live separately from does
We purchased these boys as piglets in August 2017. It took them about three months to settle in before we could even hold them. They are now super friendly, always enjoying a good belly rub! They eat most of our leftovers in addition to their grain diet. Pigs have the sharpest teeth of any farm animal, therefore, we only pet them on their back avoiding their face and mouth area.
* Pigs are very sensitive to the sun, therefore, they require shade while outside.
* Potbellied pigs have dismal eyesight, mostly because the fat in their face
* They look different to the “regular” pig. And not just in skin color. Potbellied pigs have longer snouts, straighter tails, and more upright ears. The potbelly? Well, they have that, too, of course.
* Potbellied pigs love soil. They do not have sweat glands, so rolling in the mud is their way of cooling off!
* Pigs will live between 10-15 years
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We purchased Huey and Dewey when they were just five months old. It took a lot of time to halter train them and make them friendly. Dewey is the dominant alpaca of the two, which makes him aggressive and a spitter! We only introduce children to Huey, since Dewey is unable to be friendly towards people. Alpaca (like any other large animal) will kick if touched in the wrong spots. Therefore, we always stay in front of them, petting their neck only.
Alpaca Fun Facts
* Alpacas may just be the cutest of all the Camelidae family, which includes llamas, guanacos and vicunas from South America, and Bactrian and Dromedary camels from Asia and Africa.
* Beyond their charming, quirky good looks, these creatures are responsible for bearing some of the silkiest, most versatile fiber found in nature, for which they are shorn annually.
* Alpaca is a specialty fiber that has been described as stronger than mohair, finer than cashmere, smoother than silk, softer than cotton, warmer than goose down and better-breathing than thermal knits.
* They typically live about 15 years.
Goat Fun Facts
Donkey is one of the coolest animals that we have on the farm! He is extremely affectionate and loves being walked on a leash! He is a miniature donkey. We purchased Donkey from a farm when he was just a few months old (the size of a small dog).
* Males are called "Jacks", females are called "Jennets", babies are called “foals”
* They weigh 15lbs at birth
* They only grow to about 35-45 inches tall.
* They have very good memories, which is why they are stubborn
* They live 25-30 years
* They weigh 200-350 pounds, males being larger
* Almost all donkeys will have a "cross". The cross is a darker brown or black dorsal stripe running from the top of the donkey's back from the withers (where the neck connects to the back) and extending to the rear and down the tail.
* They thrive in the cold regions of Canada and the hot areas of Mexico, South America and Africa.
Dori was born on the Sharon Family Farm in 2013. Dori has had a handful of deliveries of her own. She has been a great mom to all of her kids. Dori is smart and adorable. The children have taught her how to walk on her back legs like a person! With many treats for encouragement, she learned quickly! Dori is a Nigerian Dwarf goat.
Chloe was purchased with Brownie from a farm in Coventry. She is our yeller! She needs human attention all day, she’s just like having a dog! She has beautiful, tri-colored markings. Chloe’s past two deliveries have been very smooth. She typically births twins! Chloe is very affectionate and we hope to have her as part of our heard for years to come! Chloe is a Nigerian Dwarf goat.
Rocky is about 13 years old and Bella is about 5. Rocky was one of the first bunnies part of our farm, he has traveled to all sorts of events meeting children all over CT! Rocky’s breed is a “mini lop” and Bella is a “rex”. Both bunnies are super sweet and enjoy being held! It is rare for a rabbit to like to be held, so we try to keep the ones who come around!
* A female rabbit is called a doe.
* A male rabbit is called a buck.
* A young rabbit is called a kit
* Rabbits live in groups.
* More than half of the world's rabbits live in North America.
* Rabbits love their food and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet.
* Jackrabbits, which belong to the genus “Lepus,” have been clocked at speeds of 45 miles per hour.
* Gestation Period: 28-31 days.
* The average size of a rabbit litter is usually between 4 and 12 babies
* A rabbit’s life span is about 8 years, though sterilized rabbits (those who are spayed/neutered) can live as long as 10-15 years.
Pot Bellied Pigs
Charlie is donkey’s best friend since they were babies! Charlie just started coming around children in 2016 (they now travel as a pair). Charlie exhibits beautiful markings! His father was a very well known show horse, worth a lot of money due to his markings and physique. Charlie is an American Miniature Horse. These horses are slowly becoming part of the guide animal society!
* Horses commonly live to be 25 - 35 years old
* They eat grass, grain and hay
* Miniature horses shed twice per year, once in the spring as they lose their winter coats, and again in the fall as their winter coat grows in.
* Miniature horses possess amazing vision. With their eyes mounted squarely on the sides of their heads, they possess nearly 350-degree vision.
* According to researchers, recognizable horses have been around for more than 60 million years
Bailey is one of our older does. She was born in 2012. She has had a handful of successful births! She is a cross between a Saanen and Nigerian Dwarf, making her more on the bigger side, but as you can tell in the picture she still thinks she’s a lap goat! Bailey is super sweet! She has the goofiest personality of the bunch. She does a silly head roll which is her way of telling her she likes you. The Saanen breed are also good milk producers.
Brownie was purchased from a farm in Coventry. We were unable to pet Brownie when we first got her. It took a lot of convincing with treats to lure her over to us. Today, she comes right up begging for treats! Brownie has a skin condition that receives some special attention (special vitamins and an occasional bath with some supplements). Brownie was born in 2014. For her first delivery, she delivered a small buckling, Oreo. She has great milk production! She is also a Nigerian Dwarf goat.
Daisy is a sweet girl! She is a Nigerian Dwarf and a great milk producer. She has delivered twice as of 2018 with her last delivery being triplets! Daisy was born at the same time as Dori (they’re best friends!) Daisy is at the head of the herd, being in control of the others.
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