As our animals have settled into their new home and student workers have gotten trained and fully integrated into barn work- Barn Manager, Meg Anderson, shares some details about the animals and humans who are making the barn a vibrant space for learning.
Exciting things are happening in and around the Unity College animal barn as the semester heats up and the weather cools down. Currently, the barn houses seven Katahdin sheep (six ewes and Rocky the ram) four San Clemente Island goats, eleven Silver Fox rabbits and fifteen Delaware chickens.
On September 17th, our first litter of heritage-breed Silver Fox rabbits was born to our doe ‘Sylvie.’ One of the kits from the litter will be traveling to Capron Park Zoo in Massachusetts to be integrated into their hands-on animal program.
Three of our Katahdin Ewes will soon be joining Rocky the ram in an attempt to breed them for spring lambs. We hope to use meat from our lambs in the campus’ food system in the future.
Our San Clemente Island goat ‘Tazzy’ is nearing the end of her gestation; we are expecting kid(s) on the ground very soon. We are breeding our San Clemente Island goats as a conservation effort – the population of this heritage breed has dwindled to less than 500 animals worldwide.
Our hens and roosters are currently doing their part for the Veggies For All winter-squash field by integrating their own brand of fertilizer to the topsoil. Using the chicken tractors constructed by the Unity College FFA, the barn crew is attempting to evenly distribute waste produced by the animals over the field.
The hens are still too young to be laying, but we are already planning an incubation schedule for spring chicks! The chickens produced can be used as broilers or replacement layers.
Recently, we received confirmation from our vet – Dr. Matt Townsend DVM – that our hoofstock tested negative for the following diseases – Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE), Caseous Lymphandenitis (CL), Brucellosis, and Johne’s Disease.
Currently, our facility hosts the Animal Health, Animal Training, and Interpretive Methods classes regularly. We also have an Intern that is focused on training our goats and Rocky to be easily handled by students and staff.
Our work-study barn crew has been doing a great job keeping our facility clean and ensuring that our animals are healthy and happy, we certainly could not do this without them!