Animal Education

While families enjoy petting and watching the animals, we think it is important that they know some basic facts about our petting zoo animals. The following information is displayed on the fence of our petting zoo to educate petting zoo visitors. Visitors are also free to ask any of our attendant’s questions about the animals. The life span and gestation information given on this page may vary in each different breed.

Miniature Horses/ Ponies


Miniature horses are used as pets, for very small children to ride, and to pull small carts. They are placed into two height classes: Class “A” and class “B”. Class “A” is 34 inches high and under and class “B” is 34-38 inches high.
Many people are surprised to find out ponies are not “babies”.  A pony is really a horse that is 14.2 hands or smaller...One hand is equal to 4 inches.

Average Life Span: 25-35 Years
Average Gestation: 330-345 Days

Goats


Goats are very affectionate and easy to tame. They are used for their milk, meat, and for pets. Goats are ruminants, which means they have four stomachs. Part of their digestive process is to regurgitate their food and chew it again. This is called chewing their “cud”. Goats have very sensitive lips, they are very clean and will not eat food that is soiled. The pupil in a goats eye is rectangular in shape instead of being round.  The collective name for a group is a herd, males are called billy’s or buck’s and females are called doe’s or nanny’s...Baby goats are usually called kids.

Average Life Span: 8-10 Years
Average Gestation: 148-156 Days

Miniature Cattle


Miniature cattle are commonly used for meat and milk production. They are ruminants, which means they have four stomachs. Part of their digestive process is to regurgitate their food and chew it again. This is called chewing their “cud”.

Average Life Span: 20-25 Years
Average Gestation: 273-296 Days

Sheep


Sheep are used for their milk, wool, and meat. They are ruminants, which means they have four stomachs. Part of their digestive process is to regurgitate their food and chew it again. This is called chewing their “cud”.  Sheep are closely related to the goat.,

Average Life Span: 10-14 Years
Average Gestation: 144-151 Days

Alpacas


The Alpaca is a camelid, native to South America. It is a cousin to three other South American camelids: the llama, the guanaco and the vicuna. An adult alpaca weighs 100-175 pounds, and stands about 36 inches at the shoulder. The baby alpaca is called a “cria”

They are easily trained, and produce a luxurious fiber that is softer and lighter than sheep's wool. Alpacas are the ideal family livestock for small or large farms.Their feet have pads with two toenails instead of hooves. They have teeth on the bottom jaw that close against a soft pallet on top. Alpacas eat pasture, hay, and grain, with some basic supplements. Alpacas are ruminents, chewing cud like cows.

There are two kinds of alpacas: the "Woolly" Huacaya and the "Silky" Suri. The Huacaya has fiber that is structured like sheep's wool, while the Suri has silky, shiny fiber that falls in locks.

Neither fleece type has lanolin, so alpacas are generally hypoallergenic.

Average Life Span: 20 Years
Average Gestation: 330 Days

Miniature Pot-Bellied Pig


Miniature Pot-Bellied Pigs are used for meat and pets in their native country, but only for pets in the United States. They originated in Vietnam and were brought to the United States in the 1980’s. When they were first introduced to the United States they were described as the perfect companion animal and sold for as high as $25,000. They were given the nickname “yuppie puppies” Their weight usually ranges from 60 to 175 pounds if not overfed. A straight tail and a sagging stomach, which nearly touches the ground, characterize them.

Average Life Span: 12-20 Years
Average Gestation: 114 Days

Miniature Donkeys


Miniature donkeys are used for small children to ride, to pull small carts, and as pets. They average 32-34 inches in height and reach no more than 36 inches. They have very large ears, a short tail, and a short erect mane and a stripe that runs the length of their back and all the way to their tail. Miniature donkeys are most commonly found in gray or brown colors. There is also less common paint colored donkeys.

Average Life Span: 25-35 Years
Average Gestation: 365-370 Days

Chickens


Chickens are used for their feathers, eggs, and their meat, and sometimes as pets. The male is called a rooster and the female a hen. The male often has brighter more attractive plumage than the female. We primarily use Silkie hens in our petting zoo.

The Silkie chicken was developed in the southeast asian countries or china. It was valued as a medicinal food item because of its black skin and bones, and was thought to be particularly good to reinforce body immunity and protect from emaciation and feebleness. It also is reported to treat diabetes, anemia, female reproductive functioning and postpartum disorders. Marco Polo gave the first accounts of Silkie chickens in the late 13th century. As trade route between East and West were established, the Silkie was brought to Europe. records have shown that in the Netherlands, they were sold as the product of crossing a rabbit and a chicken! The breed was officially recognized in North America by acceptance in to the Standard of Perfection in the first year of publication which was 1874

Average Incubation: 20-22 Days
Average Life Span: 5-7 years

Ducks


Females are known as duck and males as drake, babies are called ducklings. They are found in both fresh water and sea water. Black duck males and females are very similar in coloring, except that the males' feet turn bright red and their beaks yellow, during the breeding season. They feed on grasses, aquatic plants, fish, insects, small amphibians, worms, and small mollusks. Ducks are hunted for food, sports and farming. Ducks have no blood vessels or nerves in their feet, so they can't feel cold even in frigid water. Ducks are related to geese and swans. The duck is the smallest of them all and have shorter necks and wings and a stout body. Ducks can live from 2-12 years, depending on the species. Ducks have webbed feet, which act like paddles. Ducks are economical as they provide us with eggs, meat and feathers. Their feathers are waterproof. There is a special gland that produces oil near the tail that spreads and covers the outer coat of feathers. Beneath this waterproof layer are fluffy and soft feathers to keep the duck warm. The weight of adult drake (the male) is 9 lbs and of adult duck (the female) is 8 lbs. They adapt very easily to different climates, and are found throughout the United States.

Average Life Span :2-12 years
Average Incubation: 26-28 Days
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