When we moved in two years ago, we were in love with the house and the property. With no prior farming experience, but a love for animals and interest in farming, 7 acres was the perfect size for us.
We first met our farm vet in January when we found an injured deer in a creek across from our house. We called the vet (who was referred to us by Double Brook Farm), and his assistant, Katie, was able to stitch him up in our barn and put a cast on his broken leg! We then moved him to a wildlife safety foundation. So tempted to keep him (but knowing that it would be dangerous and nearly impossible, since he was not a baby), we knew that we were finally ready to get animals of our own.
We had officially waited until February of 2015 before we started getting our animals. When were first considering sheep and/or goats, we knew that we would want (and should have) guard animals to keep them safe from natural predators such as foxes, coyotes, and leashed dogs. We decided to search for donkeys as our protector animals, and we now have a donkey and a mule who were both adopted from The Barnyard Sanctuary in Columbia, NJ.
In the summer of 2015, we also housed goats who were found abandoned on the side of the road. We were waiting for their owners to speak up, as Animal Control searched around at local farms, and we hung flyers up in town. When no one claimed them, we officially took them in. There was a very aggressive buck with three does. While he currently lives on another farm, the three females love their home here. Two of the three females have given birth, and we now have six adorable and mischievous goats on our farm!
Finally, our most recent (and very exciting) project has been raising bottle-fed lambs. Brett, a farm manager at Double Brook Farm told us about how some ewes will abandon their babies (or a baby) after they are born. This can happen for a number of reasons, including being triplets, being weak or sick, the mother dying, or the mother being simply uninterested. With over 200 ewes who give birth each year at their farm, Double Brook asked if we would be interested in raising their orphaned lambs. This requires a lot of time, dedication, and even some sleepless nights. These lambs, though, have been given a second chance at life and are thriving now. They are a breed of sheep called Katahdin, genetically designed in Maine because they grow hair instead of wool. While this makes many of them look more like goats than sheep, they are lower maintenance because they do not typically need shearing. These orphaned lambs are either Katahdin crosses or pure Katahdins. The bottle fed lambs will be available for adoption through us once they are three months old, and successfully weaned off the bottle. You can meet them here.