Pups and Ponys

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Each year I tend to mention the Easter pets that flood shelters. The facts are still evident as I made several phone calls and asked questions. Recently I found that bunnies are popular turn ins.

There are many classes on house rabbits and how to care for them. Most cities allow chickens as well as rabbits so check with your local ordinance officer for the rules as they may differ city to city.

The cute yellow ducklings and adorable yellow chicks along with tiny bunnies are all usually out and about at farm stores as spring begins.

For many folks they buy a dozen or two chicks to be raised as egg producers and food for the family. Every year we ordered a dozen baby turkeys and the kids all took part in the raising of at least one thanksgiving dinner.

Things on the farm may be a bit more “reality based “but we raised all our meat and grew vegetables and had farm fresh eggs.

Years ago I took a group of farm animals to elderly care centers, schools and even to Bible school. It was a rewarding way to teach and enjoy the interaction of baby animals and humans. I did this on a regular basis.

I took a young calf, a baby goat, a sheep, a pet chicken, a little Shetland pony as well as my Amazon Parrot. Of course a dog went with me as well.

I remember showing the kindergarten class that the chicken has a membrane that acts like a third eyelid, a structure for protecting their eyes. Like humans, they have upper and lower outer eyelids. Under the outer eyelids lies an extra eyelid, called the nictitating membrane. This extra eyelid is hinged at the inner side of the eye and sweeps horizontally across the cornea.

It’s very rewarding to take the actual animal to the facilities to show folks how to interact and see the real animal !

The baby animals such as the calf, lamb, and goat were bottle fed babies so everyone enjoyed feeding them. One child wanted to feed the lamb but had never seen one up close and not sure which was the goat or lamb.

The duckling and young chick were favorites, so soft and cuddly.

It is interesting to know that the mother birds make a calling noise as she sits on the eggs. When the eggs begin to hatch the babies peep back to her. They know their mother’s voice. I have seen several mothers and chicks together in a pen and they don’t get confused as they remember the calling noise.

This is a great experience for young and old alike.

I heard many farm stories from long ago in the care centers.

I also listened to fascinating stories from children about pets they had at home.

The Amazon Parrot was not exceptionally friendly with everyone. I would put him on my shoulder and he loved to loudly repeat animal noises and do a few tricks!

All in all these visits brought spring fun and informative chatter.!

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