Friday, June 3, 2016

First Week At the Barn!



I began my Unity College Captive Wildlife Care and Education Internship right here at the Unity College Livestock Barn.
I began work on Tuesday May 24th 2016 and finished my work week on Friday. My daily schedule looks like this;

  • 8:00am: Report for Duty at the Barn
  • 11:00am: Lunch Break
  • 1:00pm: Report for Duty at the Barn
  • 4:00pm: Done for the day

The am barn shift entails opening the barn and checking on all the animals (Katadin Sheep, San Clemente Goats, Silver Fox Rabbits, American Guniea Hogs, Golden Wyandotte Chickens) health and safety. Then the daily work chart is checked (see image) here is the code;

  • FC- Full Clean
  • SC- Spot Clean
This white board has the weekly work schedule for each animal herd
Each herd of animals usually is moved out to our different pastures (depending on weather and cleaning schedule). And then the stalls are cleaned and animals are fed. Wherever the animals are moved fresh water is provided. In between cleanings and pasture changing different animals are given enrichment, training, or exposure to socialization experiences. 
During parts of our work day members of the public will stop by to say 'hi' to the animals and usually we give them a short tour of the barn. 
This is the outdoor chicken enclosure 
Here is our indoor rabbit cage for our three silver fox rabbits (Indy is our male and Ziggy and Maizy are our females)
This is our indoor sheep pen (it had just been cleaned usually it has shavings spread on the floor and a few enrichment devices)
This is our indoor female goat pen (this pen was also being cleaned when the photo was taken and usually has shavings on the floor)
This is one of our outdoor pastures; all of the pastures can be used by any of the animal groups this one was being used by our female goat herd. 

Above is our storage shed inside is extra fencing, supplies, and our delivery of shavings
The pm barn shift usually involves moving the animals back into their night holding areas and also usually includes a special project (on the first day we got to groom the sheep, on Wednesday we castrated two lambs, on Thursday we got our bedding shipment which we had to off load into our storage shed, and on Friday we groomed our adolescent female goat Tilly). At the end of each day we complete a daily log to record all the work that was completed. 
This is our daily log binder that Autumn and I fill out at the end of each work day
Here is a close up of the blank log
Above are Meg (Left) and Autumn (right) holding a female sheep to pull her hair as it is time for their winter coats to come off and their short summer hair to be seen. The pulling of the hair is painless and allows the sheep to be much more comfortable out in the hot sun during the day. Its a lot like brushing a dog but instead we use our hands. 
This is Tilly pictured on one of our milking stations she is happily munching away on a bowl of grain; we had just finished grooming her so she was getting a special treat. 
But with any animal work somethings do not abide by our schedule for example on Friday when myself and Autumn (another Unity College Intern) returned from lunch we found out that a chicken had escaped the holding area by a hole in the fence! So we quickly made a plan and captured the hen and returned her to the fenced in area and spot mended the fence. 

Each group of animals at the barn has their pros and cons, but the pigs and I have become fast friends; they love getting back scratches! I am also quite excited because this next week we are expecting one of our female rabbits to have a litter of babies which will be a very cute adventure!
This is our youngest pig; soon he will be old enough to become the mate for our resident Female Penny. He is very sweet and will follow me around his pen as I work asking for back or head scratches and will lie on his side while being pet and snort happily. 
This is me giving Tilly a handful of grain prior to her getting groomed. 
It is only my first week on working at the barn; an I am still learning the work routine and taking my time to get to know the animals I cant wait to learn more.