Precautions Around the AnimalsThe animals here at the farm are turned over or bought from various circumstances. The may be afraid of YOU. They are curious and will approach you in different ways. Below I will outline the best ways to approach each kind of animal here and the best ways to be safe as well. Pigs - although they have peripheral vision, their eyesight is not very good. Keep that in mind. When approaching a potbellied pig, kneel down to their level and extend your flat hand for them to sniff. Keep your hand below their nose, not above their head or they will think you are going to strike them. Let them sniff your hand, and then you can scratch them or rub them on their side, they LOVE belly rubs. That is a universal pig thing. Lower your energy and talk softly to him or her. A lot of them will flop right over on their side, to give you access to their belly. When they are afraid of someone, they will sometimes bark and run. In nature, they are a prey animal, an their only defense is to run. The large pigs probably weighs 1,000 pounds, but they are as sweet as pie. However, they are very big, so you wouldn't want to be in their way if they decides to get up quickly. For this reason, it is best to stand or sit to their side rather than in front. It's best to approach any of them when they are outside, so they won't feel trapped (if I am not with you). Pigs love belly rubs, ear rubs, back scratches, and are very very friendly and happy not to be bacon on someone's plate. Emus - the male emu, Lelu, is very curious and may follow you. He is not mean, but may want to peck at any shiny objects that you have on your person, such as a hair tie, a ring, a particularly enticing piercing. If you want him to stop following you, just turn around and try to pet him. He hates to be touched and will run away. The female, Jaimers, usually stays away from people, but follow same guidelines if she comes around. Horses (large) - they weight between 1,000 to 2,000 pounds. Keep this in mind when you are around them, and always be aware of where your feet are. Wear substantial shoes or boots if possible. If you end up behind a horse, try to stay at least 6 feet behind, just in case it kicks. If quarters are tight, and you walk behind one, put your hand on their rump just to let them know that you are there (do that before you go behind them). Don't put your face in close proximity to theirs (picture kissing one on the nose), in case they were to raised their head up quickly; it could break your nose. Just remember that they are very big and YOU are responsible for keeping track of where you are in relation to them, because they probably won't. Mini Horses and Donkeys love attention and will compete for your affection. Burt, the mini-donkey can be nippy sometimes, so use caution. Again, keep your hand flat when offering treats. Otherwise, keep hands away from his mouth. Although they weigh only 200-300 pounds or so, you wouldn't want to be stepped on so watch your feet. Cows and Steers are friendly (not aggressive), but are very large. Due to their size and the size of their horns, extra caution needs to be observed around them. Llamas - your first instinct may be to reach out a pet these sweet guys, but our llamas do not like to be touched, and will walk or run away from you. The proper way to communicate with them is to keep your arms behind you and extend your face to them. They will smell you (usually your nose and mouth). Of course if you are not comfortable with this, just walk around them. Do they spit? The truth is that Boogie has only done it twice, once to someone he just did not like, and once to me when I was singing a song he did not like!! But as a rule, they only do it when they are provoked, or when they are wrestling with each other. Again, if you don't want them near you, just reach out to pet them and they will go away. Dogs - Foster (Red Heeler), Midge (Corgie/Heeler/Mix), and Lexie (Border Collie Mix) are nice but Foster especially likes to nip and that it can potentiall hurt you. They also bark and may jump up on you. Don't encourage this. Children should be supervised and never put fingers or little hands around their mouths. Goats and Sheep - you will quickly find out that a lot of goats are very friendly and curious. PLEASE DO NOT HANDLE THEIR HORNS!! This will encourage them to use them, which is something we do not want. I feel comfortable having them run loose around people, but if they were to start head-butting people, I'd have to lock them up and that would defeat my purposes here. If you want to push them away, push them by the neck, or call me and I will move them. They want to chew your clothes and lick your skin - hands, legs and arms (in the summer you are simply a human salt lick to them). If you have small children with you, keep this in mind, because to children it may see as though they are being attacked. Chickens and Turkeys - there are a couple that let you pick them up, but unless you know who these are, its probably not a good idea, unless you come around here a lot and develop a rapport with them. Otherwise, they will just feel harrassed. People tell me stories of roosters and turkeys attacking them, but honestly I have never seen that here. For the most part, ours just feel lucky to be alive. When the turkeys strut back and forth with their feathers fluffed up, they are showing off for you. Feel free to tell them how beautiful they are!
What to Wear - chores are no fun when you are freezing your butt off. Wear layers when possible, because you really heat up when you're working out here, even on really cold days. Hats are important, gloves, and warm shoes or preferably boots. I have gloves on hand if you don't have any. Just ask. If you think you will be working out here more than once or twice, then you may want to purchase a pair of rubber knee high boots from IFA (on 1147 W. 2100 S. in Salt Lake city, or 12600 S. in Riverton, Utah) for $12.99. You need to wear double socks, because they are not made for warmth, but the mud and manure are a non-issue when you wear these. I practically live in them. In the spring things get particulary muddy so be prepared for this. Summer is hot but sturdy, although light, clothes are still recommended. Questions about the animals are usually better off asked then left hanging. If you wonder why this guy is penned up, and so-and-so is not feel free to ask. There is a reason for everything at the farm, even if it is not obvious at first.