Visit with the Spring Barnyard Baby Animals at Strawbery Banke 4/21-4/29!

Strawbery Banke welcomes Spring by opening early to showcase a variety of more than a dozen heirloom breeds of Baby Animals (and their moms) that would have been familiar to earlier generations. The event is a family-friendly opportunity to learn more about domestic livestock typical on coastal northern New England farms from the 17th century to present day.

Baby Animals: Heritage Breeds at the Banke

Runs daily Saturday, April 21 through Sunday, April 29 from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Peter Cook, who assists with the coordination of animals for the museum’s NH Fall Festival, is curating the event, securing breeders from NH, Maine and MA farms who are expert in heritage animals including lambs, kids, calves, piglets, bunnies, chicks and ducklings. The participants answer visitors’ questions, explaining the developmental needs of the babies, the various aspects of husbandry that are required to raise them and why they have chosen to preserve these sometimes-endangered domestic animals for future generations.

The Baby Animals event showcase heritage breeds of livestock that became popular during different centuries as settlers from the UK, Ireland, Europe, Africa and South America contributed to local agrarian cultural heritage. Among the 15 or more types of animals participating are:

  • Mulefoot pigs from Dogpatch Farm in Washington ME
  • Gulf Coast Native sheep from Heart Stone Farm in Milton NH.
  • Soay sheep, one of the oldest domesticated animals known to man and now quite rare. Native to the St. Kilda group of islands west of the Outer Hebrides. From Hermit Thrush Hill in Fonda NY.
  • Clun Forest sheep, an old breed from Shropshire in Northern Wales, introduced to the US with migrants from Nova Scotia. From Riverbank Farm in Salisbury NH.
  • Jacob sheep, identified in the Book of Genesis and prized in New England for their soft dark fleeces that are ideal for many weaving projects. From Marsh Mallo Farm in Fort Plain NY.
  • Nigerian Dwarf goats, introduced to the US in the early 1900s and very popular in New England as they are easily-trained large milk producers that are easy to keep in small areas. From Tiny Hill Farm, Milton Mills NH
  • San Clemente goats from Berwick ME
  • Silver Fox and English Angora rabbits from Kerfluffle Fiber Farm in Lebanon ME
  • Belted Galloway calf from Diamond B Farm in New Durham NH.

In addition to the animals, visitors can participate in family activities in some of the historic houses and the TYCO Visitors Center where hands-on weaving programs will take place. Figtree Kitchen Café is open daily, throughout the event.

Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for children 5-17; and free to children under 5, members and active duty military and their families. Group visits are encouraged.

Children’s Breakfast with the Animals

Runs daily Sunday April 22 through Sunday, April 29 from 9:00am to 10:00am.

Strawbery Banke is also hosting a special program in conjunction with the event. Led by a heritage animal breeder and educator this program, presented for an hour before the animal tent opens to the public each day, is designed to give children age 4 to 8 (all ages admitted) an opportunity to meet the baby lambs, kids, chicks and other animals, up close.  Participants will learn about milking, feed the animals and create a fiber craft gift to take home. Ticket includes a breakfast snack and all-day admission to the Baby Animals event.

Tickets are $35 per child (must be accompanied by a responsible adult, at no additional cost. Snack is for children only.). Program is limited to 12 children per day. This program is offered with support from Exeter Hospital.

BABY ANIMALS: Heritage Breeds at the Banke
14 Hancock Street, Portsmouth NH (603) 433-1100
Saturday, April 22 – Sunday, April 30, 2017; 10:00am – 5:00pm

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