|April 28, 2013
This week on the farm we have some new arrivals of a Dutch Belted cow, her calf , and a heifer.
A little information about the Dutch belted cattle breed:
The breed was established in the Netherlands in the 17th century. From records that are obtainable, the breed was bred by the nobility who concevied the idea of breeding animals of all kinds to a particular color, mainly with a band of white in the center and both ends black. For over 100 years they and their descendants worked upon this striking color makring untill they produced belted cattle, rabbits, goats, poultry, and swine.
As a result of their breeding success we have our wonderful Dutch belted cattle here on our farm.
Pictures soon to come.
October 7, 2012
This past weekend the farm hosted our first Pumpkin Cider Donut Wagon Rides - to the pumpkin patch, where many families picked the first pumpkins of the season. The autumn colors are just starting to show and the pumpkin field looks glorious! Many large Jack-o-lantern pumpkins dot the field as well as "specialty" pumpkins of yellow, green and bi-color varieties. We'll be ready to do it all again next weekend.
Come on out and visit the newest arrival - a bull calf was born - September 14, 2012 at about 10:30am.
April 16, 2012
"Babies, Babies, Everywhere" was a big sucess this year. We had a good time showing the little ones to the many visitors who came out to the farm. If you missed the event - don't worry - Babies are still everywhere... running in the pasture, climbing on hay bales, crawling under the hay feeders! You can still see them all around the farm. Our lambs and kids are enjoying playing together.
March 31, 2012
Yesterday was a VERY busy day at the farm. I [farmer Lori] have worked at the farm for almost 5 year and had not yet seen a birth... Yesterday changed all of that. Cassie (a cow) had a calf, Brownie (a goat) had kids, and Betty (a sheep) had lambs. Now I have seen each animal give birth, all in one day!
If you haven't joined us on Facebook yet - I invite you to check us out. I am attempting to upload the videos from a couple of the births yesterday (calf and goat) and some footage of the little goats first steps. We hope you will join us there and of course visit us live at the farm. We now have babies - for our upcoming program: "BABIES, BABIES EVERYWHERE!"
March 27, 2012
We had our first ever "Toddler Egg Scramble" at the farm this past Saturday and Sunday. We ran 4 filled to capacity programs! If you missed us for the Toddler Egg Scramble - we will be doing it all again this coming Sunday at 1pm! Our big "Farm Egg Scramble" is open for all ages and a very exciting day for us at the farm. Toddlers right on up to twelve year olds can get in on the action. We hope to see you there.
March 21, 2012
We are gearing up for "BABIES, BABIES EVERYWHERE!" We have been watching our goats and sheep carefully for signs they might give birth.
We have our incubator loaded with eggs from several different species of farm birds; chickens, ducks, geese, guineas and turkeys. The photos below show some of our Barred Rock eggs hatching and the little chicks that emerged. Barred Rock chickens start off as little black chicks and at the age of about 4 weeks look like mini adults - small with adult coloration in their feathers. As adults these chicks will have "barred" or striped feathers - in black and white. We have a Barred Rock rooster and a few hens here in our chicken coop.
In our brooder today - we have several "Silky" chicks and some mixed breed chicks. The Brooder is a warm box where the chicks stay while they are young and can't regulate their body temperature. They need to be kept warm until they get their feathers at about 4 weeks of age. Our brooder is clear so visitors may easily see the chicks doing their normal chick activities... eating, sleeping, pretty much what most babies do.
Today we had (so far) 3 new chick hatchlings and 2 still working on escaping their eggs! This is an exciting time of year.
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March 6, 2012
On Sunday March 4, we held a successful Open Volunteer Day - About 65 Volunteers from local 4H clubs and friends of the farm came out to help the staff get ready for some of our huge upcoming events - approximately 5000 easter eggs were filled for the Farm Egg Scramble! 200 craft kits created for wool Wreaths for Sheep Shearing Saturday! 300 wool felting craft kits were assembled for the upcoming Girl Scout Hoe Down! Nearly 200 hours worth of time was donated by these generous individuals - we the staff of Wolcott Farm THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS! You are all an enormous part of each and everyone of the programs we host here.
March 2, 2012
A wild visitor
There are other things besides farm animals here! Recently this hawk was perched in the tree right outside the farm house window - I managed to get this photo of it before it flew away. From my quick glimps I am guessing that it is a Coopers Hawk (but I'm no expert). I have seen a small hawk hunting in our sheep barn. One day it swooped in through the barn door and it's wing brushed my hair! I was startled but also excited by the encounter. The hawk actively hunts the sparrows and mice that are living and feeding in our barns. It is a welcome predator.
February 16, 2012
We have some new arrivals!
Archie was born here at the farm 3 days ago (2-13-2012). He is a Guernsey bull calf. Unfortunately we can't keep him (bulls=agressive) so he probably will be leaving before he gets too big.
Mona is a Lamancha goat who has moved here from Kensington Farm Metropark this week.
She is very cute and petite. She is expecting her first baby this spring. Mona has fit right into our goat herd without any trouble at all from the older gals.
Katie is a 15 year old Percheron mare who moved in last week. She is the mother to our Percheron gelding named JJ. We can really see the family resemblance!
Gretchen is a turkey hen who needed an new home. Her former owners loved her too much to have her for Thanksgiving (if you know what I mean). She is super friendly and lets us pet her. It proved to be too cold outside for her, so for now she is in the sheep barn staying out of the elements. As soon as spring comes along she will be moving to the turkey pen. She even lays us an egg every now and then!
A heifer calf was born Dec. 28, 2011 here at the farm. Her mother is Strawberry (a milking shorthorn breed) - we held a public naming contest for the baby and - by popular demand - Shortcake is her name!
Many of you know our rabbit Romeo. He has been a regular fixture here at the farm for 3 years. Tragically, Romeo suffered a back injury one night last week and we found him paralyzed in the morning. There was nothing the vet could do to help him. We sure miss him. There is no one that can fill those big shoes.
January 16, 2012
Happy New Year! It sure is a busy one here. We are planning many fun and educational programs for the upcoming year at the farm. Check out the events section of this site for info on those.
On January 11 the Wolcott Farm milking staff, Jon Schwark, Jim Donovan, and Patricia Fons were honored by the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA) with a silver “Milk Quality Award.” This award recognizes that our staff and facility “Consistently meets the criteria established by MMPA for milk quality.” Some of the standards for consideration are: cleanliness of the barn, milking parlor and milk storage area, protection of the milk from contamination, proper storage for milk and proper use and maintenance of equipment. Milk quality testing is conducted in the laboratory of the Michigan Dairy. Milk is tested for bacteria and Somatic Cell counts. Somatic cells affect the shelf life of the milk, the higher the number, the lower the shelf life. Wolcott Farm narrowly missed the gold award as our average Somatic cell count for the year was 125,000, only 25,000 away from the gold standard.
Our milking staff and facility were also honored to receive a 100% score on the State of Michigan Survey and Federal Check Rating conducted on the farm. We were 100% in compliance with the Grade A Milk Law. To qualify for this honor, our facility is inspected twice per year by a state milk inspector. We are graded against strict state regulations concerning cleanliness of our barns, milking parlor and milking storage room as well as appearance and cleanliness of the staff and our cattle. We ARE a grade A facility.
Congratulation to Jon, Jim and Patricia we are proud to have you all here at Wolcott Farm as a shining example of what a working dairy farm is and should be. Thank you for your hard work and dedication!
A "milking shorthorn" heifer calf was born at the farm about 2 weeks ago - her mother is Strawberry. We asked the public to help name her and there was an overwhelming favorite - "Shortcake" - so that will be the name for our newest arrival!
We host to an ongoing food drive organized by one of our local 4H groups "The Pirates." They are collecting food for a local food bank and have a tote bin in our lobby for anyone who would like to donate canned goods or non-perishable items to feed the hungry.
December 19, 2011
Things are always changing around this farm! The bull twins, Ernie and Bert, have found new homes and are no longer here. Mighty Mitt the Michigan steer developed a serious and painful knee condition, causing lameness, this fall and is no longer with us. He was about 6 years old which is a good and unusually long life for a beef steer. He will be missed here at the farm.
Now for the good news- our newest Jersey cow just gave birth 3 days ago to a heifer calf named Dorothy! She is a cute little doe-eyed baby - many people when they first see a Jersey calf comment on how they look like a deer fawn without the spots of course.
November 30, 2011
Katrina, one of our Holstien Dairy Cattle, gave birth on the 22nd to healthy bull TWINS! Twins are pretty rare around here in our dairy barn but not unheard of. In the last four years I can only remember one other set of twins being born at this center. Even though their mom is red and white in color the twins (Ernie and Bert) are both black and white. We currently have 5 calves in our dairy barn - all of our stalls are full.
November 3, 2011
BIG NEWS! Marabell (our Ayershire cow) gave birth last night to a healthy heifer calf. Mom and daughter are now resting together in the warm dairy barn. The calf was born outdoors last night sometime and was already up and hopping around this morning when the first farmer arrived. Marabell (the mom) was born here at the farm and she is a first time mother.
Animal visitors to our farm:
This past week two animals have come to the farm that will not be staying. We have brought in a Ram (Male Sheep) and a Buck (Male Goat) for breeding purposes. Our goats and sheep will be bred this month and will then be expecting lambs and kids about the last week of March through the second week of April next year. The 2 gentlemen will be with us for the month of November and December and then will return to the farms that own them.
The Lamancha (breed type) Buck below has no ears - which is charactoristic of the Lamancha breed. The Ram is a Suffolk as are many of our ewes here at the farm with the charactoristic black face and legs.
November 2, 2011
October has been a whirlwind around here with all of the fall activities. Cider Donut wagon rides, Halloween celebrations, Farm Trick-or-treat, Phew! It was a good month.
We are now looking forward to November and the Gingerbread barn program. Also on watch for the new babies. Marabell is going to be a new mom this month and is expecting her first calf on/about November 5. We are already watching her for signs of labor. Also Katrina (one of our older dairy cows) is expecting near the middle of the month
September 20, 2011
"Welcome" to Baron our newest farm family member. We would like to send out a special "Thank You" to Sue Brook of M&MS Farm for letting us aquire such a wonderful animal. Baron is settling in nicely and making new friends - he is housed with Cramer our new mini horse and they have become very close already. At first he was a little suspicious of the sheep in the pen next door but he has gotten over that. He enjoys a good scrathing under his neck and this morning he snuggled right up to my leg like we were old pals. We're lovin' him!
Becca is the newest Brown Swiss dairy cow on the premises. She came to us last week and on Friday she had her calf who's name is "Dave."
Fall is the time for stocking up on farm feed for the animals - the farmers have been busy harvesting crops. Right now we are working on putting silage (which is fresh corn from our field, ground into a mash) into the silo. It is the whole plant, kernels, leaves, stalks and cobs ground and stored in the silo where it ferments and then can be fed to the dairy cows year round.
September 2, 2011
New farm faces:
We are happy to welcome some new animals to the farm center. Cramer our new mini horse is now living in the sheep barn and loving his "mini" pasture. He is about 13 years old and measures 32" tall he is a nice gentleman.
Casey (a Lamancha) and Brownie (a boer) the new goats arrived here a couple of days ago and are doing great. They are learing their place in the herd.
What happened to Casey's ears? Did they freeze off? Did the farmer cut them off? Were they lost in an accident? NO! Casey does have ears! They are small and nubby, this type of ears are typical of the Lamancha breed of goat. She and all other lamancha goats are born this way.
August 12, 2011
Way back in May I blogged about how fast the young turkeys grow (scroll down and see the photos). Today I went out to take some new photos for you. Those little babies that could sit in the palm of my hand on May 4, 2011 are now so big that I can barely get my arms around them. These guys are about 3 months old and they are fully mature. The 3 males strutt and display to the one female. They make the familiar "gobble" sound now and put on quite a show. Both of the white turkeys are males, we have one bronze male and one bronze female.
August 8, 2011
Welcome our new piglets, Hansel and Grettle. They are a brother and sister who moved here from Kensington Farm.
Farmer & Jr. Farmer's Camp:
Last month Wolcott Farm Center held our annual Farmer's camps for kids. We had a great time teaching kids about the day-to-day farm activities. Learning to feed the farm animals and care for their needs is always a highlight of this program. We also toured the farm fields and learned about the various crops that are grown here. The kids enjoyed daily picnics and crafts.
August 1, 2011
Wolcott Farm's Victory Garden:
It's been HOT! Even so, with continual care and watering the Victory Garden is doing very well. We are growing: tomatoes, peas, lettuce, cabbage, melons, herbs and more. Items like the peas and lettuce are just about done - they are cool weather crops and are now setting flower heads and going to seed. The peppers and tomatoes will soon be ready to pick. Our garden is always open for visitors to view.
June 28, 2011
Over 500 people attended our Country Fair event this past weekend.
Here are a few pictures of the fun we had!
June 6, 2011
Spring cleaning takes on a whole new meaning when you are talking about a farm. It takes some heavy equipment and sometimes a strong stomach to deal with the winter left overs here. Below is a photo of the rig that is used to haul the cattle manure from the underground holding pit. It is loaded into the wagon and hauled out to the field. The manure is used on the farm fields as fertilizer for the crops that will grow this summer.
June 4, 2011
Oh How they Grow!
I've been taking photos every so often of the young turkeys this year. They grow so fast. When they first hatched (end of April) the poult could sit in the palm of my hand and looks just like a chick from our chickens. The only way to know the difference is by the small bump on it's face just above the beak called a "snood". Quickly though, the turkeys grow taller and heavier than the young chickens. Now only a month and a half later the young turkey has many of the charactoristics of an adult - the bald head, and plumage, but still the voice of a baby. By the end of summer we expect this turkey to weigh over 20 pounds.
May 4, 2011
Babies on the 'grow':
The goat kids are a joy to watch! They run and frolic around their pasture. We will have them here for about four or five more weeks. By then they will be 8 weeks old and weaned from their moms and they will be up for sale.
Snapdragon with her kids Sadie with her young doe
Renee and Lara (calves) are both about 2-1/2 weeks old.
This photo of Fuzz and Squiggles (ducklings) was taken a week ago - they are already sprouting their adult feathers. Squiggles (the yellow duckling) will grow up to look just like the "Aflac" duck - a pekin duck. In a month these two will look fully grown. The chicks are about 3 weeks old and already starting to look like gauky teenagers! By six months of age they will lay their first eggs.
Our piglets have arrived from Kensington Metropark. This year we have two little males. We are still deciding on names for them.
April 21, 2011
Babies Babies Everywhere!
Spring brings the new buds on the trees, the fresh spring flowers and babies to the farm. Now is the time for chicks, ducklings, lambs, piglets and kids (baby goats)! Our sheep have given birth to a half dozen lambs at this time and 2 more are expecting any day. All of our doe goats have had their babies - 5 kids now play in the barn. Two dairy heifer calves were born last week - a guernsey named Renee and a Holstein named Lara. The angus beef cows also each had a calf (see photo below). Life is "springing" up all around the farm!
March 14, 2011
Sheep Shearing Season
It's almost that time of year. Spring, the begining of the warm months and all the sun shine and happy thoughts that brings. Spring is the time of year that we shed our winter coats and don our wind breakers and our rain coats. Many of the animals at the farm also begin to shed their winter coats, however the sheep's wool continues to grow and does not shed or fall off on its own. They must be sheared. That is the name given to the process of cutting the wool from the sheep. Shearing is not painful for the sheep and is much like when we get our hair cut. It is typically done once per year and is timed just before lambing season in the spring. This results in a cleaner environment for baby lambs. It also keeps the fleeces cleaner.
Shearing will take place on our farm March 26th. From 10am to 3pm we will host Sheep Shearing Saturday. You and your family can watch as the sheep get their yearly hair cut and ask the professional sheep shearer your questions. There will be fiber demonstrations as well - find out what happens to the wool after it leaves the sheep and it's many uses. The cost is $5 per person.
Below: Our sheep are full of lambs and wool. The lambs are expected in April just in time for Baby Animal Tours.
February 23, 2011
Toy Tractors and More
Last week we held a brand new program centered around Toy Tractors. We had a nice turnout for a cold sunny day. Our guest farmer - Mr. Brown - brought out his big collection of toy tractors and shared them with us. We talked about the way we use tractors and equipment on the farm and in our fields, demonstrating using toy tractors. We read a couple of short preschool aged books to the children and then we PLAYED! Peddle tractors were outside and the walks were cleared of snow - it felt so good to play outside! The grain table was set up in the green house so that the kids had a good place to plow and fill up the small toy tractors and wagons with real corn kernels from last fall's field crops. We even had the full size tractor out so the kids could climb the steps and stand next to the big wheels and see how huge a real tractor is. All around BIG FUN!
February 7, 2011
He is our Black Bantam Cochin Frizzle rooster (that's a mouth full). Black of course is his color, Bantam refers to his small light-weight size, Cochin is his breed and his feather style is Frizzle. Roosters are the males in the chicken world. Crowing in the morning to "wake the farmer" but that's not the only time -crowing in the afternoon, crowing at night, and any old time he feels like it. Roosters are also the protectors of the flock (group of hens). Gordon carries his weapons at all times, they are called spurs. He has a spur on each leg, they are above his feet and below his knees. It looks like a very long toe nail but is much larger than his nails on his toes. Gordon will use his spurs to kick his enemys and protect the flock. He actively protects his flock from us farmers as well, even though we bring the food and water and mean no harm... he is just doing his job. Good thing he's a small bird!
January 29, 2011
The animals gaze intently through the gently falling snow... in silence they await the farmer who is working her way to each barn. Morning chores are a peaceful time of day. The farm is not yet open at this time of day and the animals are eager for breakfast. The serene beauty of the farm in winter is picturesque. Join us daily 9am to 5 pm for some country tranquillity.
January 7, 2011
Our new baby heifer calf is doing great. We named her "Eve". She is full of spunk and energy and loves to drink her milk. Stop by and visit her when you get a chance!
Eve - January 2011
December 31, 2010
This morning when I arrived, Jim (one of our milkers) told me we had a new calf just born. A heifer calf (female), she is the first little girl born in six months here on the farm. That's important because females will be added to the milking herd and keep our dairy operation going for the future. She is black and white and weighs 120 pounds. She is extra large, a typical size for a Holstein calf is about 80 pounds. She and her mom "Rainbow" are resting in the barn today. The little one is not yet on her feet but probably will be by day's end.
December 30, 2010
We have had 3 births here at the farm in the past week. Three new calves have made their way into the world and are living cozily in our dairy barn. All of them are bull calves (males). The smallest of the three which is the oldest (born 12-25-10) is our little Jersey calf. Their breed is typically small and that accounts for his size compared with the others. He is solid brown, with a face like a deer.
The next calf was born on the 27th and the third was born on the 29th. They are both red and white Holsteins. All three are dairy breeds - though being males they will not produce milk.
We are expecting another calf any day. Rainbow, one of our milking Holstein cow's, calf was due to be born yesterday... we are still watching and waiting for this little one. Due dates are approximate and babies are born when they are ready.
Jersey Bull Calf 12-25 Holstein Bull Calf 12-27 Holstein Bull Calf 12-29
December 17, 2010
Last night 3 new goats arrived at the farm. Two new Apine does and a young Nubian wether. The Alpine is a breed of goat that originated - you probably guessed it - in the Alps of Europe. They are considered a dairy breed of goat though the males are sometimes also used for meat. They are a medium sized goat with upright ears and come in a variety of colors. The word "Doe" - discribes a female. The Nubian goat, a wether (castrated male) is considered a dual purpose breed. Originating in the Middle East they are used for their meat as well as milk. They are easy to recognize by their long floppy ears. Our 3 "newbies" are very friendly and inquisitive. I think they will fit right in.
Tom, one of our Percheron Draft Horses (below) is here all winter. You can come on in and visit too. The farm is open every day but Christmas, and New Year's Day. The animals that we keep in the winter are: a herd of dairy and beef cattle, draft horses, goats, sheep, several varieties of chickens, rabbits, a golden pheasant, and of course "Sweetie" our barn cat is alway on the prowl. We milk the cattle at 4:30pm this time of year and it is free and open for public viewing. We invite you to take advantage of the quiet stillness that the winter time brings to the farm. Come on over!
Snowing - December 2010
Last Sunday it snowed hard here at the farm. We put down extra straw for warm bedding and closed up the barn doors to keep the small animals right inside during the frigid temperatures. The large animals like the cattle and horses are able to go in and out of shelter as they please. Their winter coats keep them warm on days like these. No matter the weather, a farmer will be here to tend to the feeding and watering every day.
Below Mighty Mitt the "Michigan Steer" hangs out with a pal in the snow.
Fall fun at the Farm - October 2010
October is a busy month at the Farm Center. We hosted Cider Donut Wagon Rides every weekend in Septemer and October - and added pumpkins to the mix in October. We also held our annual Farm Halloween and Farm Trick-or-Treat. During these two events visitors can see the animals, play games and also tour the Boo Barn. The photo below shows the pirate ship set up in our slightly haunted barn. We decorate the big dairy barn in a manner that reflects Haloween without being extremely scarry. Children trick-or-treat from barn to barn on the farm. This night was a bit chilly and damp but we had loads of costumed kids and plenty of candy to go 'round!
WOLCOTT MILL METROPARK FARM CENTER
65775 Wolcott Road, Ray Twp. MI 48096
Open daily 9am to 5pm
Dairy cattle milking time is at 10 am daily and is open for public viewing.
*Free Parking & Admission*
*There is an admission fee for programs where indicated.