Our Partner Animals
The Dairy Herd:
Every animal has a name and our Barn Crew knows that name (and personality) of every animal. We practice rotational grazing and allow our cows to be in the pastures as often as possible enjoying nature’s “salad bar” in addition to our own chemical-free, homegrown hay. We invite you to stop by our Dairy Barn and meet the girls!
Our award-winning Jersey cows make up the majority of our milking herd. Jersey cows originated from the channel island of Jersey, located off the coast of Normandy, France. Jerseys are well-known for their high-quality milk, which is rich in protein, butter fat, minerals and trace elements. Jersey cows are usually light brown in color and a black nose bordered by a white muzzle. Jerseys are smaller cows and typically weigh between 800 and 1,200 pounds. They have a calm, friendly temperament.
Holstein cows are the most popular breed of cow and were the traditional breed Hillside Farms. The breed, which originated in Europe, dates back nearly 2,000 years. Holsteins are the largest dairy cow and weigh on average 1,500 pounds. Holsteins are easily recognized by their distinctive black and white patterns and markings. Some Holsteins are red and white. Typically, Holstein cows are good-natured and easy to handle.
These beautiful brown cows originated in the northeastern area of Switzerland and are considered the oldest of all dairy breeds. Skeletal remains consistent with this breed can be traced back to 4,000 B.C. The Brown Swiss is light brown in color, has a creamy white muzzle, dark nose and dark blue eye pigmentation. Brown Swiss produce quality milk high in protein and butter fat. Brown Swiss cows are quickly becoming a staple in most dairy barns because of their milk output, temperament and longevity. Brown Swiss cows weigh on average between 1,100 – 1,500 pounds.
Milking Devon Oxen:
One of the most exciting history lessons here on the farm is made possible through our Devon oxen! Pilgrims introduced Devon oxen to America in 1623. Devon oxen have always been valued for both high-quality beef and rich milk. Devon cattle are ruby red with black-tipped white horns. Compact and medium in size, the cows average between 1,100 and 1,600 pounds. Devon Oxen are surefooted, confident and excellent on rugged, rocky terrain.
We have a large flock of free-range, nesting chickens that live at our neighboring farm, Spring Brook. Our chickens are not raised for meat but for egg production. While it can be at times a bit of a challenge finding and gathering eggs not laid in our farm-made henhouse, we believe that chickens are healthier when allowed to roam, peck in the soil, feel the sun and take dirt baths. We also have a few ambassador chickens that can be seen roaming throughout the area around the Dairy Store. Rhode Island Red, Leghorn, Bantam and Americana breeds make up The Lands’ brood, which produce brown, green, blue and white eggs. Chickens are very social and have a strong hierarchy; each hen has a place within the flock.
Dorset sheep originate from the Down region of England and were introduced to the United States in 1885. Dorset sheep are medium in size and produce dense, shorter wool. Dorset sheep can be horned or polled (breeding without horns). The Dorset sheep at The Lands are polled. Each year our Dorset sheep are sheared and the wool from our herd is used in our educational programs as well as spun into yarn. Soon wool hats, mittens, socks, scarves and shawls will be available in our new Retail Store.
This French-Alpine breed of goat originated in the Alps and is known for being hardy, adaptable animals that do well in all climates. Alpine goats have no distinct color pattern and in fact may range from pure white to shades of fawn, gray, brown, black, red or bluff with various shadings or combination of colors. Both males and females are short haired and have beards, yet the beard of males is more pronounced. The milk from our Alpine goats is used to make soap currently sold in our Dairy Store.
Sardinian (Miniature Mediterranean) donkeys are native to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia and are considered identical to the Sicilian donkeys. Although nearly extinct in their land of origin, Sardinian and Sicilian donkeys are thriving in the United States. Sardinian donkeys are typically friendly, affectionate and highly-intelligent creatures. These attention-seeking donkeys will “perform” for attention through friendly nudges, brays and funny sounds. Sardinian donkeys weigh on average 250 pounds and can live up to 35 years.
Domestic, Short-Haired Cat:
Our cats, sometimes referred to “organic mouse traps” can be found around the greenhouses and dairy barns. Understanding the gross problem of over breeding/inbreeding among the cat population, we spay/neuter all felines as well as provide inoculations. Typically you will see Lola, Tiger and Rose lounging near the greenhouses or Greenhouse Anne’s shed.