Spending time at Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester, doesn’t just mean hanging out with puppies and kittens, there’s also a farm filled with animals! I was lucky enough to get to spend a day with the devoted farm staff. Walking into Lollypop Farm this day, I didn’t know what to expect. When I was young I spent a lot of time in horse barns, but had never worked with other farm animals before. Lollypop Farm has a wide variety of animals that need to be cared for, the possibilities are endless for what needs to be done throughout the day. My day started by meeting with Teagan, a farm attendant, and Barb, a volunteer. Both of these women have a passion for farm animals, and it shined through in every task we did. While we made our way out to the farm Barb explained to me what she does and why she does it. She has been a volunteer for over three years and seems to have loved every minute of it.
Start of the Day
The first job of the day was to visit the llamas and clean out their shelter. We spent time with Sable and Emma, the two llamas that call Lollypop Farm their forever home. I quickly learned Sable loves to cuddle, and if it was up to her she would be pet 24/7, while Emma would rather watch from afar. The farm staff is well educated about all animals on the farm. Teagan explained to me the difference between alpacas and llamas, she assured me llamas really only spit on each other!
After we spent some time with these two we headed over to the chicken coop. On this day, the coop was being fully cleaned and filled with new hay, and the chickens were noticeably happy about this. Before doing that it was important to check for eggs, Lollypop Farm chickens lay several eggs per day!
The Feeding Frenzy
Once we finished up the cleaning portion of the day, Barb and I made a pit stop to see some goats while Teagan headed off to check on the donkeys. Penelope, a beloved goat that has become well-known at Lollypop Farm lives with her best friend Rudy. They have a space to themselves where they live and play together. This started feeding time off right, so much excitement every time we walked into an animal enclosure!
When we finished feeding these two we headed over to the ducks. It’s certainly a sight to see, around 20 white ducks sitting together next to a pond with a few visiting mallards surrounding them.
Our next location was visiting the pigs. Before this day I didn’t know much about pigs except that Lollypop Farm has quite a few. When we entered the pen, they immediately ran up to us, knowing it was feeding time. I learned from Barb that pigs are actually a lot like dogs. They run to you when it’s time for food, love treats, and treasure a nice petting session. Barb knew each of the pig’s personalities and what they required during feeding time. For example, when they are done eating it’s best to let the quieter ones out of their pens first. This gives them time to go outside before the other pigs explore each and every pen in search of leftovers.
There was more feedings to do inside, where more goats, pigs, and young chickens live. Here we essentially did the same thing; filling up the water, feeding them, and making sure they had enough hay.
Before we knew it it was 4:30, almost time to close the farm to visitors. We headed out to the chickens, where Teagan swiftly got all the chickens in the coop. Well, there was one chicken that Teagan and I had to work together to catch, but overall they listened and followed her remarkably well.
Today was a lucky day to be a part of the farm staff because we were going to give the pigs some melons and apples as an afternoon treat. This gave me another opportunity to see the pigs in action. Smokey, the head honcho, was glued to me eating treats right out of my hand. Other pigs, such as Max, were shyer and preferred eating the food off the ground. Teagan and Barb pointed out to me as we went which pig preferred which fruit, and how it was best to give it to them.
To end the day, after all visitors are gone, the llamas and goats are let out of their enclosures to explore the petting area. Barb told me ahead of time what would most likely happen, the goats venture into the llama area and the llamas head over to where the goats live. It’s a case of “the grass is always greener”, except for these animals sometimes it’s actually true!
After interning with Lollypop Farm Farm all semester and seeing what goes on inside the building, I was happy to experience what happens outside as well. I was given the opportunity to see a side of Lollypop Farm Farm that I had never experienced before. It is easy to see how much the farm staff and volunteers genuinely care about the work they do. To them, it is not just a job. They each go the extra mile to ensure the animals are as happy and healthy as can be. Between Teagan building a swing for the chickens so they can have some extra fun, and Barb educating kids walking by about the right way to treat farm animals, it shows that the happiness and well-being of the animals is, and always will be, top propriety.