My conversation with rancher Lisa Maggard about visiting Gusty Ridge Ranch went something like this:
Lisa: “…You may even be able to see a brand new baby yak. Our first baby just arrived last week and we have 4 more on the way.”
Me: “A BRAND NEW BABY YAK!!! That would be AMAZING! Sorry to overwhelm you with capital letters. I’m very excited.”
I always get very excited whenever I have an opportunity to see an animal I haven’t seen before, especially if it is a baby.
The tour started with a flock of silly baby turkeys. The turkeys are silly enough that they need baby chickens as part of their flock or they won’t figure out how to eat or drink.
Look closely. A silly baby turkey is hiding in this greenery.
Then we moved on to visit the chickens and their school bus coop with Lisa’s daughter carrying a chicken who had walked half a mile to visit her. The chicken was probably too tired to walk back.
I got to see how this happens when we headed back towards the house. Another chicken followed us the whole way.
The ranch is 100 acres, so we piled into the truck and drove out to see the yak herd.
They seemed pretty calm all and all, like big hairy cattle. Lisa and I got out of the truck and we watched them for a few minutes.
One cow, a friend of Lisa’s named Wildfire, got up and began ambling towards us with her calf. Lisa seemed perfectly calm, but I got a little nervous. After all, it’s wise to be cautious around any large animal you aren’t personally acquainted with.
Eventually, Wildfire stopped and her calf hid under her. I guess the calf was a little nervous too. Wildfire inspected us patiently and then the two of them ambled off again. We piled back into the truck to do more visiting.
Our next stop was the pasture with a rescue llama and a rescue donkey.
As you can see, both the llama and the donkey have made friends with one of the sheep. The ranch has a herd of rare St. Croix sheep and this young ram spends his time out in the pasture with his friends.
The ewes and other lambs have quarters closer to the house.
So close to the house, in fact, that I almost got a picture of them lounging on the patio, in much the same way that my chickens lounge on my deck.
I didn’t take many notes during the interview since we spent most of our time traipsing around this big ranch, but I did learn that Gusty Ridge Ranch will soon have yak meat and lamb for sale. They may get another school bus coop and more chickens, so keep an eye on them if you’re looking for local eggs.
Follow them on Facebook, a course I highly recommend, especially if you don’t have enough pictures of animals in your life. In person or on social media, they will fill that gap for you.
©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2015
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