Mules are a very particular breed; in order to create a mule, a female horse and male donkey must be bred together. The specific genetic makeup of a mule depends on the fact that females have 64 chromosomes and males have 62 chromosomes, creating a mule with 63 chromosomes. If, however, a female donkey and male horse breed together, they create what is called a hinny. A mule cannot reproduce with another mule. These fascinating animals have power in their hind legs, inherited from their horse mothers, and power in their shoulders, inherited from their donkey fathers. These features make mules great for racing and transporting large items. In fact, mules are used in the military for packing supplies! Lucy was born June 1, 2004 and Sawyer was born July 11, 2005. They are both vivacious animals!
The Narragansett turkey breed originated right here in the United States. Unfortunately, they are an endangered breed. The males are easily differentiated from their female counterparts by their beautifully colored feathers. In the spring during their spring molt, the male turkey’s face transitions from a soft blue to a bright red. Narragansett turkeys normally live for eight to ten years. They lay around 6 eggs at a time and have a gestation period of 28 days. On a farm, they are typically used for their eggs and more commonly for their meat. When approaching a Narragansett turkey, you must always face them because the minute you turn away from them they will begin to chase you!
"Cisco" the Donkey
Standing at 35.5 inches tall, Cisco is a small standard donkey. He is 8 years old and is currently the only donkey here at Northwest park. Volunteers and farm manager, Brad Nicholson, feed Cisco hay, grain, and water twice a day. Similar to a horse, Cisco is vaccinated and dewormed every 3 months to protect him from harmful diseases. Selenium, found commonly in soil throughout central United States, is essential to the health of donkey. The element helps to prevent birth defects and miscarriages as well as promote a healthy coat of hair. Donkeys are commonly known to be very aggressive animals when face to face with predators. Many farm will use donkeys to protect the rest of the farm animals by warding off coyotes and wolves. In addition, donkeys are used to transport farm essentials.
"Strawberry" the Cow
Born on April 15, 2003, Strawberry is the only Ayrshire cow at Northwest Park. The Ayrshire cattle originated in Scotland and were first imported to the United States around 1822.
In fact, the first importation of the Ayrshire cattle was handled by H.W. Hills right here in Windsor, Connecticut! On most farms, cows are used for their milk and their meat. However, since Strawberry is not used to breed, no milk can be collected. Cows typically give birth to one calf at a time, with a gestation period of about 285 days.
Here at Northwest Park, we have two types of chickens which came from Iowa: New Hampshire chickens and Speckled Sussex chickens. The New Hampshire chickens are red all over except for their face and Speckled Sussex chickens are typically brown with cream and tan spots on their feathers. We currently have onemonth old chicks who, like most newborn chicks, must be kept under a 95 degree lamp. Our chickens indulge in lettuce greens and enjoy their lush and roomy surroundings.
Sikorsky, Victoria, Isabelle, and Kate are all Cotswold Sheep, originating from Cotswold England. Cotswold sheep are notoriously known for their long wool; it is a durable breed providing meat, wool, and lanolin. Sheep generally produce between 13 lamb and here at Northwest Park, we breed our sheep once a year. Copper is fatal to a sheep’s liver because of its buildup in sheep more so than in any other animal. Though copper is essential to the metabolism and health of the nervous system; however, over 25 ppm can result in weak bones, hair loss, feeble wool growth, and anemia.
"Anisette" the Goat
Anisette is our only goat here at Northwest Park and she is part of the Oberhalsi breed. Originating from Switzerland, Oberhasli goats can tolerate harsh conditions much like the cold New England climate. The name “Oberhalsi” loosely translates in Swedish as “highlander”. The
breed is about two inches smaller than the other standard normal breeds. At 15 years old, Anisette is most likely the oldest goat you will ever meet compared to the average lifespan of a goat of 12 years old. Goats are often used for their milk and their meat; however, at Northwest Park, Anisette is highly used and favor her humor and enthusiasm.