Baa, baa birthdays
Prepare yourself… the birthdays are coming…for our petting zoo herd! The goats and sheep who live in the petting zoo area are amid an exciting time, as this is birthday season for them! We currently care for a herd of 14 goats and five sheep, and all their birthdays fall within about two months of each other. Some of the birthdays this year are a pretty big deal, as we will now have one of the oldest goats to live at Zoo Atlanta and, if you have been keeping up with our newest goat kids, they will be having their first birthdays!
First up on the calendar are our older Nubian girls that had birthdays at the end of January. Nessie is our oldest goat, as well as our dominant female and she turned 10 years old on January 30. Most goats live an average of 10 years and she is now one of the oldest goats that we know of that has lived here at Zoo Atlanta, so that is quite the milestone! Jasmine and Cinderella are not far behind, as they both turned 9 years old on January 22 and 27, respectively. Next up are twin Nigerian dwarf goats, Calvin and Hobbes, who turn 6 years old on February 22. Now that’s only five members of the herd. The other 14 all fall in March. Are you ready for the run down? Here we go …
The early birds (or goats, in this case) of March are the twin Oberhasli goats Phineas and Ferb, who will be turning 6 on March 3. Then comes Nigerian dwarf goat Bucky, our first kid, who will be turning 1 on March 6. The twin Saanen goats, Tobias and Wembley, are next and will be 6 on March 12. Gulf Coast native sheep Sven is the first sheep to have a birthday and will be 2 on March 16. His best friend Olaf will also be 2 few days later on March 20. Then comes Nigerian dwarf kid Steve, who will be 1 on March 21. Franklin the Southdown babydoll sheep will be 6 on March 23. The next day, Simon, the first Nubian goat kid, will be 1 on March 24. The next day after that, twin Southdown babydoll sheep Benson and Sheldon will be 6 on March 25. Theodore, another Nubian goat kid, will be 1 on March 28. And last, but certainly not least, will be Alvin the Nubian goat kid, who will also be turning one on March 29. Whew! Did you get all of that?
Now, you might be wondering, how do we celebrate all these birthdays? Well, we do what most people do … have cake, of course! However, the “cakes” that we make our goats and sheep may look a little less appetizing than the ones we humans like to have. They are usually ice cakes—cakes made up of many of their favorite treats that are frozen into a nice block—but if it’s too cold for the frozen goodies, a nice “mush” cake will do (basically made up of the same things, just minus the freezing part). These cakes can include things like goat or sheep grain, carrots, lettuce, beet pulp, and sometimes even some flavored drink powder (sugar-free of course!). We can also celebrate by including some extra enrichment for them throughout the day. Whatever we do, we always make sure our favorite hooved friends have an extra special day to celebrate being another year older.
If you visit the Zoo soon, be sure to stop by the petting zoo and wish everyone a happy birthday!
Keeper I, Ambassador Animals