Hi from the herd!
Hey everyone! My name is Wendy, and I am a member of the care team in the petting zoo. I’m here to let you in on a little secret … did you know that you are helping to train the animals every time you walk in to interact with our sheep and goats (when the Zoo is open, that is)? Yup, that’s right, you read that correctly: You are an animal trainer! Recently the petting zoo had some new baby goat additions to the herd. When you came to see them in the petting zoo, you were helping us in training them to share the same space as you and getting a nice pat on the back. By moving slowly around the baby goats, that helped them learn to not be uneasy around people, and that when people approach them they will get a nice pat on the back, which is very reinforcing.
Goats and sheep are grazers, meaning they eat hay all day long. We have many different feeding areas for the goats and sheep to graze whenever they would like. While in the petting zoo we do not hand-feed the goats and sheep, and this helped them learn that hay doesn’t come from people but that they can readily get hay from their feeding stations. This helped the goats and sheep use their manners and not be pushy begging for hay from people.
Thank you everyone for all your help and continued help in training not only our baby goats but our whole herd! We hope to get to see you all again soon, but in the meantime, hello from the herd!
Keeper III, Ambassador Animals