We’re Having a Heatwave!

2016-07-06 14.15.30When the “feels like” temperature reaches above 90 or 100, like it has this week, we urge our employees to drink plenty of water and we supply them with free popsicles to keep them cool. We also make sure that our animals get the same treatment. Animal popsicles and fans to the rescue! They all get the royal treatment! Animals can become stressed in extreme heat and they don’t all have sweat glands like we do. Freezing their favorite snacks in water not only keeps them entertained, it also keeps them hydrated. The chickens and rabbits love herbs and fruit combinations and the angora goats thoroughly enjoy cabbage and peach popsicles.

IMG_2517 Our sheep really appreciate their industrial-size fan that gives them a breeze on a sweltering day. And there’s nothing better than a cool foot bath as far as Equinox, our alpaca, is considered!

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Check out our chickens discovering their first popsicle! The first chicken just jumps right on it while the others are a little more tentative but in the end, they loved their frozen snack: Chickens and Popsicles

Stay cool out there, it’s going to be another hot week!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

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 Looks like the groundhog was right.  It’s now March and the end of this winter is nowhere in sight. So…since some of the most frequently asked questions we receive are related to our animals and, more specifically, animal care/welfare, we thought this would be a good time to let you know how our beloved, four legged friends fare during these frigid temperatures.

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First of all, our animals are more comfortable in cold weather than in our steamy Virginia summers, given that they are generally indigenous to countries with colder climates.  Think about it this way: llamas, sheep, alpacas and angora goats all have coat made of fibers that are used to keep US warm in winter.  In fact, one of our Co-Farmers in Chief, Lucas Cox, has those fibers from the spring shearing sessions spun into wool for his wife, who then knits them into beautiful creations.

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Even the goat herd in the goat village grows an undercoat of cashmere that makes them all look adorably pudgy!

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All of the animals have enclosures or 3 sided shelters to protect them from wind and rain, and they are given water and fed daily (a little more feed in the winter than in the warmer months).  Don’t we all tend to put on a couple extra pounds in the winter?  As for the “free range” animals, the peacocks and guinea fowl, they can make their way into one of our greenhouses for a little extra warmth.

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We are counting down the days until spring has sprung.  In the meantime, stay warm and we look forward to seeing you in the spring!

 

An Interview With a Lamb Dad

IMG_6280Father’s Day is just a day away and I think it’s important to acknowledge and honor all types of dads.  Surrogate dads, father figures, etc., one may even qualify for the moniker of…”Lamb Dad”!  Such is the case of Lucas Cox, Co-Farmer-in-Chief here at Cox Farms.   Unlike his sister, Aaron (the other Co-Farmer-in-Chief), who definitely is a goat person, Lucas leans toward the more exotic, wooly animals.  Chewie, the llama, Ivan and Hamlet, the angora goats and Equinox and Quincy, the alpacas, are all Lucas’s “kids”.  The newest members to Cox Farms are two precious lambs that were born in mid-May.  They’re the offspring of two of Lucas’s Bluefaced Leicester sheep, pronounced blue-faced Less-ter, just to keep you in-the-know.  Yesterday, I spent some time with Lucas and the sheep and lambs and let me just say, they are easy to love!

Q:  Let’s be honest, it’s no secret that we all thought these were odd looking sheep!  Why this breed of sheep?

A:  Come on, they’re cute now, right?  It’s all in the eye of the beholder.  Some people may not think I’m cute, either.  Their wool is great.  That’s what this breed is known for, their long wool and blue/purple pigmented skin underneath the wool.

Q:  I’ll give you this – those babies are adorable.  What’s up with the wool thing?  You don’t strike me as a knitter.

A:  My wife is the knitter in the family.  You know, Chewie has won awards for his fiber.  It’s amazing stuff.

Q:  Back to those lambs-they’re a month old, but last time I checked, you hadn’t chosen names for them.  Any decision?

A:  Yeah,  I wanted to stick with the theme that was started with the three adult sheep,  named Pilsner, Smuttynose and Porter.  Staying on that path, The little female lamb’s name will be India and the boy is Stout.

Q:  So, who’s the favorite?

A:  Come on, I can’t pick a favorite!  You love ’em all the same, right?

Spoken like a true dad, even if the babies are all four legged.IMG_6272

To learn and see more about the animals at Cox Farms, visit our website: http://www.coxfarms.com/about/animals.aspx