A Barnyard Baby New Year!


Our donkey, Riviera seems to have been pregnant forever…but all that changed on New Years day at 8:00am when she finally had her baby! A sweet, wobbly little donkey with huge ears and long legs. Mom was so protective that we couldn’t get close enough to tell if it was a boy or girl for almost a week. Well, it’s a boy but no name yet…


Mom Riviera was rescued from slaughter last year along with the baby’s dad who is also at The Barnyard. Mom and baby are doing great; he is silly, happy and healthy and she is a wonderful mother!

To watch him grow up follow along with The Barnyard on our Facebook page and Instagram. Feel free to give us name suggestions and if you would like to be his monthly sponsor please visit our website.

The Barnyard wishes everyone a happy, healthy New Year filled with love and animal cuddles!


Goats: Can you handle the Truth?

Lots of people dream of having a few goats or a “mini” pig*, a horse or a few chickens; but do they really know what they are getting into? No. They don’t. And that is why many of these animals end up at shelters and sanctuaries. Now I’m not saying that these people don’t have good intentions, I’m sure they do but they just don’t realize what it takes to care for a farm animal and the cost that it involves. I am going to tell you.


These are the two that stole my heart…Pepsi and Cola.

I have always had animals; rabbits, a dog and cats but am one of those that has always wanted a farm. I love animals…really love them. Thankfully my husband does too. Last year I heard about the Barnyard Sanctuary, my husband and I decided to adopt 2 bunnies from them. When we got there and walked up the driveway I fell in love; there were goats, donkeys, horses, cows, sheep, llamas, pigs and every other kind of farm animal. We started to volunteer shortly there after. I now volunteer almost every Saturday. Volunteering is not glamorous, it basically involves shoveling poop from several hundred farm animals and I  love it! I have a soft spot in my heart for goats and donkeys, I can’t explain it but they just melt my heart. So last spring after the sanctuary saved 10 cull baby  goat boys, I caved! Despite my husbands objections we adopted 2 baby goat boys. I have learned a great deal since we brought them home but I wouldn’t change a thing.

If you are thinking of getting a farm animal here are few questions you need to answer first:

Do you have adequate space for them? Is is safe?

Does your town allow you to have farm animals?

Can you afford to feed, shelter and pay for veterinarian care?

Are you willing to give the time it takes to care for them? (no more sleeping in, they get up with sun)

Can you deal with the poop? Where will you put it?

Once you determine that you are willing and able, the next thing you need to know that is you should never just have one animal, farm animals are herd animals, they must have at least one companion. An only goat is a lonely goat.

To give you an idea of what it will cost to get started:

Shed $1,200 + $150 for foundation supplies (luckily my husband could make make the foundation himself so we didn’t have to pay for someone else to do it)

Fencing $1,800

Hay bales range from $4 to $7 each

Pine bedding $5 to $7 a bag

Keep in mind you will need a dry place to store the hay and bedding.


Once you get them home they will most likely be noisy as they are in a new, strange place. Hopefully you will have neighbors that won’t mind a little goat crying. After a few weeks of getting used to their new home they will quiet down. I also scheduled a vet appointment as my guys still needed 2 shots and I just wanted to them to have everything checked out as well as their ear tags removed…no need to have reminders that they were once a commodity. The vet comes to our house so it costs more than the average visit, my first vet bill was $264.00. Since then I have spent several more hundred dollars as Pepsi had a bladder infection and has crystals in his urine which means he is susceptible to kidney stones. This is a life long problem that I will have to keep an eye on.

Another thing to know if you are adopting baby goats boys that have been neutered, many of them are neutered early, too early, which means their bodies are not fully developed and they are more likely to have kidney stones which can be deadly. No grains for neutered goat boys.


About to get a sonogram…

You will also need to survey where your goats will living and check the plants and shrubs, despite popular belief goats can not eat anything. Goats are very picky eaters as a matter of fact. You can go on-line an download a list of plants that are good for them and not so good for them. They will search through the bale of hay to get the most perfect pieces and when they are done they will want a fresh bale to pick through that.

They say that goats are escape artists, they are very smart and can learn to open latches etc., make sure your enclosure is goat proof. Thankfully our goats really like us and where they live so that has not been a problem for us. Goats also like to play, make sure you have some type “jungle gym” for them to play on. You can get great ideas on Pinterest.


Our temporary jungle gym until my husband can make a real one.

Hoof trimming is an important part of a goat health. You can learn to do it yourself or have the vet do it but, it is not difficult and can become costly if the vet does it. Pepsi’s hooves grow quickly so I need to do it about every 4 or 5 weeks. It is important to keep up with because it can be painful if they grow too long and it can cause infections because dirt can become trapped.

A few more things a future goat owner should know: goats do not like rain, they do not like to get wet. Goats are very curious and will get into anything and everything. Goats are smart, friendly, sweet and incredibly entertaining. So much so that we got two more!

In closing I just want to say that having goats has been one of the most incredibly rewarding experiences of my life and I love them dearly, poop and all. They are just the sweetest, silliest babies ever! My husband loves them too and we are now searching for a real farm so we can expand our herd to include donkeys!

This is my first hand experience, I am not expert but as someone who started with cats, dogs and rabbits I think I have good idea of what it takes. I would love to hear from other first time goat owners, feel free to share your experiences good or baaaaad.

Side notes:

*There is no such thing as a “mini pig” or “teacup pig”, all pigs grown up and out it’s just a matter of whether it is a pot belly pig or a hog. Either way they will go to be anywhere from 100lbs to 1,000lbs.

**Check out this blog post that has reasons not to own goats, The Prairie Homestead to read someone else’s reality.

***This blog post is referring to goats being kept as pets not for meat or dairy, although the care is pretty much the same, there are definite differences in the feeding and care that you should look into if that is your intent.

Pumpkin Muffins-Vegan Style

Who doesn’t love a muffin and at this time of year pumpkin is everything. So here is a tasty recipe for pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips. You can always omit the chocolate chips but I think they are quite yummy. These are super easy and everyone loves them!



2 cups all purpose flour

1 Tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

1 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 Tsp molasses


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cupcake liners in muffin tin. (you could grease them but I find using the cupcake liners is much easier, I use the earth friendly, recycled ones).

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, salt and spices.

In a separate bowl whisk together pumpkin, non-dairy milk, oil and molasses.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine well.

Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, filling each cup about 3/4 full.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!

Feel free to add your favorite chopped nuts or dried fruit in place of the chocolate chips or nothing at all, not matter what they are moist and delicious!

*Recipe courtesy of PETA

A Match Made in Donkey Heaven



Murphy…calling all Jennies!

Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a donkey match! Well that is exactly what The Barnyard Sanctuary and Peaceful Acres in Pattersonville, NY did! Murphy, an almost 4 year old mini-donkey who lives on a farm in the Catskills, was looking for a companion. Murphy’s humans contacted several different people and places to find him a suitable companion but to no avail until his human contacted Tamala here at The Barnyard who suggested they call Peaceful Acres, a horse and donkey rescue in Saratoga, New York. Peaceful Acres had just rescued a jenny named Leiah #215 from the slaughter pipeline and  thought she would be the perfect match.


The sad truth…she was a number.

So Murphy’s human took the long drive to meet Leiah and to share peppermints with her, it went so well they decided that Leiah was the one. On Thanksgiving day Leiah and Murphy would meet. The meeting did go well, but only after Leiah showed Murphy who was boss with a few donkey kicks. Soon they were having a snack together and enjoying each other’s company…a match made in donkey heaven!

So thankful to Peaceful Acres for rescuing Leiah and giving her a second chance at a beautiful life and of course, thankful to Tamala for putting Murphy’s humans in touch with Peaceful Acres.


A match made in donkey heaven…snack time together!

You can read the full story at The Pitchfork, the blog written by Murphy’s humans. *Photos courtesy of The Pitchfork


Gabby the Gobbler Needs a Sponsor

Our animal of the month is Gabriella a two and half-year old Royal Palm turkey. We call her Gabby for short, she is a sweetheart who loves attention. Gabby was saved from being the main dish at a Thanksgiving dinner when we bought her from an auction in 2014. Gabby has lived all over the Barnyard property but finally settled on the large pen around the barn where she hangs out with Larry the goat, Maggie the pot belly pig and Scooter the rooster. She gets all the attention she loves and deserves!


Gabby is in need of a Barnyard Guardian, the cost to be her sponsor is $30.00 a month that goes towards her food, care and housing. If you are interested please go to our website and click on the Barnyard Guardians tab. We know Gabby would be thrilled and so would we!

The Barnyard Sanctuary is 501(c)3, all donations are tax-deductible.

Love your Mother…Not Plastic

Love your Mother, Mother Earth that is. Love your Mother will be ongoing posts about our environment and what we can do to protect her. This post is about the man made devil, plastic. We use plastic for just about everything and it is killing us and the planet. We need to be smarter in our choices of how we do things, myself included. The choices we make in our everyday lives can have long-lasting impacts on the environment.


Plastic Facts*

50% of the plastic we use, we use just once and throw away.

Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles each year (Source:Brita)

Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s  surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile.

One million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans.

Virtually every piece of plastic that was ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated).


Disturbing to say the least and I only mentioned some of them. What really makes me crazy is the people who don’t care, they say it’s not their problem. It is their problem; it’s everyone’s problem. A woman at work  noticed that I bring in silverware from home to eat my lunch and asked why. I told her that I don’t like to use plastic, it’s bad for the environment. Her response “Oh! You’re one of those!”, she laughed and walked away. I wanted to scream. So, the best I can do is try to educate people and help them to realize the dangers of plastic. And I do practice what I preach and try to use as little plastic as possible.

Here are a few simple things that everyone can do to help reduce the use of plastics:

Use reusable shopping bags; not just for the supermarket but for all of your shopping.

Replace plastic coffee stirrers with wood.

Stop using straws.

Use wax paper instead of plastic wrap.

Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic water bottles. (If you don’t like your tap water install a water purifier)

If you bring your lunch to work, bring silverware from home instead of using plastic utensils.

At your next party use paper plates and cups instead of plastic and if you do use Solo cups, please note that they can be recycled.

And of course, recycle!

* Plastic Facts Source:EcoWatch


Be a Guardian, A Barnyard Guardian!

Here at The Barnyard we are always looking for caring people to become guardians for our beautiful animals. A guardian is someone who sponsors an animal on a monthly basis; it can be a single person, a couple or a family. You can chose the animal you wish to sponsor and if you are close enough you can even schedule a visit. Each type of animal is a different monthly cost that goes towards their food and care.


Being a Barnyard Guardian is the next best thing to having your own barnyard animal! The photo above is of me and Dominic, a mini donkey who my husband and I sponsor. We have always wanted a donkey but don’t have the room so this makes us feel good and helps to take care of him. Your name will be listed on our website as that animals guardian and you can follow us on Instagram to see all the barnyard creatures as well as the one you sponsor. Follow along with the blog as we highlight a different animal each month that is in need of a guardian. With the holidays coming it’s a great gift for the animal lover in your life.

To see the instructions and the  animals that are looking for sponsors check out our website and click on Barnyard Guardians. All donations are tax-deductible as the Barnyard Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 organization.