SOUTHEAST, N.Y. -- Noah, you’re gonna need a bigger ark -- the already sizable menagerie of exotic creatures at a county-run museum in the Southeast village of Brewster has just increased by two.
The Tilly Foster Farm got “Calvin” and “Hobbes,” a pair of Nigerian Dwarf goats , just in time for Christmas.
The diminutive, easy-to-maintain critters – like their porcine brother, the potbellied pig – are popular as pets and sources of dairy products.
They usually reach an average height of 17- 21 inches and can weigh up to 75 pounds.
Originally, Nigeria Dwarf goats were transported out of West Africa on ships as food for carnivorous zoo animals; those that escaped being dinner were maintained in herds.
Their milk, which is high in butterfat, is used by some dairies to make cheese.
According to Teresa De Angelis, the historic, 19th-century farm’s veterinary technician and animal caretaker, “Calvin” and “Hobbes” have the kind of gentle and friendly personalities that make them good companions.
“Right now we are starting with two but hope to add to the herd in the spring,” Angelis said.
“Calvin” and “Hobbes,” named after the eponymous comic strip by Bill Watterson, will have to work for their bread-and-butter, so to speak. After interacting with the human kids (and adults), they will be used to clear trails and other areas where brush needs to be removed.
A beacon for Putnam County’s rich agricultural heritage and natural beauty, the 199-acre farm had been underused and in disrepair before the county took over.
In 2002, Putnam used $3.9 million in East of Hudson Water Quality Funds to snatch it from the jaws of development, and to protect the watershed.
Two years ago, the county took over its management with the hopes of not only preserving it as an historical icon, but of also making it an economic asset.
Just this fall, County Executive MaryEllen Odell and other officials cut the ribbon at opening ceremonies for the new Tilly Foster Educational Institute.
Run under the auspices of the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES, it is the county’s first public institute for career education.
Besides culinary arts, environmental and veterinary science programs may soon bloom there.
The addition of “Calvin” and “Hobbes” is just one part of Tilly Foster’s continued revitalization, county officials said.
Also part of the growing farm family are a “beautiful array” of chicken breeds, including Frizzle Cochin Bantams, Silkies, Polish, Red Stars, Barred Rock, Austrolorps , Brahmas and Ameraucanas, which lay blue eggs.
In the four-legged category, the new goats will butt heads (playfully) with Kunekune pigs “Penelope,” “Ginger,” “Lucy” and “Levi;" Huacaya alpacas “Honey,” “Isabella,” “Sinbad” and “Raphael;” and miniature horses, “Sultan” and “Sunny.”
The farm is located at 100 Route 312.
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