Medford students were able to see, touch, and learn about baby animals ranging from goats and cows to ducks and dogs during the school’s annual FFA Baby Animal Day Friday.
Murphy, an 11-week-old golden retriever, and Ella, a 10-week-old yellow lab, certainly attracted their fair share of attention Friday.
Murphy has 11 siblings, but is the only one of that large litter owned by Ryan McGivney, he said. Murphy “really likes to play,” especially with a pair of deer antlers.
Ella will be a hunting dog, and she already knows how to sit, said Dylan Stenzel, who got her at seven weeks. Thus far, his top challenge with Ella has been disciplining her when she misbehaves, because she’s so “cute.”
George McCarthy and his family went to the local feed store to pick up chicks, but “we saw the ducks,” so “I got them as pets,” he said. He’s raising a trio of Pekin ducks, and they’re 3.5 weeks old.
Pekin ducks are “the fastest growing ducks in the U.S., so they’ll get a lot bigger than most ducks,” he said. For now, however, they need due care, including food, water, and time under heat lamps.
They’ve also grown quite attached to one another, McCarthy said. “If you take one away, they get all fussy.”
Lynn Larson shows goats regularly at the Steele County Free Fair, and she brought several kids Friday, including Boer, Toggenburg, and Saanen, most of which have been bottle-raised by Larson and her family.
“Getting them to start on the bottle” is a hurdle, she said. “Most times, they just don’t want to.”
Preparing them for shows can also be an exacting task.
She’s attempted to tame the goats with leashes, but has since discovered “halters work much better,” she said. She also has to “run with them down our driveway” for exercise and training.
The goats are playful, so Larson and her family have placed toys in their pens, she said. “There’s a block in there they like to jump from.”
They also look to her as a trustworthy figure, she said. “They’ll follow you around just like a dog.”
Larson and one goat, Lucy, whom she’s bottle-fed since Lucy was only a few days old, have formed an especially close bond.
Lucy “lost her mom when she was only 3-days-old, so I’m basically (her mom), and she follows me everywhere,” Larson said. “If she doesn’t see you, she starts freaking out.”