THE FURRY FACES WE LEAVE BEHIND…

This is Tina

Tina is special

Tina has a boyfriend. He is not an alpaca.

He is a pig and his name is Brunden, it’s an odd relationship.

Almost every animal we’ve ever had has been odd in some way. Each one has a unique personality and each one has a story.  

That’s what makes it so hard to leave even temporarily…

Our situation is unique.

Thankfully our oldest daughter and her family are willing to live here at the ranch so everyone will be well taken care of.

Here are some of our residents and their stories…

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Lets’s start with Tina and her friends., “The Ladies”.  A friend of ours had to downsize their alpaca ranch due to health issues and the ladies came to live with us.  They love to play in the water, will walk on a leash, don’t mind being petted but hate having their heads touched.  Their most endearing quality are their goofy faces!  They have to be sheared every year which involves a bit of a wrestling match.

This is Brunden, Tina’s boyfriend.

Brunden belonged to a photographer who owned him since he was small. The photographer used to dress Brunden in a tiny tuxedo and use him in family portraits. When Brunden got too big, he had no more use for him and was going to send him to auction.  A mutual friend stepped in and asked if we’d take him and that’s how Brunden came to stay.  He’s fond of snacks and mud and Tina, in that order.

Many of our animals are rescues of one kind or another.  Lot’s of people know we’re here and they bring animals to us.

One night there was a knock on the door around 9 PM.   It was a woman who’d  been bringing her children to our free feeder for years. She was driving down the freeway when she spotted a chicken on the side of the road. Somehow she stopped and was able to catch him. She had him in the car, would we take him?

Of course!

This is Speedbump.  His beak and comb have been cut. We don’t know what his story is. Sometimes beaks are cut because the bird is aggressive to others but he’s been a sweetheart to us.

Some of the stories just make you shake your head…


Missy Chicken’s story is one of them.

I’ve wanted to own an emu, ever since watching Rod Hull And Emu.  in the 1970’s.  I thought he was hysterical!  

Sometimes owning an emu is just like that show…

Right after we bought the ranch, I came across an ad for a young, tame emu. I answered it and when I got to the address, it was a house in a residential neighborhood! The family had bought an emu chick and raised it by hand in their fenced front yard. They named it Missy Chicken. They didn’t realize how big emus get!  

I brought her home.

Problem is, we hadn’t built any animal pens yet and the only place to keep her was an indoor stall in the barn. Jeff quickly got to work and built a pen. Problem number two, how do you convince a bird who is as tall as you are to walk calmly up a hill to a new enclosure?  

We knew nothing, except that emus are very skittish, run very fast, jump very high and strike out with their huge sharp claws!  We didn’t want her running around the property so we had the brilliant idea to hold her behind the wings and calmly walk her into the pen.

She didn’t get the “calmly” memo.

Jeff was doing his best to control her but she was having no part of it and collapsed to the ground while Jeff pinned her down. She struggled and caught him across the forearm with a claw. Jeff finally managed to get her in the pen, blood running down his arm. We rushed him to urgent care and he was an instant celebrity when they asked how he got injured.  

The emu wrestler!

Seventeen stitches later and we were back at home. We’ve since learned that the way to get an emu to go into their enclosure is to turn a sprinkler on in the pen, walk quietly behind them, herding them in the right direction.

They’ll go straight to the water.

Works every time.

Emus LOVE water!

This is my granddaughter Willow with Missy.

We didn’t want the silly bird to be alone so we got her a mate, it was then we realized that Missy is probably a male and the mate (Penelope) is probably a female. We will never know for sure since it’s difficult to tell but the evidence seems clear.

Missy did turn out to be tame, she LOVES to have her head scratched and she LOVES to snuggle.  Emu feathers are soft and silky and fun to run your fingers through.  When you scratch an emu’s head they will become so relaxed that they sit down.

It’s strange to see because their knees bend backward!

This is just a small sampling of the residents of The Art Farm.  There is never a dull moment with these characters around. 

TA TA for now!

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