Caring for the New Kids on the Block During the Time of COVID-19


Farmer Olivia Madigan feeding one of the new kids.


With more than 100 animals in its care, Frying Pan Farm Park has long been a magnet for families and local animal lovers, especially in springtime. That’s when the farm sees the majority of its baby animal births, and who can resist a cute kid, calf, lamb or piglet?

Though visitors are restricted in the animal areas this spring because of the coronavirus pandemic, farmers remain hard at work behind the scenes caring for all the barnyard critters.

Frying Pan is a working farm that preserves and interprets farm life of the 1920s to 1950s. The farm has dairy and beef cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, peafowl, ducks, turkeys, and cats. Four farmers are currently handling all the feeding and animal care duties. Two other groups of four are trained and ready should anyone in the primary cohort get sick or need to go into quarantine. In such a suburban region, it is hard to find other Park Authority staff with the skills needed to care for horses, cows and other farm animals.

Fortunately, much like grocery stores, farm feed stores are considered essential businesses and are continuing to provide hay, grain, customized feed blends, minerals and other supplements. Unlike grocery stores, the feed stores have not been struggling with any supply chain issues at this time.

IMG_7933With limited staff to cover feedings three times a day/seven days a week, the team’s ability to take a day off or get a break is limited. However, the farmers are all committed to provision of exceptional animal care. Staff members say the animals don’t seem to be reacting to the absence of visitors, but the younger animals are not getting acclimated to visitors as they usually would.

News about animal births, and photos of the youngsters, can still be found on the Park Authority’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. News of these births accompanied by video or photos is always popular!

IMG_7915It can get lonely on 130 acres, and Farmer Paul and staff are looking forward to the day when visitors can return to Frying Pan to see all the newborns and the daily changes happening on the farm.


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About Fairfax County Park Authority

About Fairfax County Park Authority HISTORY: On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, 13 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2016. Today, the Park Authority has 427 parks on more than 23,000 acres of land. We offer 325 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park system is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: • Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist • Eight golf courses from par-3 to championship level, four driving ranges including the new state-of-the-art heated, covered range at Burke Lake Golf Center • Five nature and visitor centers. Also nine Off-Leash Dog Activity areas • Three lakefront parks including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax. The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter • Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel, as well as Chessie’s Big Backyard and a carousel at the Family Recreation Area at Lee District Park • An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter • Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s-era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel • Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent • A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly • A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale • Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community • Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center • Provides 263 athletic fields, including 39 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 417 school athletic fields. PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. Visit for Fairfax County Government's Comment Policy.

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