It’s an annual event at Frying Pan Farm Park. Birthing season! A ton (maybe, literally) of baby farm animals make their world debuts each year in late winter/early spring.
Yoda and Luigi were dads of sheep and goats born in 2021, and piglets started arriving in February. More litters come along each March, April and May.
With the help of a veterinarian, Frying Pan staff have a pretty good idea of when the births are coming. As each due date nears, the mothers-to-be are monitored often so that staff can be there for every birth. Frying Pan personnel will assist the mother with delivery as needed, help dry the newborns, and dip the umbilical cords in iodine to prevent infection.
Most newborns begin walking and nursing within the first hour of life. If not, staff will help by aiding the baby. Sometimes the youngsters are weak and need a bottle, or they may even get mother’s milk through a stomach tube. The vet will come to the farm if there’s an emergency, but staff can handle most of the issues that come along at birthing.
Sows are moved into the climate-controlled farrowing house to give their piglets the extra warmth needed for a good start. Sheep and goats will move to private stalls in the barn and, depending on the weather, the cows may move to a barn or stay outside to deliver.
The babes are kept inside for a while right after they’re born so they can get stronger. After a short while, the farmer lets them greet their adoring fans during the warmest parts of the day. The Fairfax County Park Authority’s social media pages and web pages keep folks informed of the new arrivals, so log on and stay tuned!
Author Lois Kirkpatrick is the Marketing and Development Coordinator at Frying Pan Farm Park.