WHITEFIELD—Very few can resist the offer to pick up a recently born lamb or goat and cuddle it. Fuzzy Udder Creamery, a farm in Whitefield run by Jessie Dowling, gave families and individuals a chance to do that on Sunday, May 10.
In recent weeks, almost 75 lambs and kids have been born to the 21 goats and 28 sheep on their farm.
Dowling, a farmer/cheesemaker, is originally from Arlington, Virginia, but went to high school in Maine. After interning and working for a number of Maine farms in her career, she was interested in making sustainable agriculture the focal point of her life and set out to learn animal husbandry, how to milk goats and sheep and how to make and market cheese.
Her love and respect for her animals is evident. As noted on their website, their sheep and goats are fed second cut hay grown in Clinton, Maine. They buy organic grain and Maine-grown oats and their herd is fed Maine seaweed and an array of minerals daily. Their farm’s mission states: “We are committed to humane, environmental, socially conscious practices and raise our animals with lots of love and affection.”
“For some of the children who’ve come in with their parents today, they’ve never seen a sheep or a goat this close, much less had the opportunity to pick up one of the babies and hold them, “ said Dowling. “I think it’s amazing for children to interact with farm animals for the first time. Baby animals are very approachable, so it gives children an opportunity to connect with them. It also teaches children how to properly hold a baby goat or lamb.”
For the record, the correct way is to pick up the animal is to wrap your arms around its body so that all four legs are hanging straight down. “They just need to feel supported so they feel safe,” she explained.
Dowling and her staff snuggle with their herd daily, but this is the second year in which they’ve invited the public to do so. “For the dairy animals, this is also important to have that human interaction,” she said. “We want them to be socialized and friendly.”
Prior to the farm opening its stalls to the public at noon, some of the baby goats had just been born within the hour. These, Dowling penned off with the mother, so that people could see them, but not touch them. “We have babies that are at least three days old and already, they are more socialized and are able to run around,” she said.
Happy babies make happy mothers. Dowling makes a variety of fresh, soft-ripened, and aged cheeses from sheep, goat, and cow’s milk as well as sheep’s milk yogurt. A variety of these products were set up for sale at the farm stand on the property. If you missed it, two other “Snuggle Sundays” are coming up: March 24 and April 28 from 12 to 5 p.m.
For more information visit: https://www.fuzzyudder.com/
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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