The Living History Farm
The agriculture heritage of our region is very much alive at South County Museum. The Living History Farm is a visitor favorite and features two heritage flocks of the official state bird, the Rhode Island Red, three goats, four sheep, and one bunny. For several years, under the supervision of Dr. Wayne Durfee, Emeritus Professor of Poultry Science at URI, we have been raising Rhode Island Reds to recreate the purebred Red, reversing many decades of cross-breeding. Over the past couple of years, Don Nelson has been assisting us with our chicken program. Don provides us with more than advice, he is all hands on and often comes away covered in, well dirt. We are looking forward to our new batch of baby chicks, which we celebrate each year at the annual 4th of July Chick Hatch where you can get a chance to learn about raising your own Reds and cuddle with one of the new babies.
Besides our beautiful and sometimes noisy Reds, we also have two new additions to introduce this year: Bella and Lily, our new goats. Our old girl Ada needed some companions after she lost her long-time companion Zsa Zsa last year. Bella and Lily have just turned 1 year old, and will reach full size at the age of 3. Bella is brown with black markings and her sister Lily is brown with whiter markings. They are as precocious as you can imagine and have been giving the Farm’s care giver, Jeff Swanson, quite a bit of extra work since they arrived last November. He’s had to baby proof the farm! Not an easy feat. But they have settled in nicely and are very sweet, though Ada is still the top goat so be sure to pay her lots of attention and give lots of rubs because she does not like to play second fiddle to the newbies.
Our sheep, Al, Tim, Aggie and Greta, are all doing well. The sheep are enjoying the new baby goats, especially Tim, according to Jeff. Bella and Lily like to stand on the backs of the sheep when they are laying down, and Tim acts like he is getting a massage. Jeff is trying to get a video of this, so keep an eye on our social media because we’ll post it as soon as we get it.
The Museum boasts a large collection of farm tools housed in the Metz Exhibit Building, and an impressive and expanding － thanks to George Mumford of North Kingstown － collection of animal-powered farm machinery that can be found throughout the grounds.