Deer farm offers delights for kids young and old
Linda Landry talks with customers with a parrot on her shoulder in the deer farm's store.
"Look," George said. "There is B.J. coming. Isn't he cute?"
As the girl fed the deer, some of the food dropped on the ground. When deer are full, "they'll eat corn and leave the rest," George explained.
According to George, both fallow deer and reindeer come from Europe. Japan is home of Sika deer, while Axis deer live in India.
One of the fallow deer seemed to stay especially close to George.
"I bottle raised her," she said.
Nearby, five wallabies stood in a ready-to-jump position as they listened to the sudden, loud noise produced by a flock of crows.
"They are just like a small kangaroo," George explained. "Three of them were born here and the other two we bought."
Wallabies live in the southeastern part of Australia and Tasmania. Like regular size kangaroos, they carry their young in pouches for seven months.
Their neighbors, miniature Zebu cows, come from India and Africa, and have been around since 3000 B.C.
"A lot of people think that Americans downsized the brahma bull to make these," George said. "Actually, we brought these to America and upsized them into brahma bulls."
Then, George suddenly moved and pointed to a reindeer with incredible antlers.
"That is a girl," she said. "Isn't she incredible?"
Female reindeer are the only type of deer that grow antlers to protect their young from predators. Each year around February they get new antlers and by August they are fully-grown, George said.
"When they get a certain age, they (antlers) stay the same or they get smaller because their body doesn't process the nutrients as well," she said pointing to a 14-year-old reindeer, which she called Grandma. "She is old. She has had four babies."
Reindeer can live as long as eight years, George said. However, in captivity they can almost double that age. Reindeer are also the only type of deer that people have domesticated a great deal, George said.
Mongolians ride them for ice fishing because their large feet have good traction on ice. Eskimos and Laplanders milk them.
"Mia, come here, Mia," George beckoned her baby llama.
A few seconds later, a year-old Mia rushes to give George a kiss. Mia is almost as tall as her mama, Sophia. When she was born, she was fighting for her life, George said.
"When she came out, she couldn't breath," she said. "She had too much fluid" in her nasal passages.
Her sister, Leah, who looks like her dad, Sergeant Pepper, was born in September.
Most of the animals that live on the farm and come from other types of climate have adapted very well to the cold northern Arizona climate. Wallabies, birds, a monkey, a potbellied pig and coatimundi, however, require additional heaters and heat lamps during the winter season, George said.
A monkey and a buffalo are the only two animals on the farm that do not have a mate. The buffalo do not have company because they can get really rough, George said. A tiny squirrel monkey with large eyes that dominate his face is alone because he has outlived many of his colony mates.
"He outlived all the really healthy looking girls that were here," George said. The life span for this type of monkey is about 14 years and he is already 19, George explained.
George also revealed a secret about pronghorn antelope, which are the fastest North American mammals. They can run as fast as 50 miles per hour.
"They are actually in the goat family," she said. "Arizona calls them pronghorn antelopes" and people accepted them under that name.
Contact Mirsada Buric-Adam at email@example.com