Ellen Van Zanten - Experience Specialist
Hey all! It’s finally springtime (even though we never really had much of a winter)! We in the Ag Staff are as busy as can be, getting the barns ready, building new fences, and most importantly making sure there are baby animals for you to visit once we open!
Until I came to work at Conner Prairie, I never really gave much thought into how much planning ahead it takes to have babies ready by spring. Knowing the gestation periods of all of our animals, we can’t just breed them any time we want. We don’t want them to have babies in the winter when there are no guests around, so we have to time everything just right. For example, a cow’s gestation period is about 9 months. So if we want to have a calf while we’re open to the public in say, May, then we have to artificially inseminate by August or September. However, our goats and our sheep have a gestation of only 5 months, which means we don’t have to worry about them getting bred until November or December. Our Livestock manager, Kevyn Miller, tries to spread the births out as much as possible so there are at least a couple of babies to see and visit throughout the season.
By opening weekend, March 31st, there will be enough adorable new-born or nearly new-born babies to break the scale by which you measure cuteness. We already have a spunky little Shorthorn heifer-calf in the Animal Encounters Barn with loads of personality. When we open she will be about a month old. And probably by the time you read this, we will have a small handful of lambs and kids on the property as well.

My personal favorite, I have to say, are the baby pigs. Kevyn will be very quick to tell you that they are, in fact, baby pigs and not piglets as Winnie the Pooh would have you believe. Unfortunately this is not a baby animal we get to pet. Our Ossabaw sows are so protective of their young that we have not yet figured out a safe way to let folks get up close and personal with them. Not even the staff gets to touch one! These baby pigs, however, more than make up for that on adorableness and personality alone. Hopefully, if everything goes smoothly, we will get to see some of that personality in action soon.

Well, we in the Ag Staff are looking forward to seeing all of you here at the end of the month, though we understand we might not be as cute as a new-born lamb.

Posted: 3/14/2012 2:09:25 PM by Ellen Van Zanten | with 0 comments

Emma St. Dennis - Executive Assistant to the President & CEO
It's that time of the year - when we are all weary of being indoors during the winter months. Even though it has been a mild winter, the grandkids and I are anxious to get outside!

Though they thoroughly enjoy Discovery Station, the Science Lab and Craft Corner they are anxious to get outside. Beau has even joined in with a Prairie Tykes program over the last few months to get his fill of Conner Prairie.
Recently there has been a lot of talk among the grandkids about what we are looking forward to seeing this year. 
•    We wonder what new baby animals will be in the barn this year? 
•    Beau enjoys the goats.
•    Little Eliza loves to give the calves a good "hair" brushing. 
•    Logan can hardly wait to go up in "his" big balloon.
•    Ella wants to practice her stilt walking in Prairietown. 
•    Emma likes to identify the spring wildflowers with Mamaw (that’s me).

Summer Camp is right around the corner and the older girls are already deciding which (Adventure or Arts) and how many sessions to attend this summer. Now is the time to get signed up! Ella wants to see if the giant fish (did someone say Loch Ness Monster?) is in the pond again this summer so she can once again go fishin’. Emma wants to attend the leadership session that is offered.

I take this "job" of Mamaw very seriously. I love to share Conner Prairie with them, to encourage these five precious young minds to open up and explore their world, to ask lots of questions and to help them find their own answers!

More adventures to come.  Happy Spring to everyone!

Posted: 3/6/2012 4:12:15 PM by Emma St. Dennis | with 0 comments

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