Saturday, November 14, 2009

feed the animals

Today we had the sort of weather in Atlanta that we claim to have all year.  This is why we live here.  To everyone in town it was Go Outdoors Day.  So, outdoors we went.

We have a wonderful place in Atlanta called the Yellow River Game Ranch.  I consider it an inside-out zoo of sorts.  The people must stay on the paths, but many of the animals roam freely.  They encourage people to feed and even pet the animals and they sell apples, carrots, peanuts, dried corn, graham crackers and other foods intended for them.  We visited last fall and when I went to look up the directions I saw that they were requesting bags of leaves and acorns.  I sent the kids to collect acorns from the yard before we left and I gathered a few items from the house to take along.

We saw chickens and heard roosters everywhere we went.  Deer wandered over to see if we had snacks, as did ducks, pheasants, peacocks, turkeys and even rabbits.  We discovered who liked which snack (everyone liked the slightly mushy grapes I'd brought along) and who was picky.  It was full of people in the nice weather we had today, so some animals were full and uninterested.  The animals who were kept in cages (local animals with injuries) were sometimes allowed to be fed too. (They have coyote, a cougar, red fox, black bears....)  We ended our visit at the "farm" area where we fed the acorns to happy and fat pigs.  Then the kids discovered a "salad bar" of sorts.  It looked like grocery produce was donated to the Ranch and was dumped in a large cart.  Soon my kids were raiding it to get additional items for the farm animals.  Apples and even a sweet potato to the donkeys, carrots for goats and sheep.

They come close and allow people to pet them, and they search their food areas when they see items tossed in.  The black bear knew to check for new snacks when a new visitor came by. I wondered aloud to CD that it seemed that the wild animals were more likely to walk away when full and the domesticated ones kept eating regardless of how much was handed their way.  I know pets will overeat, but I wasn't sure about farm animals.  In any case, we fed them until we were sticky from the chunks of fruit and had been slobbered upon enough for one day.


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