The animals that live here at Ancient Spring Farm all have big personalities! Meet some of them below.
Darcy is the farm watchdog and chicken protector extraordinaire. She was born in New Mexico, lived in Colorado, and then traveled with three beloved chickens to the farm. Nothing gets past her, be it a squirrel, a delivery person, or the vulture that likes to sit on top of the chimney.
Warlock is a mustang who was born in the wild on the California/Nevada border in 2009. Having subsequently lived in Colorado, he's not too thrilled by the bugs and humidity here at the farm, although he certainly loves his big pastures! He's super smart and does hunter/jumper, trail riding, and driving. He'd love to have some horse friends but right now his good buddies are Sid and Fred.
Sid is a Boer goat who was born on the farm in February 2020. He's the sweetest goat around! Don't let his sweetness fool you, though. He can definitely do some roughhousing with his best friend, Fred!
Fred is a Boer, Alpine, Nubian-cross goat who was born around the same time as Sid. Fred can be very sweet and loves to get his chin rubbed. However, Fred is quite the jumper and head-butter and can be downright ornery at times, too! Fred is obsessed with Warlock, and mostly Fred gets ornery when Warlock leaves his sight.
You might think from this photo that Louie is one tough dude, and you'd be right. At somewhere around 14 years old, he's an impressively smart and resourceful barn cat! But he'll also melt into a love bug when he gets pets, rubs, and treats, which he requests regularly. Louie was born on the neighbor's property but has lived on the farm for at least a few years.
Smokey is young, wily, and very friendly at first meeting. But watch out for those teeth and claws if he decides he's had enough attention! Smokey is a relatively recent addition to the farm and, now that he and Louie have agreed to a truce, seems to be fitting in well. He's kind of obsessed with the chickens but thankfully they're too big for him. Listen for his soft meow as he appears out of nowhere for some love!
This lovely lady was born in Colorado and, along with her lady friends, Mabel and Pearl, and protector, Darcy, traveled across the country to live here at the farm. Hedwig (Black Australorp) is all beauty and not too many brains but a cherished lady nonetheless.
The Newer Ladies
Five new little ladies came to the farm in summer 2022 after spending the first month of their lives with a broody hen at our friends' farm down the road. They're now all grown and laying delicious, healthy, free range eggs for sale here at the farm! The ladies are Emilie (Starlight Green Egger), Ida (Welsummer), Hazella (Cinnamon Queen), Leona (Ameraucana), and Lavender (Lavender Orpington). They contribute a lot of fun and personality to the farm!
The Next Ladies
Four new teenage ladies came to the farm on April 1, 2023. They're adults now and are laying more delicious free range eggs for sale here at the farm! These ladies are Bet (Barred Plymouth Rock), Violet (Sapphire Gem), May (Columbian Wyandotte), and Frieda (Blue-Laced Gold Wyandotte).
The Traveling Ladies
Five more chicks joined the farm in mid-May 2023 to help meet the local demand for high-quality free-range eggs. They're also part of our biodynamic approach to farming: they live in a mobile coop in the pastures so they can help break up horse and goat manure, eat bugs, and contribute their own compost to improve pasture health. Now they're also laying large and colorful eggs. These chicks were named for traveling ladies but gave us a surprise, as one of them turned out to be a gent! Meet Nellie (Bly) (White Leghorn), Thelma (Rhode Island Red), Nina (Simone) and Koko (Taylor) (Eastereggers). J.D. (initially named Louise) is doing a great job guarding his "sisters" and all of the older ladies.
The Surprise Babies
J.D. took to his various responsibilities quite quickly and gave us a fun surprise: two new homegrown chicks! Their mom Bet did a great job keeping them safe and warm and showing them the ropes as they grew. However, the double surprise is that, at four months old, they showed us that they're both roosters, which required a name change from Artilda and Araminta to Adam and Douglass.
Two of the adorable 29 fainting goat (myotonic goat) bucklings we hosted in 2022 are now permanent residents of Ancient Spring Farm! We picked these boys for their good looks and big personalities. As with all of the bucklings, we named these two in relation to their moms' names.
Johnny's mom's name is Hot Topic. Who was in the news in summer 2022 and who played a pirate (pirates often have eye patches, right?) in some movies? That's right, Johnny Depp!
Chalky's mom's name is Climber, and Chalky's probably the most agile and jumpiest of the fainting goat bucklings. When Chalky came to the farm, we laughed at the juxtaposition of his black balls (teehee) and his mostly white body. They reminded us of a rock climber's Chalk Bag (Chalky's full name). Alas, Johnny and Chalky had to give up those parts of themselves in order to live as pets on Ancient Spring Farm but we hope their good lives here will make up for that sacrifice!
Aon (Hot Item)
In summer 2023 we added four female fainting goats to our herd. Aon (meaning one in Irish Gaelic) is registered as Hot Item (mom is Hot Topic) and is Johnny's full sister! She and her friend Dubh are the foundations of our new fainting goat breeding program. We plan to breed her this fall to one of Lookout Mountain Growers' stout bucks.
Bin Dubh (Mountain Top)
Aon's friend Bin Dubh (meaning black peak in Irish Gaelic) is registered as Mountain Top (mom is Mentone, a town in Alabama near Lookout Mountain) and is our other foundational doe. Aon and Dubh aren't at all related but look how similar their coloring is! We hope to get some very healthy, stout, and colorful babies from these two.
Two doelings also joined the farm family as 2024 breeders. Fabulocity's mom, Fabulous Felicity, had three babies and decided that taking care of two was enough. So Lookout Mountain Growers raised Fabulocity and she became a real sweetheart who loves people! Now she's Ancient Spring Farm's fainting goat ambassador in addition to the fattest and fluffiest little goat you've ever seen.
Flyer is our other next-generation breeding doe. It turns out she's Chalky's younger sister! Both Flyer and Chalky inherited a lucky (quirky) foot from their mom, Climber, and yet both (like their mom) are the most agile goats we have who love to climb and jump on things!
Much to our delight, in 2022, pheasant Bonnie Prince Charlie chose to make the farm his home, having escaped death at the neighbor's shooting club. Charlie spent much of his time near Warlock or around the chicken and guinea coops but sometimes he cruised past the house and garden and visited the bird feeders.
In early 2023, we were visited by a whole new group of stunning male pheasants and their harems of females. Four males circled the house one evening, and one male brought eight (!) ladies to the coop area one morning.
In summer 2023, a new wild friend became a regular around the barn: Chuck the groundhog who appears to live in a hole under some cedar logs and comes out to graze in the pasture near the barn.
There's a longstanding tradition of at least one doe giving birth in the farm's east pasture. Two fawns grew up there in late summer 2023 and one stayed through the end of the year. Fawna spent much of her days grazing near Warlock and the goats and even came back toward the barn with them when they came in for the night. Perhaps she'll return to the pasture to give birth to her own babies in 2024.