In which we don't travel far to visit very exotic neighbors

A few weeks ago I was standing in line at the feed store when the lady in front of me turned and said, "oh wait, I forgot something--here, you hold this,"
and handed me (I'm not kidding) a 6-month-old kangaroo joey, wrapped in a baby snug-pouch.

Her name is Roobecca. 
The joey, I mean.  (Nobody introduced me to the lady.)

Have you ever seen a six-month old joey?  Have you ever touched one?  They are surprisingly soft, and their little hands are strong and wirey.

I was hooked.  I wanted to see more 'roos!

So, when my mom asked me what we could all do on my birthday, I said,

 "Let's go to the Kangaroo Farm!"
The Kangaroo Farm is less than three miles from Haiku Farm...and although we've always known about it, we've never made time to visit.  Until today.

I'm not a huge fan of zoos.  Captivity seems like a really bad deal for a lot of the animals, even in the nicest zoos.

A lot of the 'roos spend their winter days in winter under heatlamps (often in social piles that result in joeys...)

In our cold damp climate, that makes zoo kangaroos pretty inaccessible to the public.

The Kangaroo Farm, however, is more like a "petting zoo"...and even more like just a bunch of farm animals hanging out in a backyard, doing whatever they want to do.  The caretakers know each animal by name and by habit--they can tell you which wallaroos like to be petted, and which kangaroos will prefer to run (ahem, "hop") away.  Several of the animals also perform some very cute tricks (more about that in a few minutes), because almost all of them were raised in the house for their first year or two.  I don't know of any zoo that does that!  
 They have a large and extremely unusual collection of animals.  The thing (above) that looks like a jackalope to me is really a Patagonian Cavy.  They eat grass, alfalfa pellets, and bread!   Perhaps they could give Baasha in Germany some bread-eating lessons?
 Lisa has been wanting to get a pet rabbit, and I wondered if she'd spend our entire visit petting this nice little lop, but there were so many other animals to see and touch, she soon scampered off to check out the roosters (I took this picture for Lisa at Laughing Orca Ranch--there were so many lovely chickens, but I didn't get good photos of them)
 There was also a very amorous peacock.  When he spreads his feathers and proceeds to dance, he sounds very much like a dishwasher on the "pots and pans" setting.   Pretty, though!
 The caretaker introduced us to Carl, a bachelor ostrich.  This farm originally began as an ostrich ranch, but when the owners attended an ostrich farmer's convention (they have those??) about 14 years ago, somebody had a baby wallaroo to show the crowd.  The baby came home to Arlington, and was the beginning of a whole huge way of life.
 We came around another corner, and there was the dishwasher bird again. 
 Okay, here's a cute trick:  Fuzzy Bottom (that's the alpaca, not a nickname for Willy) will take an alfalfa pellet very gently from your mouth, and it looks like he's giving out kisses.
 Mr. T the Llama does the same trick. 
 Lisa wasn't sure she wanted a llama kiss...
 ...but who can resist this big smoocher?
 Inside the giftshop, baby Roobecca was waiting for our group, bundled into her "portable pouch." 
 We passed her from lap-to-lap
 the way people normally pass around a human infant, with plenty of kissing and cooing.
 Back outside, Jim and Willy were selected from the group to feed the ringtailed lemurs. 
 This lemur seems to be teaching Willy some tricks
 but Jim knew what to do with his lemur:  he put a chunk of banana on his hat and told the little ringtail to get it...and up it went!

It turns out that Wallaroos actually like our Swampland climate.

I wonder if Fiddle would enjoy a Walla-roommate?


  1. Happy birthday! What a fun present. They do look like happy animals, better socialized than most sad zoo pets. :) <3 the peacock!

  2. how wonderful that you guys could get so close to all those wild animals!

    baasha is a full-on bread eater now. he especially likes monday bread cuz on mondays the bakeries put shredded carrot in. mmmmm!

  3. SOOOOO cute, i wish kagaroos were local animals.
    I have a roster that looks just like that one, its an ameraucana, they lay greenish blueish eggs!

  4. I actually HAVE held a joey. It made. my. life.

    So glad you got the experience. Awww :)

  5. Only you could think of something so "exotic" to do on your birthday! :-) Looks like a happy, fun filled day to me! Congratulations!
    Want to ride! Soon!

  6. Now that's my kind of birthday!
    It sounds spectacular. And they have a Llama that is nice?!? Alpacas are generally good with people, but not so Llamas, at least, according to a friend who used to raise them.

    I want to hold the joey! I am certain the Fiddle needs a Wallaroomate. Positive. If she decides otherwise, well the roommate can come live in the house, no? ;)

  7. My grandmother told me of a time when she visited a carnival where they had a boxing kangaroo. When she leaned over to pet it, it put its paws around her neck and pulled her in to hug her. Obviously, it made a huge impression on her.

    And happy birthday!!


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