BABY ANIMALS: Heritage Breeds at the Banke
April 20-28, 2019
10 am to 5 pm

Rain or shine! (Event takes place in a heated tent.)

Tickets always available at the door and online.

Strawbery Banke welcomes visitors to Baby Animals: Heritage Breeds at the Banke from 10 am to 5 pm daily, April 20 through 28. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for children 5-17; and free to children under 5 and active duty military and their families. MEMBERS HALF PRICE. Group visits are encouraged.

Strawbery Banke welcomes Spring with the 4th annual Baby Animals: Heritage Breeds at the Banke, showcasing a variety of more than a dozen heirloom breeds of Barnyard Baby Animals (and their moms) that would have been familiar to earlier generations. The event, which takes place under a tent on museum grounds, April 20th through April 28th is a family-friendly opportunity to learn more about domestic livestock typical on coastal northern New England farms from the 17th century to present day.

Peter Cook, who assists with the coordination of animals for the museum's NH Fall Festival, is curating the event, securing breeders from NH, Maine and MA farms who are expert in heritage animals including lambs, kids, calves, piglets, bunnies, chicks and ducklings. The participants answer visitors’ questions, explaining the developmental needs of the babies, the various aspects of husbandry that are required to raise them and why they have chosen to preserve these sometimes-endangered domestic animals for future generations. Many farms are family projects enthusiastically supported by multiple generations of caretakers. The emphasis is on educational and interpretive information. For the health and safety of the animals and people, petting is not allowed.

The Baby Animals event showcase heritage breeds of livestock that became popular during different centuries as settlers from the UK, Ireland, Europe, Africa and South America contributed to local agrarian cultural heritage. The 2018 Baby Animals: Heritage Breeds at the Banke showcased:

  • Newly-hatched baby chicks, turkeys and ducklings in specially-constructed viewing brooders.
  • Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs that arrived in New England in the 1900s and are often referred to as “orchard pigs” for their delight in foraging in fall groves. Piglets from Hampshire College Farm Center in Amherst MA -- for piglet video, click here.
  • Large Black Pigs AND Tamworth Pigs from Farm By the River in Effingham NH
  • Gulf Coast Native sheep from Heart Stone Farm in Milton NH.
  • Soay sheep, one of the oldest domesticated animals known to man and now quite rare. Native to the St. Kilda group of islands west of the Outer Hebrides. From Hermit Thrush Hill in Fonda NY.
  • Shetland Sheep from Echo Valley Sheep Farm in Cornish ME.
  • Clun Forest sheep, an old breed from Shropshire in Northern Wales, introduced to the US with migrants from Nova Scotia. From Riverbank Farm in Salisbury NH.
  • Jacob sheep, identified in the Book of Genesis and prized in New England for their soft dark fleeces that are ideal for many weaving projects. From Marsh Mallo Farm in Fort Plain NY.
  • Nigerian Dwarf goats, introduced to the US in the early 1900s and very popular in New England as they are easily-trained large milk producers that are easy to keep in small areas. From Tiny Hill Farm, Milton Mills NH
  • San Clemente goats from Berwick ME
  • Golden Guernsey Goat
  • Donkey from Jonathan Seavey
  • Silver Fox and English Angora rabbits from Kerfluffle Fiber Farm in Lebanon ME
  • Belted Galloway calf from Diamond B Farm in New Durham NH.

In addition to the animals, visitors can participate in family activities in some of the historic houses and the TYCO Visitors Center where hands-on weaving programs will take place. Figtree Kitchen Café is open daily, throughout the event.

Strawbery Banke is also hosting a special program in conjunction with the event:

Children’s Breakfast with the Animals -- a special program for kids is offered Sunday April 21 through Sunday, April 28 from 9 to 10 am.

Led by a heritage animal breeder and educator this program, presented for an hour before the animal tent opens to the public each day, is designed to give children age 4 to 8 (all ages admitted) an opportunity to meet the baby lambs, kids, chicks and other animals, up close.  Participants will learn about milking, feed the animals and create a fiber craft gift to take home. Ticket includes a breakfast snack and all-day admission to the Baby Animals event. Tickets are $25 per child (must be accompanied by a responsible adult, at no additional cost. Snack is for children only.). Program is limited to 12 children per day. This program is offered with support from Exeter Hospital. To register, click here.

Lambs & Drams -- for adults (age 21+), Thurs Apr 25 & Fri Apr 26 from 4:30 to 6 pm

Adults over 21 enjoy beer or wine and appetizers from Figtree Kitchen Cafe and then meet the animals accompanied by exhibit curator and heritage breeds expert, Peter Cook. $30 per person. Limited to 24 participants per night. 

“Strawbery Banke is delighted to bring the heritage breeds of animals back to the Puddle Dock neighborhood where many of them would have been familiar sights during the past three centuries,” said Lawrence J. Yerdon, museum president and CEO.  “We have expanded the interactive program this year, so children can understand how these animals contributed to daily life, even though they can’t touch the animals during the regular event hours, because of safety concerns.”





            JO LAMPREY