BABY ANIMALS: Heritage Breeds at the Banke
Saturday, April 20 - Sunday, April 28, 2019, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, daily.

Rain or shine! (Event takes place in a heated tent). Tickets always available at the door and online. 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.

Please note: The emphasis is on educational information. All of the animals are rare, heritage breeds, many of which are on the verge of extinction. For the health and safety of both the animals and visitors, petting is unfortunately not allowed.

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 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. From Lovell Farm
  • Mulefoot Pig from Dogpatch Farm
  • Lincoln Longwool Sheep from Tare Shirt Farm
  • 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.
  • 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 End of the Road Farm
  • Oberhasli Goat from Lovell Farm
  • Newfoundland Pony from Villi Poni Farm
  • Silver Fox from Kerfluffle Fiber Farm in Lebanon ME
  • Kerry cattle from Buckhill Farm

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:

“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.”