Adults with Special Needs Welcome Rescue Goats to Dutton Farm

Adults with Special Needs Welcome Rescue Goats to Dutton Farm

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Nov. 12, 2021)

Rochester, MI – A pair of goats who’d originally been raised for meat are now living out their lives bringing joy to dozens of adults with special needs as the newest pets on Dutton Farm in Rochester.

The farm provides a variety of life skills and experiences for adults with disabilities, including “on the farm” activities like tending to veggie patches and caring for small animals.  In October Oakland County Times took a tour of the farm, and in our story we put the word out that they needed a pair of goats or sheep for an empty pen they had, to join Thor, their pig.

Several people contacted the farm with animals, but Yankee and Zulu were chosen because having a pair that had already been living together made the most sense for an easy transition into the new space.

Liz Scott in Ortonville has a small craft farm, with several goats and other animals that she and her family enjoy.

“These two goats were both purchased from the Oakland County Fair and were raised for meat, but we saved them to give them a good life. I’m glad this all worked out. Both goats were raised by a special needs 4H member so this worked out great!” Scott said.

After reading about the folks at Dutton Farm she decided to donate Yankee and Zulu to pass on the good feelings they’ve had with animals in their lives.

Yankee and Zulu seem to love all the attention.  Even adults who don’t communicate well with other people are able to enjoy the animals’ company, so there is lots of petting to be had.   The goats also get along well with the pig, munching on fresh veggies right along with him.  Thor has his own little red shed, and the goats have their own little staw-filled shelter, painted red to match.

“Everyone loves them,” said Kim Staudacher, Communications Director for Dutton Farm.  “This gives them more animals to take care of and interact with,” she said.

“We all feed them on different days.  We’re a team.” said Natalie who enjoys doing tasks at the farm, as well as at her work program position where she cleans and empties trash bins at a senior living community. “I like going to work,” she said. “I help keep things clean.”

Elizabeth, another of Dutton Farm’s participants, thinks the new goats are nice.  “I like to sit by them and they smell my hair,” she said.  “They like getting petted.”

Not only did the farm take in Yankee and Zulu, there’s another newbie at Dutton Farm – a large and vocal white duck named Feathers.

“Feathers was the same way, someone knew we were looking for animals and contacted us about their duck,” Staucacher said.  “You can hear it talking over all the chickens.”  She said the organization is grateful for everyone who reached out with offers of animals for the farm.  They do not need any more creatures at this time.

Those who want to see Thor, Yankee, Zulu, Feathers, and a bunch of happy people looking forward to visitors, can come to Winter Wonderland at Dutton Farm on Dec 10.

The event takes place from 5-8pm with a $5 admission. Visitors can enjoy the farm including holiday lights and tree, All City Dogs Food Truck, hot cocoa and cider, and Santa will be there for pictures!  Everybody Products, made by Dutton Farm participants, will be for sale.  Dutton Farm is located at 2290 Dutton Road in Rochester.  Learn more at https://duttonfarm.org/

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