Opening eyes in the Kiddie Farmyard
Published 10:46 am Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Popular barn for animals adapts to avian flu precautions
The Kiddie Farmyard at the Freeborn County Fair has undergone some changes this year as a precaution against the avian flu.
In place of chicks, ducklings and peacocks, the barn this week will feature butterflies and an ant farm in addition to all of the regular animals that are showcased, said Superintendent Jane Haukoos.
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Haukoos said anything with feathers was not allowed at the fair, which was a challenge because many of those animals — particularly the chicks — are highly popular among children.
Outside of the new additions, the Kiddie Farmyard features everything from piglets, sheep and a miniature donkey to rabbits, kittens and puppies, to name a few. Haukoos estimated probably 20 different types of animals.
The piglets were born Monday and will be on display with their mother.
Haukoos said children learn a lot by getting the chance to look at the animals and for older children to volunteer there throughout the week.
“They learn from the hands-on,” she said.
She estimated thousands of people go through the barn each year at the fair.
“Everybody comes here,” Haukoos said. “This is a fun place to be.”
In addition to the animals, 4-H’ers give demonstrations on a stage in the barn.
Faith Miller, 13, and Breanna Kuethe, 12, said it is their first year volunteering in the Kiddie Farmyard.
Kuethe, who lives in Alden and is in 4-H, said she wanted to be a volunteer because she likes animals and comes to the Kiddie Farmyard every year at the fair.
The child volunteers, which Haukoos said have to be in at least fifth grade, help sweep and hold animals for people to pet as they walk through the barn.
“It’s really fun,” said Miller, who lives in Albert Lea.
Haukoos said it has been five years since the Kiddie Farmyard was remodeled.