Latest Photos – Nefarious Goat Steals the Show from Shadow the Lamb

Last week I took two of my photographer friends to The Ranch Menagerie to meet and photograph Shadow, a little black lamb who is bottle fed. It’s one of those cases where the mother sheep has twins and one lamb doesn’t get enough milk. Nick has had to do this before, but fortunately it doesn’t happen often. It’s great from a picture taking point of view, though, because normally the mother sheep and goats take off for the back of the pasture with their babies in tow if strangers approach. 

Shadow is very tame and happily follows his surrogate mother (Nick) around. 

Another formerly bottle fed baby at the ranch is Nefarious the goat. He has been seen on a lot over the years. Nefarious is full grown and is not your average angora goat. On this particular day, he really stole the attention from the little lamb. 

I think the pictures tell the story pretty well. 

We arrived and Nick brought Shadow up to the front. He was happy to be held at first, but as soon as got a taste of the grass he concentrated on grazing. He only looked up for a minute when he heard Nefarious approach. 

Nefarious began posing at once. Shadow went back to grazing.  

Nefarious gave us the ‘over the shoulder’ pose, the ‘who me?’ pose, then made kissy face close-ups. The boss turkey hen (she leads the flock and is called Boss Turkey) showed up. She had a lot to say that morning. 

Nefarious started making friends with the new visitors while Boss Turkey kept commenting. Nick shared a couple of group shots he got of the lambs and the baby goat. Their mothers are used to Nick, they wouldn’t let the rest of us near their lambs or kids. 

Spicy the dog joined the group and sat prettily, waiting for a dog treat.  Shadow kept enjoying that sweet, sweet grass.  Nefarious got so friendly with the photographers that he decided to go home with them. (Just kidding, that’s Nefarious in Nick’s van, having a bite of lettuce from Tom’s Market. 

As you can see (below) Nefarious is a very helpful goat. In this final picture he’s helping to put the donated bags of feed away. 

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Winter at The Ranch Menagerie – Animals can’t drink ice

This time of the year on the ranch, Nick is as busy as ever. Everyone has to be fed, they need plenty of straw and other insulators (even heaters) to keep them warm enough. And they also need plenty of fresh water available in all kinds of weather.  And that means making sure that when the goats, or sheep, or pigs or any of the many other 90+ animals go to get a drink they don’t find a block of ice instead. 

If you’ve taken care of farm animals or at least visited a farm supply store, you’ve probably seen the handy electrical devices they make to keep the water from freezing. The Ranch Menagerie has these, fortunately, for the larger animals. But in the case of all the smaller “critters,” Nick has to monitor their water day and night to make sure everybody can get a drink when they want water. 

Water is vital to all living creatures, so remember, if you are kind enough to feed wild or stray animals, to make sure they have clean, unfrozen water, too.  


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You Can Help, It’s Easy!

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Support The Ranch Every Month – Part I

Monthly Donations Now Available

Now, thanks to our friends at PayPal, there’s a new way to support the animals of The Ranch Menagerie each and every month, no matter what the weather. You can choose to subscribe and donate $1, $2, $3, $4 or $5 per month for 12 months. PayPal will deduct the amount you choose every month and the payments will automatically end after one year.

How your Donations are Spent

The Ranch Menagerie, as you probably know, is an all-volunteer organization. None of the volunteers are paid. That means every bit of your donations go directly to benefit the animals. Period.

The Ranch has monthly bills, just like everybody else. They pay rent for the property, and also have to pay for electricity. So a small portion of your donation will go toward paying these very important bills.

In addition, The Ranch Menagerie’s farm animals require regular veterinary care. We’re lucky to be located so close to a vet who specializes in farm animals. So of course another small part of your donated funds is used to pay Dr. Hoskett for his excellent services.

But by far The Ranch’s largest expense is for food and supplies for the many animals who live at the sanctuary. Although the sheep, goats, mule and ducks graze and get much of their food that way, that’s not generally enough to keep them healthy, especially in the winter. So their diets have to be supplemented. Even the ever-resourceful Muscovy Ducks must be fed daily. Other necessary items include straw and other bedding materials.

More Month than Money

Every month Nick, who runs the sanctuary, has to stretch every donated dime to make sure all every animal gets the care and feeding it needs. So by donating regularly, every month, you can help to make sure The Ranch Menagerie can pay its bills and buy food and supplies.

Our goal is to have 100 or more subscribers by the end of the year, so please share this blog with all your animal-loving friends!

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These buttons will be posted at least once per week to allow as many people as possible to sign up. All you have to do is select the amount you wish to donate each month, then click on the “Donate Button.”

If you have any questions, please email us at

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Time to Give Thanks

The turkeys of The Ranch Menagerie are thankful that they live in a no-kill facility!

The turkeys of The Ranch Menagerie are thankful that they live in a no-kill facility!

The animals at The Ranch Menagerie might not be able to say so themselves, but they have a lot to be thankful for this year, starting with you, dear reader.

During the past year, major money-saving decisions were made regarding the ranches web site. Switching to this blog not only saved a lot of money, it has also helped us reach even more supporters than before. So we are all very thankful for WordPress and Facebook. In fact, if they could understand even the idea of ‘the internet,’ I’m sure the animals would also be very thankful for eBay and PayPal, too.

If they could, they’d thank the volunteers who spend time posting blogs and working on the Facebook page and the eBay auctions, and of course everyone who donated items that the ranch volunteers could sell online.

They’d really want to thank each and every Ranch Menagerie supporter who drops by to donate cat food, dog food, cracked corn or hay, faithfully. Several of the dogs (especially Spicy, Gino and Mae) do often thank these generous friends of the ranch personally, and exhuberantly. But all the animals, even if they’re a little shy around visitors, are very thankful for each of you.

Although animals don’t worry about money, if they understood they’d want to thank everyone who has donated online or at a U.S. Bank branch toward their care and feeding and veterinary care. Without your help, where would they be?

But animals live in the moment, and so right now whether it’s Thanksgiving Day or not, the animals of The Ranch Menagerie are quietly thankful for their caretaker, Nick, who always makes sure they are loved, have plenty to eat and drink and a good, safe place to live.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends from everyone at The Ranch Menagerie.


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What’s New at The Ranch

Wintertime Duck Quarters

As Fall sets in, Nick has been working hard winterizing at The Ranch Menagerie.  Each year the duck population at The Ranch Menagerie grows. This year their winter housing wasn’t large enough to protect everybody, so Nick’s been enlarging and improving their shelter.

Everyone’s home or stable or bed is being winterized in one way or another. This time of the year the animals need plenty of hay and straw. The dogs and cats homes and beds have to be insulated too, of course.

Fortunately the sheep, goats, and our mule have plenty of food and lots of good grazing land. This along with their feed will help to keep them warm and healthy even if the winter is harder this year. Of course a mild winter is always preferred!

The good news is the price of corn has gone down, and our eBay sales are up.


About mid-October, the sunflower fields near The Ranch Menagerie were still beautiful and bright. Now that it’s mid-November, they’re gone, not forgotten.


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Animals of The Ranch: Meet the Pigs


Here at The Ranch, we currently have 4 rescued pigs. Two were left here on the property by a previous tenant, and 2 were rescued as piglets.
The 2 boys (Rascal and Roscoe) are the piglets in one of our YouTube videos.

They don’t know it, but Rascal and Roscoe were originally purchased very young and were supposed to be python food! They grew faster than expected and were, luckily, brought to The Ranch Menagerie instead.

Pigs are amazing animals, and it’s no wonder many people decide they want to try having a pig as a pet. Unfortunately, zoning regulations keep many people from living this dream. Another problem with having a pig for a pet is a lack of knowledge in general about pigs and barnyard animals. (I’ll go into more detail about learning about pigs later, in an upcoming hub article).

One things pigs really like (and in fact need) is room to forage. It’s not safe for them to wander free, especially with an orchard and pumpkin patches right next store to The Ranch!

The two female pigs are known as Pearl and Mother-of Pearl. When The Ranch took over the care and feeding of these two friendly, abandoned pigs, they’d been improperly fed and cared for. In fact, Mother was mechanically blind, due to a large layer of fat hanging over her eyes.

After consulting with our Vet, the two female pigs were put on a healthy diet consisting of pig feed, lots of fresh water and plenty of fresh vegetables. Spinach is a big favorite of all four pigs, although they each have their own individual tastes.  Pigs love fruit, and would over-eat on that if allowed, but we only offer them fruit in small quantities (for dessert, you might say).

I could write all day about Mother-of-Pearl’s weight-loss success, but I think these photos say it all:

This is Mother-of Pearl, Before her new diet.

This is Mother-of Pearl, Before her new diet.

This sad photo shows how a bad diet caused 'mechanical blindness.'

This sad photo shows how a bad diet caused ‘mechanical blindness.’

But then, after eating properly and following her doctor’s orders, just look at her success:

A happier, healthier, lighter pig!

A happier, healthier, lighter pig!

 pearl after 2

Pigs are social animals, and our pigs enjoy one another’s company (as you can see in the above photo). They never met a stranger they didn’t like, and – believe it or not – some of their best friends are cats.

For instance, in this photo (that has been featured on our web site before) where Jasper the Cat takes a piggie back ride:

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What’s New at The Ranch – eBay

The Ranch Menagerie on eBay – What Sells?

If you haven’t heard, The Ranch Menagerie is now selling donated items on eBay. So far, after a few weeks of listings we’ve been pretty surprised at what sells and what does not.

For instance, pristine stamp collections haven’t done very well (so far) while a used pair of vintage Ray Bans sold almost as fast as we hit the LIST ITEM button. We were expecting this antique horseradish jar to sell quickly, but so far no takers.

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We’d Appreciate your Help, and Advice

Even with some items not selling (or selling more slowly than expected) we’ve still made a profit. A small profit, but it’s a beginning.

Do you have something you don’t need anymore that you’d like to donate? If so please let us know! But even if you don’t have anything to give away right now, maybe you have some eBay experience or advice you can share. If you have an idea what sort of items we ought to be looking for, please comment or send us an email. We appreciate any an all helpful suggestions.

We’re feeling really optimistic about our new eBay venture, because The Ranch has always received a lot of support from our community. Remember: check our auctions often.

We’ve been receiving some really interesting items lately. Keep watching; we’ll be listing 3 to 5 things each week.

If you live in the area and have some interesting or even quirky items you’d like to donate, please email us at

CATNIP Will be Harvested Soon!

Local cat lovers look forward to The Ranch’s catnip harvest each year.

This year everyone can share in the excitement even if they don’t live in or around Yellow Springs. While plenty of our all natural, organic catnip will still be available to locals, this year we’ll also be selling bags of our excellent catnip for $5.00 on eBay and also on Watch for updates.

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Animals of The Ranch – Muscovy Ducks

This is the first in a series of blogs featuring all the animals who live here at The Ranch Menagerie.  Muscovy Ducks are first because at The Ranch they outnumber everybody.

Muscovy’s are a large breed of duck and they are much quieter than many other types of duck. They are easily distinguished from other breeds by their faces which are featherless, bright red, flashy and carnunculated (lumpy). The drakes, when alarmed, excited or angry, will erect the feathers on the top of their heads.

Although they are often raised for their meat and their eggs, Muscovy’s are very often feral. They often settle in parks or around private ponds. They’re fast breeders. When they find a place they like, they’ll stay and their population will quickly grow. Unfortunately some cities still round feral ducks up and exterminate them.

Our Muscovy’s are protected and  free-range. They really help control flies and all sorts of other insects. They’re quiet enough to be raised and kept in backyard farms, but if you’ve never kept ducks before be sure and do some research first. Ducks — all ducks — can be very messy, especially when kept in a small area. Muscovy ducks are fine if they don’t have a pond. They are fond of puddles and are very happy with a small wading pool.

Although I try to collect as many eggs as I can, Muscovy’s are very good at hiding their nests. This spring alone our Muscovy’s have hatched more than 30 ducklings.

Here's one of our Muscovy's when it was just a little hatchling.

Here’s one of our Muscovy’s when it was just a little hatchling.

They start out small and yellow, but ducklings grow up quickly.  For the first few weeks of their lives, Muscovy duckling feed on grains, corn, grass, insects, and almost anything that moves. Their mother instructs them at an early age how to feed.

Here's a young duckling who very soon will grow to be . . .

Here’s a young duckling who very soon will grow to be . . .

. . . an older duckling. And then it's not long until the duckling grows to be . . .

. . . an older duckling. And then it’s not long until the duckling grows to be . . .

. . . a fledgling. Sort of the teenager of the Muscovy world.

. . . a fledgling. Sort of the teenager of the Muscovy world.

Muscovy’s make very good parents. They’re friendly and seem to get along well with just about every species here at The Ranch.  They’re protective of their nests, but never attack people (the way many geese will).  These ducks can get a little loud when they’re mating, or fighting about mating. Otherwise, most of the time Muscovy’s are just one big happy family.

muscovy mom and brood cropmuscovys out for walk crop - Copy happy muscovy family with friend - Copy

It’s very lucky for the Muscovy’s at The Ranch Menagerie Animal Sanctuary that they live on a no-kill facility. Muscovy meat is very popular.

Still, as a birth-control method we do collect Muscovy eggs. The eggs can be used exactly like chicken eggs. They have a good flavor and a slightly firmer texture when cooked. We do sell the eggs when we can, so send an email if you’d like to try Muscovy eggs.

Muscovy ducks are a sturdy, self-sufficient breed, but we supplement their insect-filled diet with duck feed, cracked corn, and leafy vegetables.

If you’d like to help us keep our Muscovy ducks happy, healthy and well fed, please donate today.

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Muscovy ducks are happy to be friends with anybody. Especially if that friend might share his or her food.

Muscovy ducks are happy to be friends with anybody. Especially if that friend might share his or her food.

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