Mom and son duo, Tara and Cole Ricker, were a huge hit at Thursday’s Tot Time.

LEWISTOWN-Mom and son duo, Tara and Cole Ricker, were a huge hit at Thursday’s Tot Time.

The Rickers brought in a select few of the animals from their farm including chickens and three goats which happened to be a mama (Tinker) goat or officially a doe or nanny, a daddy (Benny), a billy or a buck and their 2 and 1/2 month old baby, a kid.

Tara explained the goats love to eat dried leaves as well as graze their pasture.

She also said they could tell when the rain was coming because will hurriedly head for the barn as they hate getting wet and they really dislike being muddy. They will go out of their way to avoid getting wet at all costs including jumping over mud puddles if necessary.

Baby goat’s name is Frostbite. She has a twin who went to another farm, but the Rickers have elected to keep Frostbite as a pet.

“When they (goats) are born, they can walk right away. When they turn a week old, they are bouncing off of everything,” said Tara.

This was a hands-on Tot Time which youngsters love.

One of the fun activities they were able to do was feed the goats, “If you go to feed them, they might chew on you a little bit because they chew on everything,” she said.

Benny made several attempts to climb out of the enclosure set up for his family and him, to no avail, but it did not stop him from trying, “Did anyone see Benny try to climb out earlier? They will climb everything. They love to jump on stuff; your car, wooden spools we set out for them-everything,” explained Tara.

Some of the fun things they like to do is climb and jump on stuff.

It was noted they really enjoy attempting to escape their pen,”That’s one of their favorites, and eating all of your flowers around your house. They love that. Destroying your vegetable garden, too. We raise our goats for pets, but they can be used for meat. They can make milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream; all sorts of stuff.”

Tara said there are those who like to make sweaters from their fur.

Benny is considered a meat goat, which, if he wasn’t a pet, would be sold at market.

Tinker is a milk goat.

When Tara asked if any of the kiddos had questions regarding the goats one little girl asked if they would bring in a purple baby goat.

“If I ever get a purple baby goat, I will bring it in,” chuckled Tara.

Cole then talked about his chickens, “Chickens can be raised for meat or they can be pets.”

The first chicken he introduced was Steve. Steve is a Bantam Chicken. Steve is incredibly laid back. With all of the noise from the excited youngsters, Steve took a nap as Cole went around the room allowing anyone who wanted to pet him to do so.

“Boy chickens usually have combs. They have prettier colors usually when they are a male. A female chicken is called a hen. They can have bright colors. Chickens have wings, but they don’t fly very good. They can fly up onto gates and stuff like that,” said Cole.

Cole then introduced Millie. Her name was chosen because she is a Mille Fleur Chicken.

These particular chickens have booted legs, full beards, reddish brown/black feathers, glossy black tails and they lay small, white eggs.

Muffy was the last chicken Cole brought with him. More than one of the grown-ups present commented she looked like a turkey.

Tara explained there was a reason. Muffy is a Turken.

One of the many interesting aspects of this breed of chicken is they have a ‘naked neck’.

They’re usually medium-sized single, red comb and an elongated, meaty body. The comb has five well-defined upright points. The oblong earlobes around the wattles are red. They can be of similar length.

The breed was largely developed in Germany. The name ‘Turken’ arose from the idea the bird was a hybrid of a chicken and domestic turkey, according to animalsake.com.

Naked necks, as they are sometimes called, are fairly common in Europe, but are rare in North American and very common in South America.

Before getting to crafts and snacks, Tara had one final surprise.

She brought out a beautiful, snow white, quite large 2 and 1/2 month old Great Pyrenees puppy.

Tara explained once grown, it would be Birdie’s (the pup) job to protect the animals from predators.

Once fully grown, she will weigh in at 100 plus pounds.

As with the other animals, the kids were enamored with gorgeous Birdie.

“Some of our goats are fainters and other animals will take advantage of that. They need protection. So do our chickens so this puppy, when she gets a little bigger she will protect our goats and chickens.”

Following the presentation from the Rickers, there was a craft as well as snacks.

Snacks for this month’s Tot Time were provided by Kroger in Canton.

Sponsors for this year’s Tot Time are: Spoon River Electric Co-op’s Operation Round-up grant, Canton Area Chamber of Commerce, Havana National Bank, Lewistown VFW Post 5001 Auxiliary, Lewistown American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Bishop Post #1, Rusty Melhouse of Edward Jones and Jeff and Linda Sisson, Havana.

Tot Time is held the first Thursday of the month at Dickson Mounds. It is FREE for those attending.

There is always an interesting program, a craft following the program and snacks.

Tot Time starts at 9:30 a.m.