Yesterday there was a wonderful event that celebrated the diversity of life in Ithaca. Animals and plants were brought to the Ag Quad on the Cornell campus and many students got the opportunity to interact with adorable animals.
Lisa, a fiber farmer I visited in January was at the event and she brought three of her kid Angora goats that were four weeks old. Students hovered around her and her wonderful goats in deep adoration, completely charmed by the baby goats.
Lisa explained that the goats were drawing more attention because they were “baaaaing.” Students were intrigued by their adorable physical appearance and the cute noises they were making. Lisa showed students how to properly carry the goat, and she indicated that they get figedty when they feel like they are going to fall. It was a delightful experience for many students and they were excited to take have a picture taken of themselves carrying the baby goats.
I was surprised at how docile Snickers was. When I visited Lisa’s farm in January, the baby goats were extremely figedty and it was difficult to hold them. Of course those baby goats were a few days old, and the goats she brought to Ag Day were four weeks old. They were probably accustomed to being held by people.
Snickers was very attractive especially with the variations in mohair color. Along the face Snickers, had tints and shades of browns, yellows, and whites. Snickers does reflect the colors found in a Snickers bar. The cultural cues in the name Snickers is consistent with physical appearance, and adds greater charm to the baby goat.
When I carried baby Snickers, he began to look around and directed his face towards mine. I was confused because when I observed other people holding him, he looked straight ahead, or slightly to the side, not directly towards the person holding. Lisa explained that he probably wanted to grab my hair. This reminded me of actual babies who are also attracted to long hair. Baby goats and human babies have more similarities than I expected.
Cornell Sheep were also on the quad. The mom was eating grass with her four baby lambs. It was nice to see the interactions between the mom and babies. When the mother began to eat grass in a particular spot, the baby lambs rushed to eat in the area, crowded around her, and eventually spread out towards her utter or other sections of grass.
The baby sheep were generally more figety and students had to be more cautious when carrying one. The baby sheep began to kick around when they wanted to be put d0wn. Several people felt the crimpy wool fibers and compared the feeling of the babies’ wool to the wool of the adult mother.
There were also baby cows. It was nice to see the interaction between a student and cow. The baby cow calmly rested on the student’s lap and conveys a desire to feel comfort and love, similar to human babies. I love how the student was hugging the cow because it shows care and a possible emotional bond. This is something that is typical to see with household pets, but not necessarily cows. This was very refreshing.
There were also beautiful hens. A farmer was selling eggs and I really appreciated how she brought the hens with her. One of the postdocs in my lab from China really liked the hens and indicated that she wanted to draw them for inspiration of a design.
The post doc also said that it seems like Americans really like animals, plants, and the environment. I explained that it depends on the place. In Ithaca, appreciation for nature is more obvious than in heavily urban and populated places like Los Angeles.
Overall, Ag Day was great! I heard several people say that it made their day and week. It is great to see enthusiasm and adoration for these animals. Getting exposure to these animals probably also acted as a stress reliever. It must have been great for students who stumbled upon Ag Day and found the baby goats, sheep, cows, and hens by chance . What a wonderful surprise during their walk to class, the library, or home. Several people were taking pictures with their phones and sending photos to their friends. This encouraged more people to take time out of their day to spend time with these animals that are not seen on an everyday basis.