We have a number of sweet animals at Sky Meadow. In this post, we’ll introduce you to each of them! We will also cover some of the most frequently asked questions about our menagerie.
Shadow the Cat
When you first arrive at Sky Meadow, you will almost certainly be greeted first by Shadow the cat. Born in 2019, she was raised at Sky Meadow and roams freely throughout the property. Shadow is incredibly smart and sweet, loves people and is quite friendly even with new faces. She will gladly accept pets and cuddles. She might even give you the full property tour!
Sky Meadow is home to three alpacas. Mary Mack is all in black and white, with a sweet and friendly disposition. She is the oldest of the three and, due to a past case of meningitis, she has a tilt to her walk, but remains as bright-eyed and sweet as ever. Cinnamon is tan in color, as is her son Nutmeg, who is highly alert and protective. A true guardian of the pasture, he always lets us know when wild animals are nearby (even if it’s just a few wild turkeys).
The family of animals at Sky Meadow includes four sheep, all an English heritage breed called “Babydoll Southdown.” They are stout little ladies who are getting on in years but thoroughly enjoying the slow life. We love their sweet fuzzy faces and how idyllic they look grazing on the hill.
We have five chickens currently at Sky Meadow. They are so fun to have around! We love their individual quirks and personalities. While they are laying, we typically get 3-4 eggs a day. In late fall and early spring it’s normal for them to take a few weeks off.
FAQs about the Animals at Sky Meadow
We often get questions about our animals. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about them:
How do you keep away predators?
Our pasture area is strategically bordered by the main house, retreat barn, and several outbuildings, and fenced in on all sides. The presence of humans throughout these areas deters predators from coming close. The chickens roam freely during the day, and get tucked into their secure coop at night for extra security. Nutmeg the alpaca’s protective instincts certainly play a role in keeping everyone safe too. He will sound the alarm by whinnying loudly at any potential intruders — even if it’s just a baby groundhog!
Do you shear the alpacas and sheep?
Yes! We shear them once a year in the spring. Then their wool grows out over the course of the summer and fall to keep them warm all winter. Since we only have a few animals, there’s not really enough fleece to be of commercial interest for us. We save the wool for projects here, or gift it to friends and visitors who work with raw textiles. (If you’re staying at Sky Meadow soon and would like to take some home, just let us know!)
What do you get from the animals at Sky Meadow?
Aside from wool, the sheep and alpacas help us quite a bit by “mowing” the hilltop and back field. They are excellent helpers when it comes to cleaning out fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchens! And of course, their manure makes for excellent compost for the garden. The chickens also provide us with a reasonably steady supply of fresh eggs — and plenty of laughs! But more than anything, we enjoy their presence here on the land.
How do they stay warm in winter?
The animals at Sky Meadow have lived here for years and tolerate winter weather remarkably well. Both our alpacas and sheep by nature of their breeding are accustomed to cold climates. With all that wool, the cold does not seem to bother them one bit! They each have dedicated shelters to shield them from the elements. We make sure that these are clean and dry so that the animals can keep warm. But then, I will often see them lounging directly in the snow too… so I guess they really are less bothered by the cold than we are!
The chickens don’t do well in the snow, so once there’s more than an inch on the ground, we keep them in their coop for the winter. Their coop’s large southern-facing window takes full advantage of the greenhouse effect to keep the inside warm. It’s amazing to go out on a sunny day in the single digits and find it’s well over 40 degrees in there! We make sure they have plenty of space, clean, dry bedding and some enrichment to keep boredom at bay. I especially like to tie up part of a cabbage or squash on a string and let them peck at it like a piñata!
We hope you enjoyed meeting the animals at Sky Meadow! Are you in search of a place to plan a nature-centered event, spiritual retreat, or to just get away from it all? Sky Meadow has been holding space for meaningful events for over 20 years. We’d love the opportunity to host you soon. Just let us know how we can help!