Farm Stay Experience with Horses, Mini Donkeys & Chickens!
After our guests get settled, most choose to participate in our fun and successful animal introduction routine. We take the long route down to the barn to get people oriented to the trails/property and let guest dogs burn off excited energy. As we near the pasture, leashes go back on to meet the big animals. Our barn animals are not typical since they associate guests and their dogs with getting special treats so usually come up the the fence to say "hi". Dogs are often surprised that the big prey animals come towards them and it's good to have dogs gain a healthy dose of respect for our pasture pals.
Included in your stay at the Dog & Pony Ranch is the opportunity to interact with the barn animals during their late-afternoon feeding. PLEASE DO NOT FEED OUR ANIMALS UNLESS WE HAVE PROVIDED THE TREATS/AMOUNTS that are safe for each animal. You can meet and pet our livestock, give them their special treats and take some fun photos. Guests are also welcome to enjoy farm-fresh eggs from our pasture-raised chickens which we stock in the guest kitchen refridgerator.
More Info about our Barn Animals
Our horses (Buddy the bay Mustang and Diamond Rio the chocolate gaited Rocky Mountain Horse, with photos included of our beloved Quarter Horses, Amigo and Tio too) are always eager for their afternoon treats, and enjoy attention and petting too. They are on top of the pasture pecking order due to their size, so we feed the big boys first. Our friendly geldings are the most likely to come up to you at the fence line for petting (be careful if we aren't with you since Rio can get nippy begging for carrots). Buddy has an adorable habit of licking your hand, just like a dog but with a really big tongue!
See our Animal Extras page for riding and other horse activities for all ages and experience.
Our mini donkeys (Millie & Mo) are so cute and gentle taking treats from guests with their soft lips. They enjoy their "petting zoo" jobs. Motown (aka Mo, Mr Mo, Mo-Mo) is a black gelding and a well-trained boy in both riding and driving. He's had many small children ride on his back so is a unique experience for our smallest guests. The female jennet was rescued from a Texas kill lot and is so sweet with appreciation for her new life though still rather shy. She's classic brown/grey coloring with the donkey cross on her back.
With their big expressive ears and distinctive braying, our mini donkeys definitely communicate!
Our chickens know daily barn visits mean yummies for them as well so they come running to the fence to say "hi" providing an exciting experience for dogs to watch. Their favorite treat is dried worms which kids particularly seem to enjoy tossing to the hens. Guests who want to pet/hold a chicken are usually surprised with how soft their feathers are. Chicken races are a hit as well watching our hens waddle-run to get to the treats. We have a variety of breeds for a colorful selection of tasty eggs which guests can help us collect each day. We usually have extra chicken eggs that you can puchase (except for a couple of months in the late fall when chickens molt).
Chickens are excellent workers spreading manure in our horse/donkey pasture, PLUS providing daily eggs and guest entertainment. What's not to love about these girls?! In return for their contributions, Dog & Pony Ranch chickens have a wonderful life with high quality food, room to roam, toys to enjoy, and a large clean predator-proof coop at night. To learn more about our chickens, read our chicken page including cute videos.
We also have feral barn cats to help with mouse/rat control on our Ranch but it's highly unlikely that you'll see any of the cats. It's interesting to see the differences between friendly house cats and those who have had to fend for themselves. Here's a fun time-lapse video showing how they acclimate to their new home, spending a few weeks confined in our barn associating their new area with safe shelter and food. After releasing them from the barn, we rarely see the cats in person but check their condition using the barn cameras when they come in for food. We'd love to pet them and hear them purr, but know that's not going to happen so are glad the humane society's "barn cat" program provides hope for otherwise un-adoptable cats. We gave them fierce warrior names and they live up to their names by doing their rodent hunting jobs. All the cats were spayed / neutered when they were captured and have an ear clipped to indicated sterile ferals.
Sadly, we will no longer have llamas at the Dog & Pony Ranch after losing our beloved Mozart the night of January 23, 2024 to a mountain lion. We made the difficult decision to re-home our remaining llama, Llorenzo, after finding a wonderful situation that we felt was best for him. Read more on our llamas page and see favorite photos of our wonderful memories with them. We could never envision re-homing any of our dogs, but barn animals have different needs so we try to do our vey best for them!
If you've been following us for many years, you may be wondering where our Dexter cattle went. We had such fun watching them grow from 6-mos-old weanlings to 2-yr-old mature heifers but they weren't the best "petting zoo" animals for our farm-stay as they got bigger (the mini-donkeys are a much better fit and cattle/donkey feeding needs weren't very compatible). A wonderful family purchased Wilma and Betty in 2019 to start their Dexter breeding program so they've moved on to a new home to do an important job.
Please don't feed our animals except treats approved/provided by us - the mini donkeys could choke if you give them a carrot, and it has caused problems with our horses too.
Q: Will my dogs be safely separated from the other animals?
A: WE LOVE ANIMALS SO THEIR SAFETY IS A TOP PRIORITY TO US!!! Our horses, mini-donkeys and chickens are safely separated in a 10-acre pasture on the east side of the 60-acre property with ~4' high cross-hatched "field fencing" that should keep most dogs out of the barn animal areas.
Our fencing is more secure than most rural neighbors who fence livestock typically with 3-strand wire. Keep in mind that this isn't just for our barn animals safety since your dogs/kids could be the ones seriously injured if get into the big animals' pasture.
If you have very small or very determined high-prey drive dogs, we recommend that you leash them when walking near livestock pastures since they might find a way to go over or under the fence. Children should be supervised at all times as well to ensure they don't open gates and go into the animal areas. Guests allowing their dogs to harrass our animals, or people going into the horse / donkey / chicken pens putting both themselves and the animals at risk will be asked to leave immediately per our rental agreement (our livestock areas are under constant video surveillance).
So far, very few issues which means we're happy to continue sharing our unique dog-friendly farm-stay with rental guests!
We have so many wonderful photos of our happy guests (both 2 and 4-legged) who have visited us at the Dog & Pony Ranch since we opened for public rentals in 2013. See more favorite photos of guests interacting with our barn animals on Animal Fun at the Dog & Pony Ranch or in the carousel below to find out more about the animal experiences you may be able to enjoy during your visit.