Edited by HnkyDnkyZZFarm - 6/8/16 at 11:06am
I recently lost my herd sire, but the plan once we got a new buck out of him was to wether him and have him retire as a therapy goat. He was about the same size and shape as the miniature horse on the Amazon commercial - "little man" and had the same amazingly sweet social personality. Not really what you'd expect from a buck goat, especially given all the warnings against keeping an intact male goat around.
We had a childrens birthday party out at the farm and he got to play with twenty something suburban kids who had never gotten to be close to a goat before. He did AMAZINGLY. He was thrilled to bits that I had brought him a herd of small humans to run around with. We teach "run" as a game though, so if you start running laps around the pens, the goats and sheep will join you. If you jump, they jump. If you turn, they turn. They learn all sorts of tricks. Eventually I'll give in and do a miniature horse if we stay in this line of work and I can call the whole entourage the Dog and Pony Show.
It was a bit of a trial by fire though. I figured it would either go really well, or really badly depending on how welcoming the goats were to the kids. The goats have been raised playing with my seven year old though, so kids mean treats and scritchies to them and they have been taught from the time that they are very young to keep their feet and heads off of humans. When my daughter is older, I may have to rent children to socialize my goats. haha. Therapy goats in the future is not out of the question.
Originally Posted by centrarchid
I work at a land grant university where food production is a major concern. We have multiple annual demonstrations and shows concerning various aspects of agriculture and the research we conduct. My job is to attract kids, usually through petting zoos and like. Critters usually brought to pet are crawdads, tadpoles, big biting insects and sometimes really big fishes. This year trained chickens, juveniles about 12 weeks old were used. Two are birds being trained to come by voice command which they do. A gang of four were taken to a festival on campus to the "fairgrounds" and set loose near my usual attraction. Each time a small group was exposed to the usual round of smaller wildlife in the petting zoo, a chaser was made of calling name my trained chickens. One, sometimes two, would come cutting through crowd and fly up into my arm. We could even get birds to fly up into arms of kids that never came into contact with any type of bird prior. Eduardo and sister Sally were stars of show. They (birds) even impressed a couple old timers that raised chickens commercially. Once satiated, the chickens would even allow kids to pet them. It was not just a situation where chickens fed from hand but otherwise avoided contact. Sadly, one of the chickens ate my walking sticks while I was working with a group of kids. This use of chickens will be used in years to come.