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Catch up with the friendly farm animals at Wilder Ranch State Park

Wilder Ranch State Park is home to dozens of farm animals and Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks provides the funding for their care, including food and veterinary services, as well as for educational and interpretive programs for park visitors.

The Wilder Ranch Farm Animal Program contributes to the living history atmosphere at the park’s cultural preserve. The animals bring the ranch to life for visitors with a sampling of species that lived at Wilder Ranch when it was a working ranch. The current herd includes four cows, about 20 chickens, two cats, two sheep and four goats.

Benny, the youngest cow, was born at Wilder just over four years ago. He shares the pasture with mom Becky and aunt Berta, and with Betty, an English shorthorn.

Barn cats Minnie and Hattie spend their days prowling the historic dairy farm, then retire to their cattery to play with volunteers and nap on clean pillows.

At age 9, Emma is one of two Suffolk sheep at Wilder and the matriarch. She spends her days with fellow sheep Elsa and goats Carmela, Nina, Ada and Clara.

Each chicken has a story. Buttercup, a millefleur Belgium bantam, is the smallest — and one of the feistiest — but she’ll also sit in a volunteer’s hand. Petunia is getting extra TLC as she recovers from a squirrel bite. Chance the Rooster was found abandoned at a North Coast beach during the CZU Lightning Complex Fires a year ago.

Make a donation to Friends in support of the Wilder Ranch Farm Animal Program.

Visit the Wilder Farm Animals any day of the week in the cultural preserve at Wilder Ranch. Remember, feeding the animals is prohibited; they are on special diets to keep them healthy. Wilder is just north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1. Day-use parking is $10 and supports the park.

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