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Spring Babies Wake Up the Biltmore Farmyard!

Posted on 03/25/2014 by Leeann Donnelly

More babies are due to join the Biltmore family as the Farmyard’s other Boer goat will deliver her kids in early April, and Iris, our Alpine dairy goat, will birth her kid in late April or May. These early arrivals are just the start, as there are nine more female goats, or does, who are expectant mothers this spring.

These early arrivals make for much excitement on the estate as names must be chosen and stalls are refreshed to welcome the newest members of the farmyard. Lucky guests who drop by have the unique opportunity to see and interact with the animals.

Baby animals aren’t the only excitement in Antler Hill Village, though. The area transforms into the perfect playground for families once warm weather arrives. Little ones can climb, dig, and slide at Pisgah Playground, which features a central lookout, rock formations for climbing and a small lagoon.

Weekend demonstrations with our resident blacksmith, woodworkers, and featured craftsmen bring the past to life. Guests can also try their hand at classic games such as the game of graces, ring toss, and bean bag toss.

The old-fashioned fun at Antler Hill Village pays homage to the way life used to be on the estate. In George Vanderbilt’s time, life at Antler Hill Village was consumed with agriculture activity and the area was home to an assortment of farm animals.

At the turn of the century, Angora goats, prized for their abundant mohair coats, lived in the farmyard along with multiple Berkshire hogs. Estate records indicate a prized boar named Highclere Topper lived at Biltmore along with his lovely companion, a sow named Fritters.

The residents of the poultry farm probably looked much like the current flock at the Farmyard. Records show the flock included Light Brahmas, Buff Cochins, Black Langshans, and Cornish Indian Game Hens.

Horses were also part of the estate’s livestock family. Early residents included a horse named Sherman who was ridden by the estate’s first forester, Gifford Pinchot. Edith Vanderbilt rode a prized horse named Jet, while Cornelia had a pet donkey named Jack.

Today, the guests can visit with the Farmyard’s resident Belgian draft horses, or view the estate’s livestock guardian donkeys, Captain and Maybelline, as they keep watch over the chickens in the pastures.

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