IMPERIAL — Conceived three years ago as a tribute to a beloved vet, Dr. James Thompson, who was lost to the Valley in 2012, Doc’s Barn has become a crowd favorite with the livestock babies and their mamas on display for everyone to experience the miracle of birth.
The barn, teeming with life, also has educated help on hand to explain the different tools, farm life, and other questions of birth the endless visitors ask of the birthing processes such as farrowing crates.
“Farrowing crates allow the sow to lie down to nurse her piglets, and offer the babies room on the sides to get away from the sow to sleep and play,” veterinarian assistant Danielle Standiford answered for the hundredth time, but with the same enthusiasm she displays for all of her tasks associated with Doc’s Barn.
“I was asked three years ago to work here, and I jumped at the chance. I absolutely love being in here and telling people about all these babies and just farm life in general,” enthused the former Cattle Call Queen.
Standiford entered the pen containing the baby goats and lambs. Immediately a black baby lamb attacked her.
“Can you tell she’s a bottle baby?” Standiford laughed as the persistent baby dogged her as she went to pick up a week old kid (baby goat).
Sitting on one of the hay bales cuddling the kid in her arms, the petite assistant was instantly surrounded by four-legged creatures looking for attention and more.
Beaming in her element, Standiford explained her duties as she carefully pushed back against the needy babies. There is a bit of pen cleaning, she said, but mainly making sure the animals have fresh water and food, and being knowledgeable to answer the many questions visitors think of to ask her.
Standiford knew exactly when each of the pen’s residents was born. “This one is a week old, that one is three weeks old. And this one,” she playfully tugged at a larger goat’s ear, “this one was born last year in this barn.”
One gets the idea, she will be doing the same thing, next year, with the little week old baby in lap, telling those visitor of its birth.