The arrival of newborn barnyard and ranch babies signals springtime in Colorado. As the temperature rises and the hillsides and orchards begin to bloom, adorable foals, calves, kids, piglets and chicks fill the nurseries of over 864 farm and ranches that are open to visitors/tours all across the Centennial State. Here are some places to see, pet, learn about and interact with baby farm and ranch animals and experience agritourism in Colorado.
On the Ranch
Maryland Creek Ranch (Silverthorne)
Just outside Silverthorne in the Blue River Valley, experience a working ranch that specializes in Scottish Highland Cattle. The cold weather, big-horned and curly-mane cattle produce adorable calves that you can visit in the spring.
James Ranch (Durango)
Meet the newest ranch arrivals: calves, kids and chicks. The Electric Cart Tour takes you through lush green pastures where the grass-fed cattle graze along with the wild elk and deer. A self-guided walking tour leads you through the gardens, milk house and yard to visit the animals and learn about sustainable farming and ranching.
Horse and Hen Farm House Inn (Hayden)
“Live, Laugh and Farm” is the motto at this family friendly farm where a stay offers a bountiful farm-fresh breakfast followed by daily farm chores including: collecting eggs, milking cows or goats, and, in the spring, bottle-feeding the baby goats. Baby chickens and ducks are also part of their springtime baby palooza.
Zapata Ranch (Mosca)
Roll up your sleeves and get your boots on the ground for Calving Week at the Zapata Ranch April 19-26, 2015. Assist ranch hands as heifers deliver the first calves of the spring and pitch in on daily ranch duties. From May 17-24 and June 7-14, 2015, experience the life of a cowboy at the Branding Experience. For more baby action, time your visit with the arrival of baby bison from late April through May. On horseback, let ranch guides take you through more than 50,000 acres of wild life conservancy lands up close to the 2,000+ herd of North American Plains Bison.
CALF’s Lowell Ranch (Castle Rock)
Witness lambs, piglets, chicks, calves and kid goats on the Farm Baby Tour. Part of Colorado Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF), the ranch is a non-profit dedicated to connecting people with agriculture. Tours by reservation only: April 18 and 25 and May 2, 16 or 23.
Chokurei Ranch (Moffat)
Home to more than 200 Tibetan Yak, Chokurei raises healthy and happy organic food. Visitors are invited to tour the ranch in the army troop carrier and hand-feed the roaming yak. The ranch is home to heritage flocks of free-range turkeys, ducks and chickens, and the hub of the ranch is a 6,400 square foot greenhouse fed by an artesian spring of geothermal heated water. Finish the tour with lunch at the Yak and Cracker Café and a visit to the Farm Store.
Colorado Dude & Guest Ranches are a great way to experience Colorado’s real west. From long-legged foals to curious calves, springtime brings all sorts of ranch babies. Each ranch offers the adventure and intrigue of the old West along with great amenities, great food and activities. The Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association will guide you to your perfect western adventure.
New “Kids” on the Block
Mountain Flower Dairy (Boulder)
Bring your kids to welcome their kids! Partake in the process of raising goat kids by bottle-feeding babies, milking goats and teaching them to walk on leashes. Each spring, the dairy holds its Goat Baby Shower with live music, treats, wine, goat races, family photo booth and facepainting. This year the shower is April 18th. Baby goat visiting and noon bottle-feeding begin Saturday April 4 extending through Saturdays in July.
Jumpin Good Goat Dairy (Buena Vista)
With over 182 goat kids born into their herd so far this year, welcome to “goat heaven”. Dawn Jump and her family run the Jumpin Good Goat Dairy, spending their days loving goats and their nights crafting cheese. Visit pens of baby “kids” at play and stop by the cheese making rooms and aging caves on an educational Farm Tour or a “hands-on” Milking Tour.
Mountain Goat Lodge (Salida)
Located on 19 acres of rolling pastures at the foot of the Sawatch Range, come roam the meadows with resident goats, kids and chickens. Learn about farm life through classes on goat and chicken raising, cheese making and goat husbandry.
Broken Shovels Farm (Commerce City)
Visit the social, curious goats and their new kids on a farm for foodies and animal lovers. Starting on May 3, the farm offers Free Sunday Open Farm and Market days.
Villard Ranch (Craig)
The Villard Ranch has been a family-run sheep operation since 1929. Each year, the more than 1,200 head of ewes produce a nursery full of spring lambs. For a unique ranch stay, spend the night on a Sheep Wagon Vacation or Working Ranch Tour. Late in the spring, the ewes and bucks are shorn of their wool for luscious fibers.
Yampa Valley Fiberworks (Craig)
Dedicated to regional sheep farming, environmental cohesiveness and keeping the natural fiber milling industry alive, Yampa Valley Fiberworks offers tours of the sheep and mill. The second Saturday of every month, learn to knit and join in a potluck at “Sock Saturday”. The last Friday of each month is “Chix, Stix and Flix”—catch a movie and learn to knit.
Mesa Winds Farm (Hotchkiss)
Make friends with an adorable flock of Babydoll sheep, that graze among the orchards and “keep the alleyways mowed” in the grape vineyard, peach and apple orchards. The white and black registered Babydoll Southdown sheep are docile, patient, hearty and extremely cute!
Cria (Baby Alpacas)
Stargazer Ranch (Loveland)
From afar, witness spring through a live-streaming barn camera to view this alpaca nursery. During the spring the camera shows the outdoor alpaca-birthing pen. Check the birthing schedule to witness an alpaca birth and view the newborn crias.
SunCrest Orchard Alpacas (Palisade)
Located in the heart of peach and wine country, SunCrest Orchard Alpacas and Fiber Works maintain a herd of nearly 50 alpacas. This year they have two babies on the ground and three more on the way. SunCrest operates a full-service, mini mill and welcomes visitors to experience the alpacas up close, learn interesting facts and witness how their luxurious fiber is spun into yarn. Open Farm Day, May 9-10, is shearing time in the Grand Valley.
Farm and ranch nurseries are bustling with spring babies, breathing fresh life into age-old practices. Treat yourself to smiles and heart-warming experiences on one of our many Colorado farms and ranches. For more info, visit http://www.colorado.com/articles/colorado-farm-stays.
Tip: Visits/tours may be by reservation so please call ahead!