Sheep, Chickens and a Dog, Oh My!

March 24, 1998

Some new residents ¡¡ of the four¡footed kind ¡¡ moved into their new home last week at the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village. Three sheep, which were raised by members of the Future Farmers of America chapter in Riesel, are now housed in a pen on the village grounds. Little Jo, Chipper (named for Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones) and Julia join Cloe, a dog, and a flock of chickens that live at the village.

Micha Greenwalt, Kris Kuehl and Deirdre Heath, who are Riesel students, raised the sheep to compete in various livestock competitions. After the county livestock show, the animals would normally have been sold for slaughter. However, Julia, Little Jo and Chipper were lucky; their buyers ¡¡ Kent and Leslie Webb, Texas First Bank of Riesel, the Lutheran Brotherhood, Fred Dulock & Co. PC and the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village Fund ¡¡ chose to donate the animals to the village.

All three students say they are happy the sheep will now live at the village. Although Kris claims that his mother will miss Chipper the most, he does admit he will come visit the sheep. Craig Maltsby, the sponsor for the Riesel FFA, says Micha was very excited when he heard his sheep would not "go to market."

"When Micha found out his sheep was coming here, he smiled for about a week," Maltsby laughs. "These students spend a lot of time with their animals, and they get very attached to them. It can be hard on these kids when the sheep are sold."

The sheep were not the only animals that were donated to the village. Lindsey Bays, a nine¡year¡old student at Axtell and the daughter of Strecker Museum administrative associate Gina Bays, donated five chickens to the village. The Bays family also donated Cloe, an exuberant four¡month old puppy who prefers people to sheep.

According to Melinda Herzog, curator of the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village, housing livestock makes the living museum more of an authentic representation of an actual 19th century village. Additionally, the arrival of the sheep and chickens will benefit students who plan for a career in museum work.

"We have many museum studies students who will work in living museums when they graduate from Baylor," she says. "These museums often feature livestock, and our students need to learn how to work with these animals, which they will now be able to do."

Herzog says her ultimate goal is to have enough sheep for a breeding program, to add a cow to the mix of livestock, and to obtain a team of mules. But for now, she is content with the three sheep, five chickens and their canine companion.

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