One of the most beloved areas of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo is the barn, which features domestic livestock that visitors can touch and feed. Friendly goats, sheep, and alpacas greet visitors with a chorus of baahs and bleets.
This summer, another domestic animal has joined the others in the barnyard; in fact the zoo expanded the pasture areas just for her.
Tetley the dairy cow is definitely the largest animal in the pasture and, at 900-pounds, she is the largest animal in the Prospect Park Zoo. Visitors are surprised at her size, but Tetley might even be considered “petite” for a dairy cow since a full grown Holstein cow can weigh up to 1,500 pounds.
Tetley represents a heritage breed of cow, the milking shorthorn, which is one of the oldest breeds in the world. Originating in England, this breed was first brought to America in 1783 for use on Virginia farms. These cows are characterized by their unusual red and white coloring. The shorthorn’s hardiness and ability to produce milk provided American pioneers meat, milk and transportation as they ventured westward.
Tetley has adapted well to her new home. If she can pull herself way from her delicious hay, she’ll mosey over to the fence to get a nice scratch on the head. She’s also made friends with other barn residents and has been seen nuzzling the miniature horse in the next pasture.
The zoo’s barn animals have inspired children to write letters and draw pictures. Letters and pictures can be dropped in the special “moo box” and they will be displayed on the “moo board.” These charming expressions are often the result of a child’s first connection to wildlife, building an appreciation for nature in all its forms.
The barn area of the zoo is a place where young and old alike can enjoy the animals up close. Come visit the newest barnyard resident, Tetley.