Sheep will return to Ridgebury pasture

Farmer Whitney Freeman and her sheep at Henny Penny Farm. — Mack Reid photo

Sheep, maybe some goats and llamas, will continue to spend warm weather months in a town-owned pasture off Ridgebury Road.

“I’ll bring the sheep back in May, if April is warm enough,” Whitney Freeman, owner of Henny Penny Farm in Ridgebury, told the Board of Selectmen.

The farm animals are popular with local residents and people passing through.

“People who were local would want to feed the goats or sheep,” Freeman said.

She appeared before the selectmen to renew a license agreement with the town that allows her to keep animals in a pasture off Ridgebury Road just south of the apple orchard at its intersection with Old Stagecoach Road. The roughly three-acre pasture and the apple orchard are part of the town’s 42-acre McKeon Farm open space.

Her animals are wintering in the barn at Henny Penny Farm.

“Everybody’s home, and I take them back to the fields in May,” Freeman said.

She described some of the travails of keeping animals, including a hoof rot that afflicted her goats due to the wet weather.

“The endless rain was really hard,” she said.

Freeman also gave the board an update on her efforts to bring in a water line to the field for the animals, using a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The well got drilled a year ago in the fall,” she said.

Freeman said she’d put in some 800 feet of pipe.

“The USDA has been happy with everything,” she said.

The selectmen voted Jan. 23 to renew Freeman’s license agreement to use the pasture for another year. The motion by Steve Zemo, seconded by Maureen Kozlark, passed unanimously.

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