Spring brings new life to Maplehurst Farms

While the weather outside may not be the most spring-like, farm animals certainly know the season has arrived and are greeting it in the usual way: by giving birth. It's baby season at Maplehurst Farms in Colpitt's Settlement, near Salisbury, where owners, Jason Beaton and his wife, Stephanie Roberston, and their two children are busy with the new arrivals.

Visitors flock to family farm as birthing season arrives for cows, sheep, pigs and rabbits

One of many baby bunnies born at Maplehurst Farms this spring. (Facebook)

While the weather outside may not be the most spring-like, farm animals certainly know the season has arrived and are greeting it in the usual way: by giving birth.

It's baby season at Maplehurst Farms in Colpitts Settlement, near Salisbury, where owner, Jason Beaton and his wife, Stephanie Roberston, and their two children are busy with the new arrivals.

"We've got some new lambs and some bunnies and some new piglets," said Beaton, speaking to Shift New Brunswick on CBC Radio One.

Baby lambs don't stray too far from their mother at Jason Beaton's farm in Colpitts Settlement. (Facebook)
Spring is "the best time of the year with all the new critters around," he said, with his cows also set to calve any day.

And of course the rabbits breed like, well, rabbits. "They come pretty regularly," Beaton said.

All of this new life has meant for a busy time down on the farm, but not because he's busy with midwifery. Beaton said taking care of all the newborns it's not as much work as one might think.

"The mothers are fairly self-sustaining. It's pretty neat to see how mothering is ingrained in the animals right from birth."

What does keep them busy is the company: the visitors who come to see the animals and get a chance to hold a piglet or baby bunny.
A sow and her piglets. While the babies only weigh a few pounds, Jason Beaton says the sow can get up to 600 pounds and the boar weighs about 1,000 pounds. (Facebook)

"March break was pretty much a steady stream for us," said Beaton.

"Really, people don't see this stuff anymore. It is a bygone type of farming where people come and they've never seen a full-size pig. That's one thing people always are astounded at is how big pigs get."

Beaton said his boar weighs about 1,000 pounds.

"I'm five-foot-foot-nine and he comes up basically to my sternum. They get big."

Beaton said one sign of spring that hasn't yet arrived is green pasture so the animals can be turned out of the barn they've been living in all winter and start grazing on grass, instead of hay.

"It was actually starting to somewhat green-up in some of the fields and stuff until this last bit of snow, so we're hoping, couple of weeks, maybe three to four weeks tops." 

With files from Shift on CBC Radio One

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