Imagine that you’re in charge of the living nativity at your church. You’ve got all your human volunteers, but where do you find good barnyard animals, not to mention a camel for that completely authentic touch? If you’re in eastern Cabarrus county, you call Ivey Almond at the Rockin A Ranch in Midland.Actually, if you’re anywhere on the East Coast, you can probably get the Rockin A Ranch to supply you with animals. For the past five years, Almond and her crew have transported her gentle exotic and domestic animals to festivals, carnivals, exhibits and petting zoos in several states. Licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Almond says they are the “cleanest, most sanitized animal exhibit company around.” A veterinarian’s daughter, Almond has always loved and respected animals. Her hobby has blossomed into a business, educating children about animals and allowing the public to meet animals in a safe and healthy setting.This time of year, Almond said there is a lot of demand for traditional nativity animals, especially camels. The Rockin A Ranch has three camels: one in training, one still too little for exhibits, and one that folks can ride. Almond buys them as babies to raise and train. For the past three years, Almond has supplied the Charlotte Motor Speedway with animals for its Carolina Christmas event. Along with the nativity animals, the Rockin A Ranch sets up a petting zoo and offers animal rides.Almond said children are always thrilled to meet her animals. She’s found that many children have very limited exposure to animals, even domestic ones, and are eager to learn more about them. Lately, she’s noticed children referring to her ducks and geese as “Aflacs” and realized she’s got a lot to teach them.Almond displays only gentle exotic animals, like small yak or water buffalo, never species like snakes or tigers, and she offers a variety of programs. The “Old Timey” Barnyard Animal Exhibit provides a simulated barnyard and presenters in old-fashioned attire using old methods of animal care, like milking by hand. The ranch offers a Draft Horse Exhibit, and a Heritage and Rare Breeds Animal Exhibit. Every one of Almond’s animals has a name, except the goats because, she says, there are too many of them. She says that on average they have 11 species and 15 breeds of animals ranging from alpaca, yak and antelope to water buffalo, sheep and goats. There are more than 200 animals at the ranch, which is not open to the public, but Almond and her crew are ready to transport animals just about anywhere.
Monday, Dec. 10, 2012
Where’s the camel for the nativity?
Midland ranch provides exotic, domestic animals
Learn more: www.rockinaranchpettingzoo.com.