Most people throw out their pumpkins after Halloween, but there’s a petting farm just north of Kingston that can put them to good use. Barry Smith is the owner of Land O Lakes Petting Farm and says the animals enjoy snacking on pumpkins.
The 67-year-old tends to about 100 animals every day. He has everything from pigs to llamas and horses. Each of them has a name, a distinct personality and is trained to do tricks. His farm helps rehabilitate abandoned, abused and unwanted animals.
“Others come in sick. They have different antibiotics, some have abscesses. We have a goat here that has a broken leg and a terrible urinary tract infection. So quite often we need the help from a veterinarian,” Smith said.
Smith says it isn’t cheap to run a not-for-profit. The cost of medical treatment and food can add up quickly, especially for a petting farm that runs purely off donations.
“One of the horses for example requires a mixture of different foods and it would probably be close to $120 a month for him. So if you multiply that by 100 it gives you an idea how much we put out for hay and grain,” Smith said.
But once a year the animals receive a special pumpkin treat thanks to Shannon Pester. Last year she collected more than 500 gently carved pumpkins from the community and gave them to the farm to use as food.
“Rather than putting them in your green bin or your home composter, this is just an easy way to help support animals,” Pester said.
The pumpkins must be in good shape, and not have paint or dye on them. Every pumpkin that is donated helps offset the cost of feeding the animals. For example, last years donation of 500 pumpkins helped feed the animals for two weeks.
As for Smith, he is grateful for the fundraiser and says he wouldn’t be able to give the animals the care they need without the help from the community.
Pumpkins for donation can be dropped off at the Collins Bay Flea Market on Nov. 4 between 10 a.m. and 2pm.