THE UNITY COLLEGE BARN
Heritage breeds for experiential learning
The introduction of new animals to the College is an extension of the campus-wide method of experiential learning utilized throughout the entire curriculum and benefitting students across all majors.
American breeds are used as an educational tool for study in courses on Animal Health and Training. Video by Michelle Stover ’14.
One of the most recent Unity College projects already having a large impact on campus is the Unity College Barn, home to a supply of College-owned livestock including San Clemente goats, Delaware chickens, Katahdin sheep, and Silver Fox rabbits.
The carefully chosen Unity College Barn animals are all breeds developed in the United States:
San Clemente Goats (San Clemente Island, California)
The San Clemente goat has a known worldwide population of around 600, and is considered critically endangered by The Livestock Conservancy (TLC™). Unity is now one of only two breeders in Maine, and the College is working to increase the species population. In addition, the San Clemente goats are being used on campus as teaching tools for Animal Training, Animal Health and Interpretive Methods courses.
Delaware Chickens (Delaware)
The Delaware chicken is a dual-purpose breed developed by George Ellis in the 1940s. The flock of hens and roosters maintained on campus will benefit Unity College and allow for more ways of practicing sustainability: Unity will no longer have to buy chicks from a hatchery; birds are producing fertilizer for campus vegetable gardens; and the meat and eggs will be used for special events and eventually in Dining Services.
Katahdin Sheep (Maine)
Katahdin sheep are a highly manageable breed developed in Northern Maine by Michael Piel in the 1950s. The species is personable, has no horns and is extremely parasite resistant. Katahdin sheep have hair as opposed to wool and there is no shearing, making them cost effective to maintain. The sheep also produce meat that the College is currently using in Dining Services.
Silver Fox Rabbits (Ohio)
Silver Fox rabbits are under the TLC™s conservation list as “threatened”. Originally bred for fur, they are now developed as a meat breed, and Unity College would eventually like to introduce the rabbits into Dining Services. For now, the rabbits will be used to study animal reproduction and small breed management practices on campus.