The newest addition to Farmer Casey’s Ranch still needs a name.
She’s a little more than 5 weeks old, weighs about 33 pounds and has the softest fur.
She’s also the first alpaca born on the Purple Cat farm, located on the site of a former car dealership at 4738 McCartney Road in the township, and joins four other alpacas — Beulah, Honey Boo Boo, Wally Castle and Dallas Winston — who have lived there for the past two years.
Also on the farm are five goats, two donkeys, almost 50 chickens, 30 ducks, two dogs, five cats and a rabbit, and they’re all cared for by a 20-odd-person grounds crew, made up of clients of the Purple Cat, which offers day-program alternatives for adults with special needs.
“It’s definitely about that sense of responsibility and accomplishment,” said Marc Saculla, site supervisor at Farmer Casey’s Ranch. “If those alpacas don’t have hay, it’s bad for the alpaca. It’s our clients’ job to feed them, to clean their pens. ... It helps them [develop] tangible skills that they can transfer into employment.”
Saculla noted that all Purple Cat sites, including the original location on Champion Street in Youngstown, focus on basic adult education,
helping clients to maintain existing cognitive skills and develop new ones.
Read more about the program and the alpacas in Saturday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.