WAYLAND — Two Barn Farm brought their baby kangaroo to visit with the area children at the Wayland Free Library on July 26.
The one-and-a-half-year-old joey named Jax is co-owned by Brett Sweet who talked about how his family farm works as an animal sanctuary, and helps to educate people during these types of programs.
Jax was born at the Binghamton Zoo, and Sweet’s mother, Tammy, purchased him there when he was about five months old.
“It took us about 10 months to a year to research and educate ourselves on how to care for a kangaroo before we bought him,” Brett Sweet said. “My mom knows the people at the Binghamton Zoo. We picked him out and brought him home. He was originally sleeping in a pouch, which was like a large purse. Once he got too big for that we put him in a special enclosure outside, and in the barn for the winter months.”
Sweet said Jax needs to be kept away from the other animals to keep him safe from contamination. The family is very careful with him, and make sure he gets all his vet care in Buffalo.
The Two Barn Farm operates like an animal rehabilitation center, and takes on animals that have been neglected, abused, and unwanted.
“We give these animals a home, and don’t take them out in public,” he said. “We have saved animals. We give them a second chance. We spend a lot of money out of our own pockets to care for them. We are a USDA certified farm. We have a permit that allows us to take the animals out in public.”
Many of their animals are exotic such as; a camel, a kangaroo, mini-sheep, zeboo, bearded dragons, a prairie dog, and a russian tortoise. The farm also has horses, cows, chickens, turkeys, and many others.
“We are a fully functioning traveling petting zoo with exotic animals,” Sweet said. “We have the traveling zoo down to a science with no chaos. We get to understand the animals before we take them out into public.”
Sweet grew up with these kinds of animals so he is used to them. Jax is his favorite, and has a job educating the community on how to care for exotic animals.
“How often do you get to go up and touch a baby kangaroo,” Sweet said. “When he was in his pouch I used to take him into stores with me, and he would poke his head out.”
Jax eats special proteins and vitamins that are found in a special food, carrots, sweet potatoes, and hay. He has the potential to live about 15 years. The farm is working on getting him a friend soon, but as of now he is the only kangaroo. It took about three months before they could take Jax out in public, but now he is used to the people.
Wayland Free Library Director Jen Farr was thrilled to have the joey in her library, and there was over 200 children eager to touch the animal.
“I was thrilled to have Jax here,” she said. “We had a wonderful crowd of people who came to see a live kangaroo.”
Farr added that Sweet was taking very good care of the animal the whole time.
“They were lovely to work with, and the kids were coming in early to see Jax,” she said. “Jax had plenty of room to hop and enjoy his freedom. It was a great way to teach the kids about how our environment impacts our four legged friends.”
Two Barn Farm does not allow private tours of the animals, but has several events planned all year long for people to see the animals.