Burleigh Blog

Welcome to our blog for the animals. Here you will find stories about our incredible animals, those who dedicate their time to care for them and those they impact most. We hope you enjoy what you read and if you would like to contribute, please contact us!

Wool sheep cannot be left to go without an annual shearing. This is because wool continually grows and becomes heavy, soiled and unhealthy if not sheared.

Sheep shearing is generally carried out in the spring so that wool sheep do not become overheated in the summer. Sheep with too much wool are very susceptible to heat stress during the hot summer months.

We shear Honey, our Tunis wool sheep, purely for his comfort and health as the weather starts to heat up. We do not shear our three short-haired sheep, Marvin, Winston and Spice because they shed naturally. But since we want Honey to have as much fun running around the pasture this summer as his short-haired friends, he will be receiving his hair cut in early June.

Burleigh Manor is very fortunate to have an award-winning sheep shearer, Emily Chamelin, come out to shear Honey. Only 5% of sheep shearers in the world are women and she is one of them. In fact, Emily is known worldwide for her sheep shearing skills.

We hope you can join us for our Farm Tour on Saturday, June 4th 2016 when Emily comes out to shear Honey!

It’s time for the 2nd Annual Wine and Cheese Event at the farm. You loved it last year, so we’re bringing it back for the summer of 2015!

Wine and cheese are two of life’s finest pleasures – and nothing goes better with wine than goats!!

Alpie in the Wine Cellar

Alpie can’t wait for the event! He’s getting things ready in the Wine Cellar!

Join us at either 1pm or 3pm for our monthly Farm Tours led by our volunteer tour guide and event coordinator, Rissa Miller (click here to learn more about Rissa and the rest of our Farm Team) then join us on the lawn and in the wine cellar to sample outstanding wines from The Wine Bin and a variety of dairy-free cheese, jams and other delights. Grape juice is available for children or adults who prefer not to drink.

Our normal Farm Tours (at 1pm and 3pm) will also run and are included in the ticket price: $15 for juice and cheese, $20 for wine and cheese.The Burleigh Manor gift shop is always open during our Open Houses, so you will have the opportunity to purchase an awesome Burleigh Manor T-shirt, a notebook, or even some handmade quince jelly (check out our online store as well).

Ready to join us for this event? Please be sure to buy tickets in advance! This event, co-sponsored by our friends from Baltimore Vegan Drinks, was popular last year and may sell out! Get tickets here.

Please note, this event will be OUR FINAL regular tour day for 2015. Due to a large number of private events, our other tour days will be cancelled. Sign up now to visit your favorite animals!!


12:00pm – 4:00pm Wine & Vegan Cheese Tasting

1:00pm First Farm Tour

3:00pm Second Farm Tour


Wine on the Lawn


We are excited to announce our sponsors, listed alphabetically…

Baltimore Vegan Drinks

Beyond Meat

Follow Your Heart

High Impact Vegan

Kite Hill Cheese

Parmela Creamery

Treeline Cheese

Trish Cerebelli-Miles, graphic designer

Whole Foods Market, Columbia MD

The Wine Bin


We can’t wait to see you on the farm! Until then, please enjoy these images from last year’s Wine and Cheese Tours with the Animals…


The animals at the farm really span in age – some are quite young!

Rooster, Muffin, and Guinea Hen, Bucky, are the currently the youngest animals, both born in May 2014, so they are just one month over a year-old!

Bucky the Guinea Hen

Bucky, as she enjoys foraging in the yard.

Muffin the Rooster

Muffin keeps watch over the barnyard.

But four of our other animals were all born on Valentine’s Day 2014: sheep Marvin and Winston, and pigs Chloe and Wilbur all share the same birth date! These four cupids are about a year and four months-old. The sheep are brothers, they are Maine Katahdin Sheep; Chloe and Wilbur are brother and sister, and they are part Guinea Hog and Red Wattle Pig, both heirloom breeds.

Winston the sheep

Marvin the Sheep Marvin and Winston, two sheep brothers. They love hanging out together, and eating the landscaping!

As far as how long each of these six will live… roosters live to about 5 to 6 years. Guinea hens can live to be 12 to 15, if no predators come after them. Generally, sheep are expected to live 10 to 12 years, as do full-size pigs.

Wilbur and Chloe

Brother and Sis, Wilbur and Chloe, love an afternoon wallow.

On the opposite end, we have Jack the donkey. He’s over 40 years-old! It is not unusual for donkeys to live into their forties and the oldest donkey age ever recorded was 70 years as of 2012! So we hope that Jack has many more happy years at the farm.

Jack the Donkey

Jack is over 40 years-old and still as handsome as ever!

We hope you will come meet these youngsters, and sweet senior Jack at our next farm tours on August 23rd!

Rissa Miller is the head tour guide at Burleigh Manor and leads both private and public tours at the farm.  She welcomes your questions at any time and all the posts in her column are actual questions asked by guests during tours. Join us and try to stump Rissa!


Between 6 and 8 million companion animals end up in shelters annually according to the Humane Society. That’s a lot of cats and dogs (as well as birds, bunnies and more). Sadly, more than half of those animals never find a home and end up being put to sleep. Approximately 70% of shelter cats are put down – all of which would have made wonderful companions for people seeking a furry friend.

Check out these statistics from the HSUS ~

  • 26 percent—Percentage of pet cats who were adopted from an animal shelter
  • 3,500—Number of animal shelters in USA
  • 6 to 8 million—Number of cats and dogs entering shelters each year
  • 2.7 million—Number of adoptable cats and dogs euthanized in shelters each year (more cats than dogs)

But June is a special time – it’s Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat month. The cats on the farm were all adopted, and shelter cats make fanastic, loving companions.

Just ask Nigel – he loves going for a stroll with folks around the farm! What would our farm be without Nigel, Billy and Tank – the cats who live here!?

Nigel the Cat

Most shelters in the United States aim to provide a safe and healthy environment for homeless animals until they find a home, or are placed with an adoption organization that will find them new guardians. In Howard County, we are lucky to have Kitties and Pitties, a no-kill cat and dog rescue, as well as the Howard County Cat Club, another no-kill cat adoption group as well as Small Miracles no-kill shelter for dogs and cats.

If you live in Baltimore, visit the Maryland SPCA – they are waiving adoption fees for ALL cats during June to mark Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month. BARCS and The Baltimore Humane Society also have cats that would love to come home with you if you’re in Baltimore city or county. Many organizations have lower adoption fees for adult cats, too.

Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

We hope that those of you thinking of bringing a feline into the family will consider a shelter cat!


It’s time for another Farm Day! On June 20th, please join us for this very special event done in conjunction with Kadampa Meditation Center of Maryland by Buddhist teacher, Gen Kelsang Chogden. After our monthly farm tours at 1pm and 2pm, the meditation will begin at 3pm. Meditation session is FREE – please bring a chair or blanket to sit on.


Buddhist teacher, Gen Kelsang Chogden

Because Burleigh is an animal sanctuary, the focus of our meditation will be Compassion for Animals. Developing compassion and kindness for animals is more important than ever in this modern day. When approached correctly, compassion is an uplifting and transformative state of mind. The more we open our hearts to animals of all shapes and sizes, the more our empathy will grow. In this way we can develop universal compassion, the most humane and beneficial state of mind. Everyone is welcome to attend!


Billy the Cat loves his daily meditation practice. Join him for our group meditation!

Our afternoon farm tours are one hour walking tours of the entire farm led by our volunteer tour guide Rissa Miller. On the tour, you will meet the animal residents of the farm and learn a little about the property history as well.


Meet a new friend on the tour, like Alpie the goat.

Tours kick off at 1pm and 2pm and are a suggested donation of $10/adult and $5/child. The Burleigh Manor gift shop is always open during our tours so you will have the opportunity to purchase one of our famous awesome Burleigh Manor t-shirts, a notebook, or even some handmade quince jelly-produced from quinces on the farm! We also have delicious baked good available for purchase after the tours. 100% of sales benefit the animals.

Get your tickets now! We can’t wait to see you on June 20th.


We wanted to extend our thanks to Lauren Shafer of No Meat Athlete Baltimore and Paul Shapiro from the Humane Society of the United States for being our special guests at May’s Farm Day and Open House/Tours. Lauren’s morning run was invigorating as the group traveled from Burleigh to Centennial Park, around the lake, and back. Lauren and Paul both joined us for the farm tour, meeting lots of new friends! Bucky even took a dust bath, just for the occasion!

Our small but attentive crowd enjoyed Paul Shapiro’s inspired talk about how diet affects so many aspects of life, and how our simple daily actions can make a difference for both people and animals. He shared personal stories from his visits to factory farms, and told everyone that positive changes ARE happening in our society and more are coming. Thanks Paul!

And of course, a huge thanks  to our guests for coming and spending this lovely early summer day with us, and to the Burleigh volunteers, who make so much happen!

Hope we see you all on June 20th for our next Farm Day! This month we will have a special guest: Buddhist teacher Gen Chogden from Kadampa Meditation Center Maryland will lead a Compassion for Animals Meditation session! Stay tuned for details!

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This weekend is the 1st Veg Out Street Festival in Ellicott City. Ten local restaurants will be offering a full day of vegetarian, vegan and plant-based food and drink specials; 4 shops will offer cruelty-free, animal-friendly goods and services, including non-leather shoes and handbags; and Burleigh Manor is one of the 11 animal rescue charities involved.


Veg Out happens in Historic Ellicott City this weekend, June 6th, from 2pm to 6pm. Stop by our table to say hello! We will be stationed in front of the Little French Market in Parking Lot D, towards the top of the hill. You’ll likely find us hanging around the Sweet Dukes Bakery stand… word is they are bringing strawberry pie and brownies…

The event is family and dog friendly, and completely free to attend. Get a punchcard from The Humane League’s check-in booth – and you can enter to win a huge prize basket, too.

See you there!


Jack is a miniature Sicilian donkey and his ears are indeed quite big!


When a young lady asked me this question on the tour, I didn’t know the actual answer. I told her that Jack’s ears were big so that he could hear it when you whisper “I love you”.  Of course, my young guest proceeded to tell Jack she loved him – at the top of her lungs!

In reality, donkeys evolved to have such large ears for two reasons. First, it does offer them enhanced hearing! Because of their build, donkeys aren’t as fast as other members of the equine family, like horses. It makes sense that their ears are more sensitive, so they can hear predators approach in the wild. This excellent hearing also means that donkeys are great “watchdogs” in the barnyard. Often if they hear a predator, they will bray loudly and let the other animals know – or perhaps scare the bad guys away.

Additionally, donkeys’ large ears allow them to vent heat from their heads. Native to areas in northern African, donkeys were first domesticated around 3000 B.C.  in Egypt. Their large ears help heat escape – which is useful for the regions they came from, where it can be quite warm and arid.

Come meet Jack – he is waiting to hear you whisper sweet nothings his way and there are tours this Saturday, May 30th!

 Rissa Miller is the head tour guide at Burleigh Manor and leads both private and public tours at the farm.  She welcomes your questions at any time and all the posts in her column are actual questions asked by guests during tours. Join us and try to stump Rissa!

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