One day at the Station Square city park, Amy, Tiff and Buto were looking at a textbook about farm animals. Inside the pages of the book were pictures of cows, deer, goats, horses, pigs, sheep, chickens, geese, ducks, and more.
"See, guys, this is a duck. This creature can often be seen swimming in ponds like the one behind Amy's house, and they like to eat crumbs of bread."
Each time Tiff flipped to a page of each animal, she explained facts about them to Amy and Buto.
"And this animal is called a pig. Most people informally call them hogs or swines. Their tails are small and they have snouts for a nose."
"I'll bet Sonic eats like a pig," Amy said. "He ate up his entire breakfast right before I was halfway done with my own breakfast."
Tiff turned to another page of the book. "This is a cow. Cows like to eat cud every day, and their udders can produce milk and other milk products."
"Just looking at all these farm animals make me feel like wanting to go to a real farm myself," Buto said. "Amy, do you know of any farms we can go to?"
"Of course I do," Amy replied. "In fact, the Station Square Farm has added some more new animals just yesterday. It's also the only farm we've got in this part of the world, and one of the most popular places people ever go to."
"Can we go there right now, Amy? Can we, can we?" Buto was excited, he just couldn't wait to go to the farm.
"I don't see why not, Buto. I'll invite some of my other friends over to come with us."
Amy invited Tails, Cream, Cosmo, and even her boyfriend, Sonic, to come over with her, Tiff and Buto on their trip to the Station Square Farm.
"Why are we going to the farm, Amy?" Sonic asked.
"Because I want to learn more about farm animals, and what life is like to them."
"Wow, a farm! Are we gonna see some animals up close?" Cream asked.
"We sure are," Amy replied. "But we gotta make sure we don't get too close to them, or else we could be disturbing their habitats."
"I've never been to a real farm before," Tails said.
"But I have," said Cosmo.
"You have?" Tiff asked. "When did your family last visit the farm?"
"It was at a completely different place far away from Station Square. There weren't as many animals as the farm we're going to now, and not many people came to that farm."
"Then you're in for a surprise," Amy told her. "We're going to the biggest farm anyone can ever imagine! It's so popular that virtually everyone will want to come there."
The friends took a 3 mile long journey out of the main city area of Station Square. They could see the old but constantly reconstructed Station Square Farm up ahead with the barn and the tractors and the grassless fields, as if it were a brand new farm.
"So that must be the Station Square Farm," Buto said.
"You bet it is," Amy told him.
Also in front of the friends was a LARGE group of people about to tour around the farm. There were no farmers or ranchers ready yet, though. "Why is there such a lot of people in line?" asked Cosmo.
"I just told you earlier, Cosmo," Amy replied. "The farm is one of the most popular places ever visited up to date."
The friends stood in line behind the group. The people have been waiting for about half an hour in line so far, anxious to see all the animals in the farm. The friends waited an additional 10 minutes with them after they got in line.
Then, finally, an old farmer arrived towards the wooden gate that always blocks the entrance to the farm. "Everyone, please, settle down! I know, I know, you all are excited about entering the farm for the first time today. I want to remind you all, though, the animals are all pretty shy out there."
"What's he saying, Amy?" Cream asked.
"Shh! He's giving out rules to everyone before our visit to the farm," Amy said.
"You may also pet the animals only when you're allowed to, and make sure to never climb any of the fences built in this farm. Remember, I will be your tour guide and I will always be here to supervise every one of you in case something wrong happens. My name is Farmer Maroon. Okay, everybody, now that you've understood the rules and you're ready, then welcome to the Station Square Farm!"
Farmer Maroon opened the gates, allowing all the people to come inside. The whole crowd followed him onto the walkway in the farm.
"Where's the barn?" asked a man in the crowd.
"The barn is in the very middle of this farm," replied the farmer. "It will be open for exhibition in 30 minutes and will close 30 minutes before the entire farm closes."
"Where should we go first?" asked Tails.
"Let's go check out the barn," Buto suggested.
"Uh, Buto, did you hear what Farmer Maroon said?" asked Tiff.
"The barn doesn't open until 30 minutes from now. We'll have to wait until it's open before we can check out what's in there."
"Oh, yeah, I forgot. Hey, why don't we go check out the horses first? They're right over there."
"Good idea, Buto," Sonic said.
The friends started their journey inside the farm by going down the path past where the horses live. Along the way, there were signs describing facts about the horses, like what they do, what they eat, and everything else. Braying sounds came from the horses.
"What are horses, Tiff?" Cosmo asked.
"Well, a horse is an animal some people, especially cowboys, like to ride in. But before doing so, they equip them with something called saddles."
"What's a saddle?" asked Tails.
"A saddle is something you need to make yourself comfortable while riding a horse. It's like a car seat, only you're sitting on a rideable animal."
"I also hear that there are many kinds of horses," Amy said.
"What kinds, Amy?" Buto asked.
"For example, a baby horse is called a foal. A foal can stand and run after they are born. There's also a pony, which is part of the horse family. A pony is a term for a small breed that some people -- mostly the kids -- use informally for young horses."
"What do horses eat?" Cream asked.
"Well, since horse teeth are not sharp at all, horses are considered herbivores because they only eat food that grows from stuff. They normally eat vegetables like carrots and turnips."
Next, the friends saw a field of cows. They could hear the sound of moo-moo from most of the cows.
"What are those, Amy?" asked Sonic.
"Those are cows," Amy replied. "They're the reason why we get milk products, including cheese and yogurt and things like that. And a baby cow is called a calf."
"A calf?" Cream said.
"That's right, a calf. Their mother always feed them milk until they're all grown up. And a group of cows is called a cattle. Cows are always females, so we call male cattle a bull. Bulls, however, are far more dangerous than cows."
"What's so dangerous about them?" asked Tails.
"Bulls are territorial animals and can attack anyone whenever they get disrupted while being breeded. They often do this to show how domestic they are, so you better watch your step!"
"Amy's right," Tiff added. "Bulls can be dangerous if you're not careful, but cows are a lot safer than bulls are. They can only produce milk if they have at least one calf. Cows usually like to chew grass, up to eight hours a day."
"I hope they don't eat me," Cosmo said. "The way I see it now, cows are almost exactly like bulls!"
"Don't worry, Cosmo," said Amy. "Cows would never eat Seedrian girls like you, since they'd only eat food that is partly digested, or simply just cud."
Along the next route, the friends saw a chicken coop. They could hear clucking sounds coming from the small house.
"Are those chickens?" asked Tails.
"Indeed they are," Tiff told him. "There are two main types of chickens -- rooster and hen. A rooster is a male chicken that makes a crowing noise to awaken people, while the hen, or the female chicken, lays the eggs."
"Where do chickens come from?" Cream asked.
"They come from eggs, that's where," Amy replied. "The mother hen lays the eggs and sits on them to keep them warm. Then, after 3 weeks, the egg hatches, and out come the baby chicks."
"What do chickens eat?" Sonic asked.
"All chickens are considered omnivores. Their favorite food is grains, and because chickens are a type of bird, they also eat insects, which is the only kind of meat they eat."
After this was the field of sheep. They made baa-baa sounds. The sheep came in both white and black colors.
"That must be the sheep," Buto said.
"That's right, Buto," Tiff said. "And another term for a young sheep is called a lamb. Remember the nursery rhyme 'Mary Had a Little Lamb', where that lamb followed the little girl everywhere she went?"
"I know that rhyme," Cream said. "I've heard about it since I was just a very little girl rabbit. The lamb Mary had had its fleece white as snow!"
"You're pretty smart for being the youngest out of all of us, Cream," Amy told her. "By the way, fleece is another word for wool, which is a coat that all sheep and goats have."
"Hey, Amy, do goats make baa-baa sounds like sheep do?" asked Tails.
"Almost, but not exactly. You see, a goat is closely related to the sheep, but unlike them, most goats don't wear wool coats. Angora goats are the only type of goats I've ever heard of that wear wool, which is removed from their bodies every two years."
"Does Farmer Maroon have goats in his farm?" asked Sonic.
"Of course he does," Tiff replied. "In fact, they're right up ahead over there." She pointed further into the route. There, they saw the two-horned animals making slightly different baa-baa sounds compared to sheep.
"Wow!" said all the friends except Tiff and Amy.
"What do goats chew on?" Buto asked.
"I've heard of a girl who owned a goat that would chew on everything," Tiff said. "He likes to eat cake, and what's even weirder is that this goat even chewed off the steering wheel of a car!"
"A CAR?" Buto said surprisingly.
"That's right, a car. But not to worry, that goat was just a made up character. Real goats normally eat grass, like cows do."
"Ooh, just the thought of an animal eating grass gives me the nerves," Cosmo said.
"It's all right, Cosmo," Amy comforted her. "Seedrian girls are not food for any animal around Station Square, even for the farm animals that Farmer Maroon has."
The next field was full of turkeys. These birds made gobbling sounds. They were much larger than the chickens, and their beaks looked a lot different as well. Cream held on tight to Amy when she heard the gobbling sound from the turkeys.
"Is something wrong, Cream?" asked Amy.
"I'm... quite uncomfortable about turkeys," Cream said.
"There's no shame to be, Cream. Turkeys can be very loud birds. Their neck skins are like a bad case of warts, and they also have loose skins that hang below their beaks, called wattles."
"People often run away from wild turkeys," Tiff added. "Many people actually fear turkeys because of their behavior. The male turkeys display for the females by spreading out their tails and dragging their huge wings, which is called strutting."
"Even I don't like getting near turkeys," Sonic said.
"Not me, either," Buto added. "I remember when I saw another child get pecked by a wild turkey when my old relatives took me to a country farm one time."
The next stop was the pond of ducks and geese. The ducks made a quacking sound, while the geese made much louder honking sounds.
"Look at those birds," said Tails. "They look like they're having a great time in the water."
"That's because they're ducks and geese," Amy said.
"What's different about them?" asked Cream.
"A duck makes a quack-quack sound, but a goose makes a louder honk-honk sound. In addition, geese are agressive birds, while ducks aren't."
The friends also heard peeping sounds coming from the baby ducks. "And just look at those cute little ducks," said Buto. "What are they called?"
"They're called ducklings," Tiff told him. "They hatch in the same manner chickens' chicks do. Their eggs get placed in a goose's nest, and after they hatch, they always follow their mother wherever they go."
"That reminds me of another nursery rhyme," Cream said.
"And what nursery rhyme would that be, Cream?" Amy asked.
"Five Little Ducks. They would always go out every day over the hills and far away, and every time their mother says quack-quack-quack, all her babies except one always come back."
"So what happens after there's only one little duck left?" Tails asked.
"Well, no little ducks come back, and the mother duck is now all alone. She tries to look for her lost babies, then is surprised to see that all five of them have finally come back."
"Mother Duck sure was glad that her babies came back, wasn't she?" asked Cosmo.
"She sure was. She thought she would never see them again."
Soon enough, the barn was ready to open. Amy, Tiff, Cosmo, Tails, Sonic, Buto and Cream were the first ones to see what was inside. When they got inside, they saw one of the messiest and smelliest animals of the whole farm -- pigs. The friends held their noses. Oinking sounds came from the animals.
"PU, what smells over there?" asked Tails.
"This is where the pigs live," Tiff told him. "They're probably the smelliest animals Farmer Maroon has ever raised."
"What do pigs do in their lifetime?" asked Cream.
"Well, the reason why they smell so badly is because pigs like to roll in the mud to keep cool. They're also considered one of the fattest animals because they take really huge bites when eating their food, much bigger than we do."
"What do pigs eat?" Buto asked.
"Pigs are omnivores," Amy said to her boyfriend. "They like to eat fruits, roots, vegetables, and other animals liek earthworms, dead snakes and rodents."
"I'm lucky I'm not a real pig," Sonic said. "I want to get out of this stinky barn so I can breathe again!"
"So do I," Tails added.
"Me too," said Buto.
"Then let's get out of here so we can let other people see the pigs too," Tiff told everyone. They all got out of the barn and let go of their noses. They let out deep sighs.
"That's much better," Amy said. "I never want to go back into that barn again, until after Farmer Maroon cleans it up!"
Far ahead, the friends could see a tractor driver loading up the first people on the back car, which was filled with seats made out of piles of hay. "I want to ride on the tractor, Amy," Cream said.
"Me too," Buto added. "The farm my old relatives took me to had tractors that could only hold one person."
"All right, guys, if you really want to ride on the tractor, then follow me," Amy said to her friends. She led them up the hill to where the tractor was. In front was a long line.
"I guess we'll have to wait for the next ride," Tiff said. "There's only room for up to ten people on the back of that tractor."
The friends waited for 15 minutes. Then, finally, it was their turn to ride the tractor. They loaded themselves onto the back seats along with three other people.
After they all got on, the tractor riding door closed, and the driver turned on the tractor's engine. Then the tractor began to move. "Here we go!" Tails said.
The tractor's wheels rolled onto the farm walkways. Everyone in the tractor, including the friends, could see the same animals they saw while they were walking. It was a 10-minute ride.
People moved out of the way whenever the tractor was approaching towards them or behind them. Along the way, the tractor driver also fed some of the animals.
When the ride ended, all the people hopped off the tractor, one by one. "That was fun," Cream said. "I want to ride on the tractor again someday."
Then down below ahead, the friends saw a small house where animals that were declared to be unable to live much longer were being executed. "What's that little house over there?" asked Cosmo.
"I don't know, Cosmo," Tiff told her. "But it looks like something terrible's happening to those animals down there. Let's go check it out."
The friends ran down the hill to see the small house. In front of it was a sign labeled 'SLAUGHTERHOUSE'. "What's a slaughterhouse?" Tails asked.
"I'll bet this is the place where the lives of old animals that Farmer Maroon declare as 'unable to live much longer' come to an end instantly," Amy told him. "Then they become meat products for people to eat."
"Like what animals?" Buto asked.
"Well, the pigs become ham, pork, sausages and bacon, the sheep turn into mutton, the cows become beef and hamburgers, and the chicken become... chicken."
"How many animals get slaughtered each day?" asked Sonic.
"I think about a hundred," Tiff told him.
"Well, I'm not even gonna take a bite out of those poor animals," Cosmo said.
"Why not, Cosmo?" Cream asked.
"Because I'm a vegetarian, and I say it's against the law for Seedrian girls like me to eat meat."
"Well, you don't have to worry because we're not gonna ever force you to eat meat products, even when we go to McDanny's for lunch," Amy said to Cosmo.
"McDanny's is Station Square's most famous fast food chain. Sonic always loves to eat out there, whenever he chooses to have lunch all by himself. I only let him eat there when I choose to go there on occasions."
"Do they have any vegetarian food?"
"I'm not sure, but they do sell some great salads, only they're all full of chicken strips. But don't worry, maybe they'll also sell some meatless value meals someday, if they choose to do that."
The friends spent their time in the farm until around lunchtime. At 12:30 p.m., everyone was seated in small tables getting ready for lunch. Farmer Maroon was giving out free hamburger meals. Everyone was excited -- except for Cosmo. She raised her hand.
"Yes, young lady?" asked Farmer Maroon.
"Excuse me, sir, do you have any foods without meat I can eat? I'm a vegetarian and I don't like meat."
"Well, we do serve fresh apples and carrots for those who are meat-intolerent. If you want some, go ahead and help yourself."
"Thank you, sir," Cosmo replied. She went over to the boxes filled with apples and carrots and took some for her own, then went back to the table she was sitting in. Then everyone chowed down on their lunches.
Later, on the way back home, the friends walked back to the main city area of Station Square. "I had a great time at the farm," Buto said. "I want to come back again someday, except for that old barn full of pigs!"
"What's so wrong about the pigs?" asked Sonic. "The pigs are the best!"
"I know, but they're also the messiest and muddiest animals I've ever seen. I mean, just the thought of rolling in mud -- it disgusts me a lot!"
"I see what you're saying, Buto," Tiff said. "Pigs can be very dirty."
"And let's not forget about that slaughterhouse," Cosmo added. "I never want to get near that place again. Just the thought of even seeing an animal turn into meat is a scary thing to me."
"Me neither," Tails said. "For a young boy that loves to eat meat, totally not like my new girlfriend, I would never want to see an animal get killed."
The friends continued talking about how exciting it was to visit the farm and all the animals they saw in there. They couldn't wait to come back again soon!