Lots of people love animals, and few get the opportunity to keep more than a couple as pets, but when you live on a farm the possibilities are endless.
When Nona and Phil Krier retired from farming in 1986, they rented the acreage to their son-in-law, gave the farmhouse to their son and daughter-in-law, and moved into a double-wide next door. Then Nona began to pursue her hobby of raising exotic animals in earnest.
"I get the Countryside magazine and every time I saw something I'd say, 'We need that!'" Nona Krier said, "Phil just goes along."
Nona Krier gets a little love from Elroy, a miniature donkey and one of Nona and Phil Krier’s large collection of exotic animals they keep outside of Arco.
Phil Krier actually does more than just go along.
"The animals are fun," Phil Krier said. "Had 'em all my life."
In 1999 Nona Krier started with pygmy and Nubian goats, a pony, and started collecting ducks, chickens and more exotic breeds of birds and animals.
"We had emus, then we ate them," Nona Krier said. "They're delicious, taste just like beef."
Today the collection includes peacocks, Guinea fowl, llamas, angora goats, sheep, a Vietnamese potbellied pig and various breeds of domestic rabbits. Among Nona Krier's favorites are two miniature donkeys, Elroy and Daisy, and a trio of Saanen mild goats, Yogurt, Yum-Yum and Pixie.
Nona Krier feeds them corn, oats, and alfalfa hay in the spring.
"Now they're on grass hay," Nona Krier said. "When corn goes up it gets pretty spendy."
The Kriers get some return on the animals from selling and lambs, and when the hens start to lay. Nona Krier has the sheep sheared and sends the wool to Groton, S.D., to be processed for her spinning and crocheting hobby. But mostly she just enjoys the animals' company and the pleasure it gives their 20 grandchildren to play with them.
"We love the challenge," Nona Krier said. "What do people who don't have chores to do, do in the evening?"