The Schloss Hof estate farm has so much to offer in sheer animal fun: a special attraction – the 240 or so faunal inhabitants and the petting zoo. Whether ancient Austrian domestic breeds such as the Jezersko-Solčava sheep and rock partridges, or the white donkey typical of the Baroque era and the exotic Bactrian camel, they mainly represent breeds that have now become rare. The appealing quadrupeds feel on top of the animal world here and delight their public all the more because of their regular production of babies.
Pygmy Goat Kid
Giant Brahma Chickens
Some of the animal residents in detail:
The extremely rare Austrian-Hungarian white Baroque donkey is one of the faunal highlights at Schoss Hof. Only a few hundred of the “light-bringers” still exist in the whole of Europe. Apart from the colour of their coat – called “cremello”, or cream, since it is not pure white – the donkeys are also characterised by their blue eyes and good-natured temperament.
Bactrian Camel (two-hump camel)
Prince Eugene and his soldiers were familiar with camels from their combats against the Ottomans. They are working animals and extremely robust and adaptable. They can cope with outside temperature fluctuations of up to 80°C and manage on very little water – essential in their habitat. Their humps do not contain water but fat, which is an energy-saver.
Lipizzans, or Lipizzaner, owe their name to the stud in Lipica, Slovenia, founded in 1590. The breed is closely associated with the House of Habsburg. The noble horses are born black and become white between the ages of four and ten years; they very rarely remain brown or black. Lipizzans are world-famous because of their performances in the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. At Schloss Hof they work as coach horses and for riding.
The name of these rare heavy horses derives from the Roman province of Noricum, which covered a part of the Austrian Alpine regions where these horses originated. In the Middle Ages they transported goods from Italian ports across the Alps. Noriker horses can have various coat colours and work at Schloss Hof as coach horses.
(Mini-) Shetland Pony
Their name derives from the Scottish Shetland Islands, their original home. In proportion to their size they are among the strongest horses in the world. The cute ponies of Schloss Hof work pulling coaches and perform circus tricks. And pony riding is particularly popular. The miniature Shetland is a product of selective breeding of the Shetland pony and grows to a maximum of about 8 ½ hands, or 34 inches.
Fourhorn goats are extremely rare and are a special attraction, just as they were in the Baroque era. In Austria there are around 70-100 examples of this species. They are remarkable for the unique feature of four evenly spaced horns. Once upon a time Prince Eugene was also the proud possessor of such animals.
The Racka is an ancient and protected breed of sheep. The robust horn-bearing animals have particularly thick black or white wool. They are striking for the V-shaped, corkscrew-spiral horns. Racka sheep are the typical breed encountered in the Hungarian flatlands. Their wool is used to make the traditional shepherd’s cloak, the shuba.
This extremely rare bird originated in India and has been bred in Europe since the eighteenth century. The white peacock, also called the Wedding Peacock, was originally reserved for the upper classes and is a mutation of the blue peacock. When the peacock opens its plumage for the guests of the estate farm the whole glory of this noble bird becomes manifest.