Season’s Feedings Recipes

“Season’s Greetings” takes a twist this week as Chef Yohn, with the help of our awesome ZooFarm Keepers, give some of our animals their daily diet in a unique way: Thanksgiving style!

Monday, the Patagonian cavy family feasted on their very own platter of delicious veggies, greens and a special casserole while Zoo guests watched during our Season’s Feedings events.

Patagonian mara, or cavy, always raise questions from Virginia Zoo guests. What is that thing? Is it a rabbit? A kangaroo or wallaby? Cavy are actually part of the rodent family, and are the fourth largest rodents in the world. They are found in Argentina in the wild, but at the Virginia Zoo they are located in the ZooFarm next to the blue barn.

The Zoo’s cavy family eats a lot! Every day the family gets a combined 425 grams of greens, 811 grams of veggies, 270 grams of fruit, and a special pellet and rodent block, which contain all of their essential vitamins and nutrients.

To meet their daily nutritional requirements, Chef Yohn and his team carefully measured out each cavy’s perfect Thanksgiving feast portion. Did we mention that you can eat what the animals eat? Take a look at the recipe below, and decide if your family would enjoy a cavy feast.

Sweet potato caverole


• 1 whole head of cauliflower

• 1 sweet potato – around 2 lbs. in weight

• 1 carrot

• 1 apple


Step 1: Chop up the sweet potato, carrot and apple into chunks.

Step 2: Combine and steam or boil for 20 minutes or until tender. Set aside.

Step 3: Preheat the oven at 385°.

Step 4: Cut up cauliflower and put it into a food processor.

Step 5: Blend up cauliflower until it is a fine mixture.

Step 6: Scoop 3/4 of the cauliflower mixture into a pan and make a “crust”, leaving enough space in the pan to add the filling. Reserve 1/4 of mixture for later.

Step 7: Bake the crust until brown; about 10 minutes.

Step 8: Meanwhile, mix the steamed potato, apple and carrot in the food processor until completely mixed.

Step 9: Take the crust out of the oven and scoop the veggie mixture over the crust.

Step 10: Bake the casserole for 20-25 minutes at 400°.

Step 11: Once the casserole is cooked and the top is beginning to brown, pull from the oven and allow to completely cool.

Step 12: Divvy casserole up into small servings.

Step 13: Serve the casserole with 1/4 cup of green beans, 1/4 cup of lima beans, and 1/2 cup of cauliflower on 2 leaves of lettuce or other leafy green.

Step 14: It’s Thanksgiving Dinner time!

Tuesday, our zebu and two Dexter cows all got their own diet in good ole’ Thanksgiving fashion. All of our cows eat hay and grain daily, one head of lettuce and around 1200 grams of veggies, such as sweet potato.

When Chef Yohn wants to put on a holiday display of food, he had the perfect idea: a cornucopia! Or better yet, a cowucopia! See what it takes to make this super simple Thanksgiving-themed arrangement of food, and don’t forget to re-watch our animals enjoying their holiday!


INGREDIENTS (per serving):

• 1 whole head of lettuce

• 1 apple

• 1 parsnip

• 1 sweet potato

• 1 carrot


Step 1: Chop the vegetables and fruits in to strips.

Step 2: Place the chopped veggies and fruits in the middle of the head of lettuce.

Step 3: Now you have a cowucopia!

Step 4: Watch Ruthie, Judy and Clover eat their Thanksgiving meals!