Where The Animals Go

Jun 4 2013

by Melissa Lee


The Farm at Oatland North is a retirement community of sorts. But it’s not for guests of the human species. This is a place for animals who have been rescued to live out their lives in an utterly beautiful natural setting. They are cared for, loved and assured that here is where they will stay for the rest of their days.

road to Oatland

I met Natalie Murrah at the Farm to tour the area and learn about this wonderful place. The country road that leads back to the property is a winding, one lane drive, canopied by oak trees. As I drove further back off the main highway I first saw two horses wandering on the grounds, comfortable and happy to be basking in the morning sun. One of them took a dirt bath, rolling over and over in the dirt near the stables. Horse heaven!

Jack Pot and Starfire
Jack Pot and Starfire

There are seventeen horses in retirement on the farm at this time. One of them, Jack Pot, was actually born on the farm. His mother, Starfire, was rescued and brought to the Murrah’s. Both horses are thriving and enjoying their life.


This is Frazier. He’s a thoroughbred racehorse….what a beauty!


Four goats are in residence. Tunsis was the first goat to join the other animals at the farm and Natalie then bought three baby goats a year ago to keep Tunsis company. I never knew goats could be so sociable. Perry, one of the year old babies, took a liking to me. I’ll be going back to visit him now that we have struck up a friendship!


Two cows, Panda and Amanda live in bovine luxury. Plenty of hay,water and attention keep them happy. Skylar loved getting in the pen with the cows, carefully, and giving them a pet.


Grandpa is a rescue rooster, found behind the famous “Bennie’s Red Barn” restaurant here on St. Simons Island. He literally rules the roost now, overseeing 12 other chickens. What a character!


21 cats and 16 dogs round out the current tenants…..but more animals will be coming for the tender loving care they receive at this special place.

learning library

Plans are underway for a learning library, a learning center and a place for the arts where painters can join together to paint the animals in this natural setting.

farm founders

Barbara Murrah has made The Farm at Oatland North her ongoing project for 10 years. She went back to work as a nurse to fund the farm and keep it in running order. Sadly, Barbara was recently diagnosed with leukemia and is currently undergoing the first in a series of chemotherapy treatments at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Now unable to work, her ability to fund this valuable project has come to a stop. But the farm received non-profit status last November and fund raising events are being planned.


This property dates back to the 1700’s when it was Oatland Plantation where the owner, Dr. Grant, raised cotton and rice. The original buildings no longer stand, but the trees echo tales of a bygone time if you stand quietly and listen. There are stories on the wind and memories one can sense that tell of history, the rich history of St. Simons Island.

The Murrah’s have made this a family business. They all pitch in to clean out the stables, feed and care for the animals and see to the everyday upkeep of the farm. You can read more about the farm here: http://www.thefarmssi.com, or visit their Facebook page, The Farm at Oatland North. There is information on how to make a donation to help support this worthy cause on the site. You can also find out how to volunteer. Extra help is always welcome, but please call ahead to arrange for your visit.

The Farm At Oatland North – 3370 Lawrence Road – St. Simons Island, GA 31522 – 912-580-6774



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