The property first was owned and operated as a simple farmstead and dairy farm. In the twentieth century, owner Justin Southwick became involved in the hobby of collecting and caring for a variety of wild game birds. Interest in birds was picked up by other family members and the Southwick bird collection took on a growing and diversified life of its own. At the suggestion of a friend, the Soutwick's put out a small box for donations and visitors to the bird collection began to contribute funds that were then used to purchase additions to the original collection. Southwick's Wild Animal Farm opened in 1963 and has continued to grow and improve since then until today it is a fixture in the area.