Just How Big Is Rita’s Jersey Black Giant?

Rudy the rooster and Trouble the goat keep order at Rita’s Stables. Durell Godfrey

A contest is on to see who can guess the weight of Rudy the rooster, a Jersey Black Giant who is large even for the breed. Rudy lives at Rita’s Stables on West Lake Drive in Montauk, where, on Sunday, he was coaxed outside to have his picture taken.

He is a stunning black rooster whose plumage becomes iridescent when sunlight hits it a certain way. For an entry fee of $3, the contestant who comes closest to guessing Rudy’s weight will win a free pony or trail ride. Picking him up is not allowed.

Rita. Foster, who moved to Montauk in 1962 from Great Neck, where she was put on a horse at the age of 3, now has 10 horses, 3 ponies, and 2 miniature donkeys among other animals on her 18-acre farm. Chickens and other small animals wander free in the barn and out in the fields, which seem too untouched to be as close to the Montauk downtown as they are, and seem to go on forever. Even some of the horses can be seen grazing loose in the fields.

A huge swale marks the middle of the greensward, which at this time of year is dotted with Canada geese. Ms. Foster had an old barn at one end of the property knocked down in 1992 because it was too small for her increasingly large menagerie. She hired Amish builders, who put up a 50-by-100-foot barn the next year.

  Ms. Foster’s riding business had a modest beginning. In the early 1970s she rescued three horses and kept them in her fenced-in Montauk yard until someone complained. In 1976, she bought the property that is now Rita’s Stables from Frank Tuma, and kept on rescuing.

Julio, one of her donkeys, who are Sardinian, is from New Holland, Pa., and has been with her for 31 years. Two angora goats from Vermont that had not been socialized arrived on Friday. Other goats are there as well, along with somewhat albino peacocks that eat tinned cat food, and a large solitary rabbit. East Hampton Star readers may have read about the small, self-assured goat called Trouble, who came from an apartment on 90th Street and Central Park West. Ms. Foster said Trouble loved the man he lived with but had never been outside. He now appears to be in his glory.

Ms. Foster gives away some of the animals she rescues and, on occasion, they are brought back for the summer, like a pig she gave away 11 years ago to the proprietors of Pheasant Run, a farm on Spring Close Highway in East Hampton. She and her assistant, Renny Murphy, an East Hampton High School freshman who has boarded her horse and worked at Rita’s Stables for three years, plan to sell the organic vegetables being grown by Sean Christman, at the end of the driveway, and they are also planning barbecues and dancing, to start on the Fourth of July weekend.

Keep tuned.