NEWS - August 2015
July has been a busy month at the Sanctuary. Our hay was cut early one hot, sunny day, then 24 hours later the sky darkened and it began to rain. Cut hay that has been rained on too much does not make good hay. Not much to do apart from keep looking up into the sky and utter dark curses, but eventually the rain did stop and over 100 big round bales of our winter supply is now safely in the barn.
The sheep have all been in for their MOT. Teeth inspected, feet trimmed, jackets off and all sorted into groups by age and condition. The pigs have had their wallows refreshed, most of the horses have been put on diets while the three cattle are growing fatter by the day. The geese, chickens and ducks just get on with their lives, nothing ever seems to disturb them apart from having the odd scrap and squabble between themselves.
Bubble the lamb
Bubble the lamb, who broke her leg twice last year now seems to be mended. She's been put out into one of the small paddocks with a few of the pensioners wearing her special support splint. So far, touch wood, her leg has held up, she's grazing comfortably and has a little bounce around when it's feed time without anything disastrous happening.
Marigold the Sheep
Marigold came to us several years ago with another lamb named Clover. They were brought to us from someone who had rescued them from a farm shortly before they were due to go to slaughter. They weren't with us long before we agreed to let them go to to another home as companions to horses and in their spare time act as lawn mowers, on condition that if they were no longer able to keep them they would come back to us. When they first came to us they had wooly coats and as it hadn't been necessary to turn them over to do their feet or otherwise inspect them I thought the names Marigold and Clover indicated they were girls. Their new keepers found out they were boys so they've spent all these years having to live with their pretty but inappropriate names. Due to a change of circumstances their foster parents had to re locate. Clover had had to be put down earlier due to arthritis, painkillers eventually weren't able to alleviate the discomfort so the correct decision was made to let him have a pain and stress free end in the place that he'd known as home for most of his life. Marigold was reluctantly brought back to us to spend the rest of his days in the company of other older sheep. It was a very sad time, when Marigold arrived he looked slightly bewildered and puzzled. His foster parents did their best to hold it in but after he'd eaten his last biscuit the tears began to flow. He's settled in now, he's made friends, he still looks for his biscuits and lets everyone know if he hasn't had them. A lovely boy.
Sparkle the Horse
Sparkle came to us at the end of July. She is a little 18 year old half thoroughbred mare whose owner Robert had to make the sad decision to try to find her a safe home. Previous owners were unable to keep her and she was going to be sold on the open market. Robert, feeling sorry for her, took on the responsibility of looking after her. He became ill and it became more of a struggle to give her the full attention that she needed. As we'd recently found a super loan home for Flora, our young rescued Appaloosa mare, we had a space and were happy to be able to help. Sparkle is a sweet little mare, she settled in very quickly and she's taken over Ebony's job of looking after Arnie, a rescue horse we bought several years ago who is gradually losing his sight.
Four new hens
Four little pet hens came with a super posh house that had an automatic timer on the pop hole door, what a luxury! We've always had to go out early in the mornings to let our hens out and go out as late as necessary to shut them in again, but as some of ours are little stop outs I think automatic pop hole doors would result in some of them being locked out on a regular basis and eaten by our local fox. Again, owners had to re locate and weren't able to take the hens with them and we were in a position to help.
Nine new lambs
Next to come were nine very much loved pet sheep. One of them, a little white ewe, was on the way to being dragged upside down and backwards into a lorry to go to slaughter when she was rescued. We don't have the histories of the others at the moment. Again the owners relocation meant that the sheep couldn't stay with them which was causing a lot of distress. We were approached and said we were able to take them, for life if needed. They are, very obviously, very much loved. They are calm, they are friendly, they are trusting and one of them, Joe, will come to you and put his face up for a kiss. How badly the world treats these intelligent, peaceful sensitive animals will never be acknowledged and probably will never be changed.
Lastly, we have in the last few days collected thirty ex barn hens from the Battery Hen Welfare Trust. Barn hens have a better life than Battery kept hens, but still some of them had a lot of feather loss and all had almost white combs and facial skin. They have gone to join the last of our elderly ex battery hens in the big poultry shed in the fenced paddock. When they were first let out they stood in the doorway and stared out into space, they soon learnt that if they wanted too, they could actually stay out ALL DAY!!!!!. When I first scattered the chopped lettuce and sweetcorn they ran off, now they all try to fly into the feed buckets. They have got their colour back and from the moment they see you they sing. PLEASE DO NOT EVER BUY EGGS THAT HAVE COME FROM BATTERY HENS - CHEAPER IS NEVER BETTER!!!!!
And now, thanks to the funding we are able to have the roof to the feed room replaced. For years, whenever it has rained, brollies were needed to be held while feeds were being prepared and wellies, if not waders occasionally were a must. Not many people go to work to be rained on when they're inside a building, everyone here has just got on with it albeit with a few curses thrown in, but no longer will we have to look forward to this, a cause for celebration.
It's hard work, caring for these much neglected animals. We've had a few bricks thrown at us, but when we go out there into the barns and into the fields and we see them contented with the life we're able to give them, we know that the struggle we have sometimes to keep going is all worth it.
Pay Roll Giving
We are constantly in need of donations to help with our running costs. Pay Roll Giving is a good way to set up a monthly donation. If you would please consider this take a look at www.payrollgiving.co.uk. Thank you.