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NEWS - September 2019

hen

We're more than halfway through the year, Christmas decorations and Mince pies are in the shops, Father Christmas is practicing his "Yo ho ho", causing confusion to small children. Outside, the sun is shining, pigs are cooling off on their wallows, turkeys are moulting, staff are red faced and sweating, flowers are coming back into bloom, sheep and horses are stretched out beneath the shade of the trees, and for now all seems to be well with our world.

The weather has been very much in our favour, this year we've had grass almost up to our knees, good for the animals to eat and good for sheep to lie down in to keep cool. Pigs have spent most of the summer splashing around in their wallows, big smiles spreading across their snouts, retiring later to their straw beds to sleep it off, lumbering around like Pygmy hippopotami following a satisfying mud sauna.

Every year we lose a number of our elderly residents, old age catches up with them in one way or another, as it does with us. We know they've had a good life with us, they've been treated with respect and we've always managed to provide them with all their needs, whether it's for feed, veterinary treatments or bit of spoiling, ( a continuous supply of Rich Tea biscuits, paddling pools and dust baths for the Alpacas, fresh fruit and vegetables for the hens and pigs, horses etc). When they go, we miss them, but they've left a space waiting to be filled by another animal in need, which is some small consolation.

In the last few weeks we've been able to give a forever home to four lambs, Yogi, Tiny, Tilly and Dopey, (who isn't! ), four little Soay sheep, a little hen, a tiny bantam chick, and a cockerel.

Tiny Yogi Dopey and Tilly

The four lambs were born on a commercial farm who kept over 1000 breeding ewes. Problems at birth meant they needed extra care in order for them to survive, a carer was found who devoted all the time she had to nursing them through their illnesses, and who by then had become very attached to them, she then found us. The Soays had been kept as pets for a number of years, their elderly owners found they were becoming too difficult to manage, sending them for slaughter wasn't an option.

victoria-hen

Victoria the hen had lost her companion, she was becoming depressed and needed more friends, welcome Victoria, bossy little madam! We have no idea how the tiny bantam chick came to be in the possession of the non English speaking lady who brought him too us, but he's thriving, we've found him two companions, in a few weeks time they should all be strong enough to live outside all the time. At the moment they spend nights in the spare bedroom to the disgust of Mikey the cat, it used to be Mikey’s room.

charles-cockerel

Charles the cockerel was found strutting around on one of the public foot paths which run through the farm, he didn't find his own way there, he'd obviously fallen out of favour with someone who had decided they'd donate him to us, at least they hadn't put him in the pot! We also found temporary accommodation for two young Jersey heifers who were found running loose on a busy lane late one evening. They were supposed to be with us for two weeks while fencing was repaired, almost four months later they're still with us with no sign from the owner that she's in a position to have them back.

If, as the owner has suggested previously she decides to send them into market, where they'll be sold for breeding, (male jersey calves are shot shortly after birth) we will feel duty bound to raise funds to buy them. We know them, they know us, they're very friendly and Shoveller is besotted with them, just the thought of them being transported in a lorry to a loud, busy, market full of dealers and other people to whom welfare is a dirty word, would not rest easily with us, we'll keep everyone posted.

sheepover1

And finally, the launch of our first Sheepover!! People were invited to pay to spend time sleeping under the stars, (well, under canvas) in a field with sheep? Why would anyone want to do that? 40 obviously crazy people decided that had always been their dream. The sheep loved it, all these mad people turning up with bags full of goodies to be gone through (they found food, toiletries, spare clothes, socks), the field soon resembled a bit of a landfill while people frantically tried to wrench their belongings from a determined sheep. Zero the puppy was even more excited than normal, she found one sock that was so irresistible she ran off at full speed in the direction of the barns with it dangling from her chops. It was never seen again, the sock, not the puppy.

sheepover2

The only casualty, apart for the owner of one sock, was our Larry the sheep. Larry was about to take a bite from an apple offered too him when the owners dog decided it was his apple. Larry finished up with a bloody nose and a sad face, he spent the rest of the day being comforted by nose wipes and a wide variety of vegan treats and fruits. He soon mended, peace was restored.

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