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NEWS - December 2018 / January 2019

December, not the best of months in the farming Calendar, but at least it means you've survived another year and and have the Spring to look forwards too. Dark mornings and dark afternoons require a fair bit of dashing around to get everyone fed and into bed without having to wear a torch on your head.

naughty-lambs

Half of the sheep were already in the barns in December, well into an established routine.

  1. Listen for the rattle of buckets in the feed room.
  2. open eyes,
  3. have a long yawn,
  4. get up,
  5. have a leisurely stretch,
  6. have a good shake and 7, wait for the poor soul whose turn it was to come in with the buckets.

This is when all hell is let loose as 60 plus sheep all try to get into the first bucket before it reaches the trough, it's like being battered by woolly cannon balls, which is why I no longer do it.

It's a good time to look back at the year, to see how the lambs have grown, how much more mess the pigs have made, how many fence posts they've managed to uproot, how many more mud dreadlocks Colin the pig can fashion into his bristles, how the Jersey calves have defied all odds and have not only grown, but are as round and and shaggy as, dare I say it, beef calves.

Jersey calves are not supposed to grow like this, which is why so many of them are shot shortly after birth, it's not "cost effective" to grow them on in the commercial world. Ours obviously haven't been given that information.

billy

Billy the abandoned, skinny Gypsy foal is now a very shiny black, very healthy, very hairy legged young man. Approaching his third birthday it will soon be time for Billy to begin his education and learn not to follow on dog walkers' heels like a very large Newfoundland dog hoping for a treat. Scruffy, Alan, Womble, Dumbo, Paige and the other 40 plus lambs who were born here to our rescued ewes have all grown upwards and outwards, bodily anyway.

In their heads they're still three weeks old, they still gambol around in small heaps, play at trampolining on top of the hay, head butt anything that happens to get in the way, a gate, a wheelbarrow, a dog, a person, it's all fair game.

octavia

Little Octavia the sheep. The same little sheep who visited a Skoda showroom on the outskirts of Worcester early one morning, we think in the hope that she was asking for someone to find her a good home. She found us, she brought with her a skinny little body, a host of lice in her ragged fleece, tired, sad eyes. Her face lit up when she saw she had her own comfortable bed, her own food bowl, a little coat to keep her warm and something to stop her itching.

matilda

For most of us, Christmas Day kind of came and went, just another day at the office. For our turkeys, Nigella and Delia, Matilda and Joy, extra sweet corn for breakfast, they wer the turkeys who could actually look forwards to Christmas, if they knew what Christmas was, and for all our other animals, Christmas didn't matter, it was just another happy, relaxed day at the sanctuary.

joy

Thanks to everyone for the cards, the gifts, the good wishes, the wonderful donations, it's all down to you and the hard working staff that enables all of these animals to have just what they deserve, a cruelty free, contented, long and happy life. Happy, belated, New Year everyone.

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