Thursday, November 24, 2016

Unity Farm Journal - Fourth Week of November 2016

Happy Thanksgiving from Unity Farm!

A new pig has joined the herd - Lunchbox.  He’s 3 years old and has a remarkable personality.    He loves humans and is very good with children.   We’re gradually introducing him to Hazel and Tofu  through a livestock fence.   In a week or so, we’ll bring them together snout to snout once they have had the opportunity to learn each other’s smells and temperament.    Creating harmony in a pig herd is an art form and there’s a great deal of literature about it.   We’re seeing the expected behaviors - grunting/chewing, side stepping, and a bit of mouth foaming.

Here’s a photo of the pigs enjoying an organic Unity Farm pumpkin together on either side of a fence.

We’ve continuing to prepare the land between the Farm and the Sanctuary with new trails and roads.   We’ve chipped all our old mushroom logs to create a base for new trails.   The Sanctuary Road and Coyote Run are finished.   We’ll work on the Pond Trail and Pine Loop once we take ownership of the Sanctuary property in December.

Kathy’s vision is to create large paddocks in the forest between the two properties over the next few years so that we’ll eventually have a much larger animal rescue capacity.

All of this takes careful consideration of how all the creatures will interact in a community, ensuring we have the time and resources to offer each an enriching life.

For the moment, we’re planning to add two donkeys, two ponies, and a horse.  Although Kathy and I had significant horse experience as teens, that was 40 years ago.   We’re comfortable around all barnyard animals, but we're not experts in equine care.

 Choosing which animals to take on requires that we stay focused on our goals.  Here’s what Kathy wrote to the adoption specialist who we’re working with at the MSPCA Nevins Farm:

“The mission of the Sanctuary is focused on rescue and education. Three experienced program advisors to our project will make sure we do not take on more than we can handle with respect to health, fitness, and behavior of the various animals.

I have two good friends who are experienced current horse riders who will volunteer at our sanctuary.  My personal focus is not riding-readiness.  Temperament is important because we want leading and grooming to be educational options.”

We continue to study all the possibilities and likely we’ll soon take on two Welsh Ponies who will retire to the Sanctuary and be companions to each other.

This weekend we'll visit a rescue horse in Southern Massachusetts.   We're learning a lot about thoroughbreds, quarter horses, standard breds, arabians and Morgans as we expand our scope to include a more diverse array of inhabitants at Unity Farm.

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