Thursday, January 12, 2017

Building Unity Farm Sanctuary - Second Week of January 2017

After the subzero temperatures and snow of last week, we’re now having spring-like weather  with temps in the 40’s.

The blankets have come off most of the horses (Pippin is still thin and needs a blanket).  Here’s what they look like enjoying the sunshine.

The chickens are also basking in the sun as are the guineas.

The ducks seem impervious to weather and no amount of rain, sleet, ice, snow  or sun seems to bother them.

Of course the Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs prefer the snow since their cold weather coats are like down jackets.   Winter is their favorite time of year and they love running through deep snow banks together while snacking on ice along the way.

The wild turkeys are actively looking for food now that they can dig for worms and grubs in the thawing soil.

On the Sanctuary side we’re still awaiting the perfect conditions for tree work - deep snow and mud are both bad.   We need a few dry, cold, snow free days to begin clearing the areas for new paddocks.

The warm weather does mean that do a bit more outdoor repair work on the sanctuary building, replacing rotting wood, clearing gutters, and enhancing the animal housing areas.

We have received so many requests for taking on new animals that we’re brainstorming about the ideal final configuration of run ins, out buildings, and stalls, while also thinking about how to get from the current state to the future state.  In the short term, we’ll likely revise some of the areas we’ve already developed to accommodate larger numbers and a greater diversity of creatures.   Pigs are especially challenging to take on because they require so much socialization to form a stable peaceful community.   If you just put pigs together in a single pen, they will actively hurt each other.

I applaud Jon Stewart’s approach to rescue and public education

His application notes “An estimated 20 farmhands will work on the property, tending to the four to six cows, two to four pigs, six to 10 sheep, six to 10 goats, two to four horses and up to 50 chickens that would live there — all rescued farm animals.”

Today at Unity Farm and Unity Farm Sanctuary we have 13 alpaca, 1 llama, 3 pigs (and a 4th coming soon), 3 goats, 3 horses (and a 4th coming soon), 50 chickens, 50 guinea fowl, 8 ducks, 7 geese, 2 great pyrenees and a million bees.    Since everything is done by Kathy and me with help from one farmhand and one part time intern, clearly we need to work on growing our farmhand population!

We’ll continue our efforts this weekend to strategize about the animals we can take on directly and those we’ll help place elsewhere.   Party of running a sanctuary is being a facilitator, connecting needy animals with resources of all types.   We want to ensure the animals have the right caring home and that means that we have to recognize our own time and financial limitations, ensuring every animal we take on has a forever home with appropriate attention, medical care, and companionship.

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