What a crazy mid to end of March we had. We were gearing up for Clementine’s amputation surgery, celebrated Lucy and Lucky’s birthday, and then ended the month with a wildfire tearing through our land. Not the way we wanted to end the month, but our animals stayed safe, and we stayed safe, so that part was reassuring.
I’ve included a collection of photos below to close out March. Everything from the animals, to crazy pancakes, to the fire. You’ll also see a photo of Lucky and Lucy on the day they arrived back in 2019. Lucky had a broken leg and his owner didn’t have time for his rehab, so we took him in, and since he had never been away from his sister, and they were bonded, we took her too. They are adorable little goats, full of so much energy and personality. Lucy is the first to run up to us when we enter the pasture, and Lucky can usually be found trying to woo the older ladies without any luck (despite his name).
Some weeks we don’t have anything out of the ordinary happening, and it’s a quiet week. Other weeks, like this past week, things are a bit harder.
First, we had our vet come out to take a look at little Hava because she had some discharge from her one remaining good eye. He determined it was from a cornea scratch that looked like it was healing, so she’ll get eye drops for the next five days to help her along. She had a tiny bit of nasal discharge too, and our vet told us her breed, Barbados Black Belly, are prone to respiratory issues, so we should just keep an eye on her and it may be a lifetime thing off and on.
Since Barbados Black Belly sheep tend to be a more skittish breed, it isn’t easy to catch them, and they can also jump almost vertically, and quite high. Hava is no exception. While I was trying to corral her I blocked the barn stall opening, thinking she’d have no way to run past me. Well, it’s true she didn’t run past me, but rather she tried to jump OVER me. I’m not a tall woman by any means at just 5’3”, but she was able to jump up at me and reached to just below my neck. Impressive skills, little Hava! She’s a tiny thing so it didn’t hurt thankfully, and I quickly moved out of the way so she wouldn’t attempt that again and hurt herself. We’ll just continue working on getting her comfortable with us so we can avoid any jumping sessions down the road.
Next up we had our vet take a look at our goat Hermie, one of our gentle giants. Hermie’ s legs tend to bow inwards in the front at the ankles mostly, so we felt he should get examined. Our vet said Hermie appeared to have something called a Valgus Deformity. He felt there wasn’t much we can do about it, but there are measures we can take in trimming his hoofs to try and offset the curve. Hermie is more inclined to want to roll his ankles in because of the joints, and doing this affects how his hoofs grow too, so we’ll be creating a higher inner hoof wall so the hoofs want to roll in the opposite direction.
Moving on to our chicken flock, it was a not so stellar week there. First, one of our hens got scraped somehow (we think on a rogue branch or fence piece) so we took her to the house, bathed her, cleaned her up, and sprayed her with antiseptic spray. She had no visible deep wounds, so it seemed to be superficial bleeding. She’s 100% better now, save for a little blue coloring from the antiseptic spray.
We also lost one of our hens, Hei Hei, this week. She had been acting a bit lethargic for a day but had no other signs of illness. She was eating and drinking fine and no respiratory issues either. I wanted our vet to see her as well, but she passed suddenly the morning of his visit. I was the one who found her and I’m grateful for that because it’s super upsetting for the kids to stumble upon an animal that’s passed when they aren’t expecting it. They already struggle with the sadness that comes in grieving animals that pass, but is just too much of a shock when it’s unexpected. We hope Hei Hei is resting in piece right now, roaming around in a big field of clover with an all you can eat bug buffet.
If you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, we hope the luck of the Irish is on your side this Wednesday. A few years ago my kids made a brochure with some fun facts and history of the holiday for a homeschooling project, so if you’d like to check that out, click here.
Have a great week everyone!
“May you have…Enough happiness to keep you sweet,
Enough trials to keep you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
Enough hope to keep you happy,
Enough failure to keep you humble,
Enough success to keep you eager,
Enough friends to give you comfort,
Enough faith and courage in yourself to banish sadness,
Enough wealth to meet your needs,
And one thing more…
Enough determination to make each day
A more wonderful day than the one before.” - Irish Blessing
We welcomed two more beautiful souls to the sanctuary this past weekend, a California Red sheep named Fanta (who we nicknamed Fanty) and a Blackbelly Barbados sheep named Havarti (who we renamed Hava).
First their backstory...A few weeks ago Barbara Jamison, the director of Puget Sound Goat Rescue (PSGR), emailed me and asked if we could take in two sheep they saved from an auction. We’ve have adopted quite a few goats from PSGR over the years, so they know us well. Puget Sound Goat Rescue saves so many goats and sheep each year, and they are a wonderful rescue. (Check them out at www.pugetsoundgoatrescue.org)
A couple of months ago they were able to save these two tiny sheep from near death at an auction where they were being sold for meat. Both are under a year old, and had so much life left to live. Sarah Klapstein, a resident of PSGR, baby goat caregiver extraordinaire, and their Social Media Manager, detailed their horrific conditions on their Instagram page:
’‘Fanta was in a pen packed full of sheep & goats and was found one morning with her head pinned between 2 pieces of the metal pen and had been like that for awhile. She was staggering around, dazed and in obvious pain... Harvarti was temporarily blind from an eye infection and was starving, and is going to likely lose one eye despite the fact that we started treatment right away. She was so neglected and her immune system was so run down, the infection took a much harder toll on her.”
Barbara and Sarah felt these sheep wouldn’t have survived long had they not been saved, so they got them out of there ASAP. After taking them in and working hard to get them healthy, it was time to find them a forever home. With their past, and one of them now permanently blind in one eye, they wanted to make sure they went somewhere safe. Barbara contacted us and asked if we would be interested in taking them in, and said she felt our sanctuary was the perfect place for them. We said we’d be happy to give them a loving home!
Fanty and Hava are really beautiful, both of them. They are of course skittish and a little weary of us right now, but we know over time we’ll earn their trust. Check out their adorable pics below.
So that was the biggest happening here this week. In other happenings, we continued to get to know our new goats, Maizy and Ollie, and our new alpacas, Red Rose, Tina, and Summer (who are by far the loudest hummers our of all our alpacas. Like a trio of singers!)
We also moved gentle giant Wesley over to our chill herd. He wasn’t being bullied in his former herd, but he wasn’t really forming any strong bonds either, and seemed to just spend most of his day solo. So we figured we’d try him out in with our smaller goats and laid back sheep, and he seems to be loving it. He now lounges with them all under their favorite tree, and they have all taken quite a liking to him, even though he is about five times their size.
We contacted some concrete companies this week to get quotes on putting cement pads under the fence line feeders. We think it will help cut down the soggy mess they make there, and will also help keep hooves in good shape because it will be a rougher surface to stand on while eating. We have what seems like a zillion other projects in the queue, so I think it may turn out to be a busy Spring. On that note, we may start to look at having volunteers here and there, so if you are local to Bend, and may be interested in volunteering, be sure to drop a line. Our contact info can be found on the menu bar above.
Lastly, we got another submission for our art wall this week - a beautiful alpaca painting by Violet, age 10. If your child (or you) would like to create art inspired by our animals too and send it to us we’d love to see it! Click on the Art option in the menu bar above for more info on how to submit your art.
Have a wonderful week everyone!
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
Soooo, we added five new animals to the sanctuary this week! On pick up day we ran into all kinds of issues, but in the end the animals all made it safely here. They are all just too adorable!
Our comedy of errors day started with a dead car battery the morning we were set to leave to start the pick-ups. it was a nine hour trip total, so there was a long day ahead and us and we wanted to get on the road as early as possible. After unsuccessfully charging the battery for about 45 minutes it finally started, but we were now setting off later than planned. Not a great start.
About 20 minutes into the drive our youngest son got car sick and threw up all over himself. Thinking it was just an isolated incident we continued on because he said he felt fine, and now two families were waiting for us to pick up their animals and we had already delayed our pick ups previous weekends due to weather.
We made it to our first destination, Grants Pass, later than we wanted but happy we got there with no more car sickness for the four hour drive. Sure enough after leaving Grants Pass to head to our next pick up the car sickness kicked back in, and continued off and on for the rest of the drive. Yikes! In between his bouts of throwing up he felt just fine, so that was a good thing I suppose. The second pick up was thankfully already on the drive back, but still 3+ hours from home. If I could’ve turned around and gotten home in a shorter amount of time I would’ve done that because it was I hated seeing him sick, and at this point everyone just wanted out of the car.
We did the second pick up quickly, made it home, unloaded the animals and introduced them to their new digs, cleaned up my son, and headed to bed around 2am. A long day, but we went to bed happy to know the animals made it into our care safe and sound, and our son was feeling much better. So not the easiest of days, but it all worked out in the end.
So now to introduce these new additions, with photos below!
First, meet Summer, Rose, and Tina, the newest members of alpaca herd. These three ladies needed a retirement home as their owner was moving to Alaska but she didn’t want to sell them. We’re overjoyed that they get to stay together and live out their retirement years here. They are all between 11 and 15 years old and have really pretty coloring, and quirky personalities.
The next additions are two goats - Maizy and her younger brother Ollie. Both goats are Nubian and Nigerian mixes. Maizy is 4 years old, and Ollie is ten months old. Ollie was still nursing from his mom, something his owner didn’t want happening, but she didn’t have the space to separate them. We know that goats listed on Craigslist always run the risk of being bought to be eaten sadly, even if the buyer promises that won’t happen. The owner had rescued animals her whole life, and wanted a nice, safe home for Ollie, so we said we could take him. She then asked if he could go with his big sister, and we said of course! We like to keep families together whenever possible, and knowing this, the owner said she may reach out to us next year and give us their mom too. That would be such a great thing if Maizy and Ollie got to be reunited with their mom, so fingers crossed that happens.
We have two more animals arriving this weekend, and possibly one more in April, but more on them later.
Our intakes come from private owners, rescue organizations, and other sanctuaries networks. The goal with taking in animals is to never just go by if we have the space, but more do we have the space PLUS herd dynamics PLUS our current and projected workload, what’s our bandwidth so to speak. Last thing we want to do is take in too many animals and then feel spread too thin constantly. Ideally we’d never ever have that feeling, but realistically caring for this many animals it’s hard to feel like you have enough time and energy some days, and I’ve been struggling with health issues for awhile. So it’s all about finding a balance we can work with. We feel like we’re close to a pretty good number now, so we’ll hold off on intakes for awhile again after April. We have quite the menagerie here and love them all to pieces!
That’s all for now. Have a great week, and here’s a little camelid humor to close things out...
What did the alpaca see when she looked in the mirror?
Her spitting image.