Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

catching up on sanctuary news

One of my fellow volunteers from this past summer, who is now living on the west coast, tweeted that she missed the sanctuary. It is impossible to fit any real update in a tweet, so I thought I’d do a general update in a post.

A few weeks ago 10 hens arrived from a rescue when a fighting rooster operation was shut down. Oddly enough I didn’t even see them until today! I just never quite got to the barn they were in the past two weeks. They’re gorgeous, and they’ve got attitude to spare.

Since their arrival meant that they were able to be paired with roosters who had never before had girls of their own, their attitude comes in handy! The boys are very happy, but not exactly experienced in the gentle arts of courtship.

Two weeks ago Jeremy broke his leg.



It was during a very icy time here in the DC area, and they don’t know exactly what happened. He came in from the field with the rest of the goats with the broken leg, so they can only assume he was being his normal rambunctious goat self, and had an accident on the ice, causing the break. They took him to the vet, where his leg was set and encased in a cast. The vet sent him home with strict instructions to not let him rough house for at least 4 weeks. This meant he’s had to stay in the quarantine barn, all alone, because the only way to make sure he doesn’t rough house with the other goats is to keep him separated. He doesn’t like being alone, he’s always had Lenny with him.

And so of course he broke out of the barn last night. Literally broke the door off its hinges.

Terry and Dave were a bit shocked when he came down for breakfast with the rest of the goats, acting for all the world as if it were normal. Head-butting Lenny, swinging his cast around, jumping up on everything he could. Not exactly what the doctor ordered!

I got a different stall ready for him, and we carted him (literally, pulled him in a cart) up to the barn again. He was very quiet, and I think tuckered out. As much as he wants to play as if everything is normal, he does need the quiet and the rest.

The eagles have been busy rebuilding their nest and it looks like they’ve got an egg up there as well. “Looks like” is based on their behavior, not a direct sighting of the inside of the nest – they’re very sensitive to disturbance in this period, so we just watch from afar as they swoop down to pick up giant sticks to add to the nest.

Not that we poke around in their nest at other times either! From the quarantine barn, there is a pretty clear view of their nest, and typically you’ll see one eagle on/in the nest, and the other in a tree nearby when they are sitting on an egg. It’s pretty neat, actually. They’ve had this nest for years.

Not sure if you can see very well, but the largish dark blob on the right side is the nest, and the itty bitty white spot is the head of the eagle sitting in the nest. In the left third of the picture a little more than halfway up is the second eagle. It starts to look pretty choppy in bigger sizes, but click the photo for a bigger size if you can’t pick out the eagles in the smaller size.

Three new pigs arrived at the sanctuary in this past week as well. They were from a neglect / hoarding case. I don’t know many of the details, just that when the county intervened there were animals frozen to the ground, and the situation was pretty dire in general. It sounds like these pigs were fed bread and (sorry, this is gross) the bodies of the animals that had died there. They look in good shape now, though, after having been in foster care while the courts did their thing. It is a mother and two babies, about 5 months old.

This is pretty exciting, as it is the first time we’ll get to see a momma pig and her babies together at the sanctuary. When I saw them they were just sleeping all snuggled together, but I have heard that they are pretty friendly towards people, and will approach without hesitation. They aren’t sure yet about belly rubs, but I can’t imagine they’ll hold out for long!

There is a new pig barn now, which replaced an old barn that was on its last legs. In Maryland there is a community service requirement for kids to complete in order to graduate from high school. We get some volunteers at the sanctuary who are there for those community service hours, and one of them from last year not only volunteered quite often, when she had a bat mitzvah she took that opportunity to raise money for a new pig barn. So this gorgeous new barn is thanks to a young girl named Alex.

And, of interest only to anyone who has volunteered at the sanctuary and understands why we wear muck boots, I’m happy to say that today we had ideal pig yard conditions!


4 responses to “catching up on sanctuary news

  1. Asma February 16, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Poor Jeremy 😦 I hate to say it, but it was a matter of time before one of them got into trouble. I really hope that the next couple of weeks aren’t too hard on him. Knowing his personality, though… poor baby.

    I saw the chickens when I visited and they really are a gorgeous bunch! And haha, “gentle arts of courtship.”

    I can’t believe that there are piglets now! I’m so glad they and their mom found their way to the sanctuary.

    Thank you so much for this post. I wish I could be there and see all the changes myself. The sanctuary is one of my most favorite places.

  2. nothoney February 16, 2009 at 7:25 am

    Poor Jeremy. We went up to his private resort barn on my last shift and he was making pathetic bleats. We let Lenny in for a bit but he started head butting immediately so we ended visiting hours. I’m a little surprised that he kicked in a door and escaped. Sheesh!

    New chickens? didn’t know anything about them but then the chicken barns were nearly done by the time we got down there last time. We split into two teams and got done pretty quickly.

    I can’t wait to meet the new piglets and their mom! Very cool. And isn’t that the prettiest barn you’ve ever seen? very deluxe. I didn’t know the story about Alex and her generous donations. Well done, Alex.


  3. Deb February 16, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Asma, I know what you mean! I always half expected to hear that Lenny broke a leg getting caught in the hay holders – you know how he loves to stand on that ledge! Apparently the vets were swamped with fractures from the ice that week though. Poor Jeremy.

    nothoney, yeah, there were 90 hens rescued from a rooster fighting operation, and they went to various sanctuaries in the area. 10 to PS.

  4. Pingback: Wilbur’s long road to recovery « Invisible Voices

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