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!