We have a small herd of cattle here on the Sanctuary who have come from a variety of backgrounds. They will live out their natural lives here which could be over 20 years!
Cilla, a Hereford X we believe was born prematurely, was completely bald when she arrived with us but has fortunately grown a full coat as she has matured, although she does still need regular factor 50 applied to some of the thinner patches! She was raised by a farmer’s wife who then couldn’t send her to market.
Emmys Mother died during labour and so she was hand-reared by a friend of a farmer who couldn’t bear the thought of her going to market. She kept her as a pet for a couple of years but then her circumstances changed and she could no longer keep Emmy – so here she is!
Myrtle arrived with her calf George at foot and her friend Jemima who helped raise the young boy. These three are really bonded and love to stick together. Jemima has been a wonderful Aunt to George and looked after him when Mum has needed a break! Myrtle and Jemima are so small, most visitors think they are the baby cows! Due to their size, they don’t fit into the crush properly when they have their feet trimmed so one of the team has been clicker training them to be haltered and calmly have their feet handled.
Star is a Holstein Friesian, ex-dairy cow. She came to us when the farm hands who milked her had become attached to her due to her sociable personality. Star had come to the end of her milking career and was due to go to market, but the farm hands decided to raise the money themselves to buy her from the farm and bring her to us for a well-earned retirement.
Willow and Bamboo are Mother and Daughter. They came to us when their owner hadn’t quite realised how much space they would need. Willow is a lovely kind cow and does enjoy a good scratch, Bamboo is quite shy and not very keen on human interaction but loves a good play with young George.
We have around 40 resident Sheep on site who are excellent at tidying up the grazing after the larger animals have been on it. Having the space to rotate livestock around the grazing areas is great for controlling parasite burdens which are common in grazing animals. They often come to us when they have been kept as pets or on a smallholding and then the owners retire from keeping animals. Sometimes they have been hand reared or orphaned.
We have around 30 goats on site varying in size from very large Alpines to tiny Pygmys. These are often taken on as pets for lawn mowing however, goats don’t really tend to graze grass, preferring to browse on pretty much everything else! They are amazing escape artists and can be quite boisterous. Goats are highly entertaining animals but can be quite labour intensive! They require regular hoof trimming, worming, mite treatments and generally keeping occupied.
We currently have 7 resident pigs at the Sanctuary – Ruffles and Moon are our senior Kune Kune pigs, Pinky, Perky and Georgie are very young Kune Kune crosses who came to us at 8 weeks of age in 2018. The Kune Kune is a popular small breed of domestic pig. On the other end of the scale, we have Blossom, a Hungarian Mangalicia and her Daughter Billie who is crossed with a Saddleback. These two ladies weigh in at over 400kgs each! On a nice day you will often find Billie keeping cool in the mud wallow.
We have a lovely barn and paddock especially for the older sheep and goats when they need a little more TLC than they would receive living out with the main groups.
These guys usually require a bit of medication for their arthritis, extra feed and nice cosy beds – with access to heat lamps in the colder months.