Life under lockdown with 450 animals!

A day in the life under lockdown at Farm Animal Rescue Sanctuary. Key worker Ellie and her partner, along with 76-year old Carole Webb, embark on another day in their bubble during a global pandemic…

7 am: First things first, it’s time for a big cup of coffee to get things started. Fairtrade and filter of course (we’re a bit fancy here).

In the warm while it’s getting light outside, we make up a formula and hand-feed a baby pigeon who fell from the rafters in the barn, and can’t yet fly or eat themselves. We feed our two resident rabbits, then make some special jam sandwiches containing Glucosamine for some of the pigs with arthritis – they won’t eat it any other way. It’s a very common condition in pigs bred for meat, as they are not meant to live very long and have small bones and large muscles. With the right treatment though, they can live a pain-free and happy life.

7.30 am:

It’s time then to brave the cold February morning, to un-freeze all of the taps around the sanctuary and replace burst hoses. At the same time we do a walk around all of the sheep to check everybody is okay. The 14 feral cats get their food first or else they follow us around and make a racket! Then we feed and water the chickens who, like all chickens in the UK at the moment, are on a bird flu ‘lockdown’ of their own; meaning they are in a large roofed run that we built, and cannot come out until DEFRA give the green light. We have tried to keep them occupied with dangling food, mirrors, toys and the like. Lastly we feed the aviaries, where we house birds like the hand-fed baby, who will eventually be released.

8.15 am:

The pigs get their breakfast and Glucosamine sandwiches, their waters cleaned and re-filled, and fresh straw put in their beds.

9 am:

Of the 400+ sheep here, we let just less than half into another field on our 60 acres for the daylight hours. The majority however cannot only live on hay, grass and supplements like energy blocks.

Being a sanctuary, most of our sheep are old, lesser-abled, or came to us because of some deficiency or health issue. To feed all of these guys takes around 2-3 hours.

Those who are a bit more hardy are fed in an area with troughs, but many can’t deal with the bustle of this, so are given their own bowl in one of the barns, We use almost 100 bowls, and always need new ones from the Amazon wish list, as they’re not very hoof-proof!

Some of the sheep, if they are very old or blind, are put into their own pen so that they can take their time to eat un-disturbed (it takes a long time to eat with only one or two teeth left!).

El one of our key workers with Shaun

11 am:

The barns have adjoining fields, but around this time of year most of the sheep choose to stay in the barns and have a sleep or eat hay. Every day we spread a thin layer of straw over all of the barns, as part of a deep litter system that retains warmth and keeps everything clean.

Unlike the pigs who make themselves a toilet area, the sheep poo everywhere, including in their waters!

There is now one automatic drinker in each barn, which needs cleaning and emptying every couple of days. Most of the sheep however either don’t venture to it, or are stuck in their ways, and so drink from the 30+ buckets spread around instead. These all get emptied, cleaned and refilled every day.

1pm:

We put down the pitchfork and pick up a knife and fork for a nice vegan lunch and another coffee to re-fuel. It’s good to sit down with Carole for a chat about the sheep, and upcoming projects and ideas.

1.30pm:

Lunchtime jobs! This differs each day, but 2 or 3 days time a week it will involve getting the tractor running and refilling the empty ring-feeders around the sanctuary with large hay bales. We go through around 20 hay and 10 straw every week, costing over £750. Usually there are repairs that need doing, like waterproofing on the chickens’ house, or fixing broken pens and drainage. The sheep in the other field sleep inside cosy poly-tunnels at night, so we put a layer of straw in those, and clean their waters.

Resident sheep in the hay bag
Who's that behind the hay?

3.00pm:

At this point some kind of emergency or unexpected situation often delays all of the jobs at least an hour from this point forward OR hopefully…

We wake the pigs up for their afternoon food and water, which is the same as the morning without the sandwiches! Then they’re back off to sleep – what a life!

3.30pm:

Prep for the afternoon feeds. We sweep the trough areas of all the mucky water and watery muck, then make up all the feed and bowls ready. Once all the sheep are arranged in their pens and areas, it’s time for…

4.30pm:

The afternoon sheep feeds! These are basically the same as the morning, minus the layer of straw. Most of the waters are usually either empty or dirty, so need cleaning and refilling again.

7pm:

Prep for tomorrow! Some of the food can be prepared in the morning, but the sugar-beet (about half of what we feed the barns) needs soaking overnight in 30 separate buckets.

7.30pm:

We check on all the sheep before we leave, especially the ones in the barns.

Then it’s off home, out of our wet and muddy clothes and into the bath!

NovemBAA CHRISTMAS OPEN DAY
28th NOVEMBER

Start off your festive season with us here at FARS and all your favourite characters.
We can’t wait to open our gates again, it’s been so long since we’ve seen all you lovely supporters.  As a way of keeping the numbers spread out throughout the day we’ve given you 3 choices of entrance times. Limited number of tickets available also so quick grab yours  by CLICKING HERE NOW! 

We ask that you please wear a mask on the day.

Dolly is so excited to tell everyone about FARS Fundraising group!

Some amazing prizes to be won in every raffle, and only £1 per go. Just request to join the group by clicking on the button below. You can also donate some prizes if you contact Lizzie or Lenka within the groups direct messenger.

JOIN inthe fun!