Groundhog Day

Well, it’s only half way through winter time here at the sanctuary and we are already drenched to our cores. Muddy gumboots, hooves and toes are all the fashion, and you won’t see a soul around here sporting anything but! Most of us, both human and non human, are putting up a strong fight against the winter blues, but the grey and dreary skies along with constant rain is starting to wear a tad thin.

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This time of year always brings on a number of added challenges that often fade into distant memory when the weather starts to warm, but when we are in the thick of it, the feeling that it may never end invades from time to time.

Keeping everyone warm and dry is an all-important priority. Jem has been constructing extra shelters from recycled materials we already have sitting here waiting to be disposed of, giving them a second life. He recently converted a dilapidated old avery destined for the scrap metal yard, giving the collapsed mess a makeover to behold. It now lives on as a new snuggly shelter for our special needs paddock gang, offering much needed extra protection for some of our most vulnerable residents to help them ride out the rainy days, given the path to their regular shelter has turned to mud and slop.The chickens love to drop by too and kick all the straw bedding out much to the sheep’s disgust.

Along with craving warmth, we are all a little hungry. It's not just the humans of Shear Existence who eat more and opt for the treasure food during the colder months; the residents need and desire plenty of highly nutritious foods to keep them healthy as they contend with the cold and rain. They munch through huge amounts of grass hay, lucerne, and chaff. In addition to keeping the food coming, regular housekeeping is a must. Just like we humans need to pop the flanny sheets on the bed and throw an extra blanket on in the winter, the animal’s shelters and houses also need to be fluffed up with extra wood shavings and straw. The non-human residents' comfort and health must remain in the forefront of our minds meaning bedding needs to be changed out more regularly and consistently to ensure their housing areas remain dry and clean.

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As much as it pains us to see the Shear Existence animals a little blue, we can’t help but cast our minds to the millions of animals who don’t have access to any shelter or adequate food through the depths of winter and blazing summer heat. At this time of year we know that millions and millions of lambs perish in paddocks as a result of exposure to the extreme winter elements, as so often do mother ewes who are frequently left to suffer unaided during complicated births. We feel privileged and honoured to be able to offer safety and all the creature comforts we can to our animal family. Everyone really is so deserving of this same access to food, shelter, and water - the bare minimum for survival, and worthy of oh so much more.

We know spring will arrive with her sunshine, blossoms and flourishing pasture. We will notice our spirits lift along with everyone else's. Sheep will frolic, chickens will dust bath and goats will be napping in the sun. For now we keep working through the challenges and look forward to welcoming back warmer days with loving arms.

Meet Our Other Animals

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Moose: the Bobby calf who lived.

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Groundhog Day

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From Little Things, Big Things Grow – The Birth of a Sanctuary