Mar 28, 2019

Thank you Algonquin student volunteer group!!

It was a busy day yesterday, with a good turnout of regular volunteers, plus a large group of students who came out to help for a morning! And thanks to volunteer mentors, Kevin, Allison, and Suzanne who led particular groups of students and helped them accomplish so much.

Many of the students had not been around farm animals before, so they were thrilled to be able to be so close to such a large variety of birds and animals. Suzanne and her crew tackled the barn loft, which had become a chaotic mess of unsorted items, transforming that space into a well organized, practical, and attractive area! Kevin’s group moved square bales, hauled up palettes, rolled a round bale, and worked on cleaning up around where our waste bedding is piled. Alison’s group worked in the paddocks, clearing up some of what the horses’ leave behind for us.

All in all, a productive and fun day. Groups of volunteer teams, whether they come from a company, college, or university always enjoy the experience of making a difference in the lives of the animals here at the Sanctuary. We welcome any group who wants to come out and work as a team here for a morning! If you can put together a group of people and want to come out for a morning, contact us through the webpage, by email, or through a Facebook message.

Mar 25, 2019

A Typical Day at the Sanctuary

AM Part 3

In quick succession, Molly (our little mule) and Lucy (our pony) are served their breakfast in their stall. Then William and Parker (our potbelly pigs), who will not soil where they sleep, are let out for a few minutes (with much complaining that dinner wasn’t served faster!). Once they are back in their private spaces and eating, Elsa and Francesca (our two new, very active lambs) are separated from Rose and Grainy (our older ewes, who don’t eat quick enough to avoid having their meals stolen by the youngsters), and fed elsewhere.

By now there is a chorus of demands coming from Liam and Lily (ever heard geese sounding off, it’s high volume!), and they get their meal, followed by meals for the turkeys, Michelle and Belle who live with Parker. And meals for Picot, the rooster who lives in the barn and usually roosts above Parker’s area, and Heidi, our hen with the long legs that do not function quite properly (her name used to be High Heels because of the way she places her feet down with each step).

We have to admit that Henry the llama gets a little extra serving of berries, along with a generous mixture of three different feeds (he has taught us over time what he prefers in a meal, and after some negotiations to ensure good nutritional content, all is good). Everyone loves to feed Henry, but don’t be slow or he may muster up a gob of spit to encourage you to get the bowl to him at speed. He also enjoys having someone hold it for him, if possible. What a guy, but we want to make certain that his senior years are lived out as healthy and enjoyably as possible. He gets spoiled a little, no doubt about that!

After Henry eats, usually outside, we begin to let everyone out (except for handsome James, our intact ram, who can’t resist head butting his neighbours if given a chance). Out come the lambs, Elsa and Francesca. Next we let out William and Parker (though Parker who is afraid of open spaces remains in a sheltered part of the barn where he also has access to outside, should he ever feel brave enough to step out there. He was dropped as a baby near Bank St and Heron Road in Ottawa, suddenly subjected to noise and confusion after most likely having experienced only life inside someone’s house, so who can blame him for being nervous yet!).

Then with prior warning, Molly our mule, and her friend Lucy, our pony, head out into the outside enclosure in front of the barn. Lucy has a lot of trust issues so usually a path is cleared so that she can move through without any problems (she isn’t shy sometimes about throwing up her hooves, though that behaviour is disappearing slowly as she becomes assured that here in the Sanctuary, she is safe and free from any threats of abuse).

Then Grainy and Rose (senior ewes), Lily and Liam (geese) and all the rest of the ducks, hen, rooster, and turkeys. Winston, the tom turkey who arrived almost at the same time as Charlie our calf can be a little bit aggressive if people don’t respect his personal space, but he is slowly realizing that he isn’t head honcho in the barn. He is beautifully regal when he decides to try and impress the female turkeys, with his colour displays of blue and red, and his tail spread out in a fan. Unfortunately for him, the female turkeys so far have been less than impressed!

It’s now about 9 AM…

to be continued…

March 19, 2019

A Typical Day at the Sanctuary 

 AM  Part 2

 Continuing from yesterday (scroll down to read Part 1)

 Once Charlie and his companion turkey Winston are fed,  our attention turns to the five sheep (James, Rose, Grainy, Francesca, and Elsa), the three goats (George, Ringo, and Rita), the seven ducks (Sean, Johnny, Eleanor, Cloud, Rigby, Sadie, and Prudence), the two geese (Lily and Liam), the four turkeys (Loretta, Michelle, Belle, and Cordelia), the two potbelly pigs (William and Parker), the two rather large farm pigs (Wilbur and Pokey), Lucy the pony, Molly the little mule,  Picot the rooster, and Heidi the little hen.  

 Not to forget the horses Maya, Nikita, Chances (aka Mama),  Lady, Penny, Cowboy, Oliver, Jade and big Rose, or the cats in the loft (Timmy, Rudy, Mango, Lava, Oreo, and Nemo). The roosters and hens in the lower coop are also waiting for their breakfasts, but that’s usually done when the coop is opened up first thing in the morning.  

 This also leaves out the three dogs and all the indoor cats who also are here, though their routines are separate from that of the barn (all together, that’s over 60 mouths waiting to be fed each morning, and for most, again each night!).

It begins with finding and collecting all the feed bowls from throughout the barn. The veggies, berries, and whatever else is on the menu are made ready.  Bowls of grain are laid out in sequence, ready on demand as the feed schedule unfolds.

 To start, there’s some careful reshuffling of who is going to be fed with whom. Not everyone enjoys eating with a crowd around, particularly if it includes two growing (and hungry) lambs, goats, and a potbelly pig all looking to supplement their own dinner at the expense of someone else’s!  

 And our two male pekin ducks have to be moved into our ram James’ stall to be fed, as they have to be kept separate from any female ducks (they are very amorous guys!).  

 And first James has to be asked if he would mind eating outside (he’s not particular where he eats as long as his bowl is following right behind).  Once that maneuver is compete, the rest of the now very vocal ducks and turkeys are served multiple bowls of grain, veggies, and fruit, which they attack with enthusiastic rapid fire pecking.

The goats have to then be put into a quiet area alone (where they enjoy only their own dinners, not everyone else’s!). Likewise, the two young lambs have to be separated from Rose and Grainy, our older sheep who don’t eat quick enough to prevent losing their breakfast to the faster lambs!


Continued tomorrow (at this point it’s about 8.30 am)



March 18, 2019

A Typical Day at the Sanctuary

AM Part 1, 

 During the previous evening a huge pot of veggies, rice, pasta, and tasty scraps was stewed and awaits delivery to Wilbur and Pokey, our large farm pigs.  With a sideorder of the same for William and Parker, the barn potbelly pigs. All the barn’s residents love chopped up greens, a mix of berries and fruit, so that needs to be prepared and bagged up. Henry the llama loves strawberries and blueberries so he gets a little extra set aside for him, bagged separately.  Ok, maybe he is being spoiled just a little (don’t tell the others!)

Two of the coops of birds get their breakfast delivered and water topped up.  It’s now about 6.45 am.  

Time to check emails, the website, add anything to the Facebook page, get everything ready to take to the barn, and maybe even time for an extra cup of coffee or two. By 7.45 AM it’s time to start to head up to the barn.

 Walking up towards the barn in the early morning is like stepping into a beautiful pastoral scene. The surrounding woods are quiet, not even the deer are out yet.  The horses are quietly grazing at their hay, or snoozing. Wilbur and Pokey, the large farm pigs suddenly stick their snouts out just to check if anyone passing by happens to have bowls of food in hand for them, then with a grunt of disappointment they retreat into their house to wait.  

 It’s 8 am now.  Not a noise to be heard at the barn until the front door handle is touched, and then a chorus of baaaas, mooing, ducks quacking, geese sounding off suddenly starts up.  Like an orchestra tuning up, discordant but still music to our ears!  As the door opens, Henry the llama sticks his head out, looks around, and then smoothly glides by. He is so graceful that sometimes you’d swear he is floating by!  

 Charlie the calf knows his bottle of milk replacer is coming, and as the door to the room where he is housed opens, he’s ready and waiting.  Everyone loves to hold that bottle as he latches on and looks up at you with those beautiful eyes.  It’s hard not to think each time of how wonderful and rewarding it is to know that he is allowed now to live, to grow into full maturity, and hopefully live a full natural life. 

 Continued  tomorrow…





March 17, 2019

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from everyone at the Sanctuary! The greens we really want to see are a ways off yet, but green pastures and green leaves on the forest’s trees will be a welcome sight!

Weekend volunteers helped deal with flooding and as always did an amazing job cleaning the paddocks and barn. Thank you to Gilles, Nathaniel, Alexandre, Louise, Joanne, Laura, Colleen, Nathalie, Vincent, Raphael, Mandy, Rick, Josee, Kevin, and Kim, Your dedication and love for the animals and birds is inspiring to us all. Thank you as always!

Winston our tom turkey is a bit over zealous in protecting Charlie the calf these days, but he is a young guy on a mission and you have to love him for that. We wonder if the bond that this calf and tom have formed will remain strong as they both grow and mature!

Click here to see our Irish (well, Irish today!) residents.

Note: the other videos that may appear after you view the above one are not connected to the Sanctuary.