Having the privilege to look after the animals that have come to our farm is something that blows me away on a daily basis to know if it wasn’t for the sanctuary these animals would be dead and potentially on a plate. They are often wary of us at first and not sure what we want of them. Which is totally understandable after spending hours in a car or truck they turn up in a strange place and with strange people, they are unloaded and left. It takes them a while to adjust to the new surroundings, then over time they start to trust us and their personalities start to unfold. It would be fantastic if we could really communicate with them; I mean have a conversation really find out what is on their mind or even just to reassure them that we don’t want anything from then other than them to be happy and healthy.
I thought for the next few posts I would like to tell you about each of the animals that have found their way to Wanderosa Animal Sanctuary and my observation of their personalities and what makes them unique in every way.
Let’s start with the first two Roosters I rescued from the side of the road Rex and Wilber click here if you would like to read that post. Rex is a beautiful looking bird speckled brown and lovely tail feathers, he possesses a fantastic singing voice that has me concerned when we start running retreats, but I digress. In his care are three girls which he looks after in a very protective manner often not letting them out of the hen house to enjoy themselves so he can keep them safe.
He doesn’t like me after my knee operation when I was on crutches he just had an instant dislike to me from that point onwards and didn’t go back to being pals after I ditched the crutches. Now every time I go near the hen house he challenges me to a fight and is quite happy to attack. I have tried to tell him if it wasn’t for me he wouldn’t be here but this doesn’t seem to matter much to him so if Dirk isn’t around I go armed with food to throw at one end of their enclosure so I can do what I need to do. I guess you can’t be friends with everyone.
Wilber is a very big boy who stands with his chest out ready to take on the world; he is a stunning white bird who gets very excited when you give him a tasty treat often so excited that someone else steals it as he is busy telling the world he has a treat. He has one hen to call his own but he would like more. His style of hen management is a little more liberal, his girl is allowed out but he keeps an eye on her often at a distance while he is on an adventure. He would like to steal Rex’s three girls and when he gets out of his enclosure he is off to Rex’s place to do the dance of domination. He makes a nuisance of himself strutting up and down showing of his best features and a little sideways three step routine. The Rex’s girls don’t encourage him that I know of, but that doesn’t seem to deter Wilber he is forever hopeful he will make his flock bigger.
The two boys have been known to really go at it if they get the opportunity and blood has been shed so we often find ourselves running interference so that this doesn’t happen again we use a number of tactics to stop a fight, my goto move is loud noises we also ask Flash to herd Wilber away from Rex, which he is always happy to do.
Wilber would also like to have Noodle in his flock but she isn’t interested in him at all. Schedules are in place so that the birds get some free range time without clashing this does take some organisation but Dirk manages this really well.
The next resident I’d like to introduce you it is of course Gunther the pig. When he first came to us from a family that could no longer take care of such a big pig apparently he is a mini that out grew that status. Why do people believe this is beyond me if you haven’t read his rescue blog post please do. He did not like to be touched by either of us and was very wary of us. It took months for him to warm up to us and even now I don’t think he really believes we don’t want anything from him. It would be really cool if animals could tell you what their life was like before they came to us, I know he was loved and I’m sure he misses his humans.
We really weren’t sure if he would ever like us or even trust us. Slowly this year he started to take to us; he let us scratch his back and was happy to get his belly rubbed. He is gentler with me than Dirk so on the weekends I try to spend some quality time with him. I like to go walking with him around the farm you can often find me down the middle of the paddock with a pocket full of potatoes finding the best wallow spots for him. What I have noticed is he really is a small fearful pig in a big body, he makes sure he is aware of what is going one around him and if he thinks he is under threat he makes a grunt sound that comes from the middle of his chest and his off. Often this happens when I’m just out of sight and he thunders towards me and I hope with all of my heart that he stops in time.
Some days when we let him out of his night pen he is grumpy with the world and its best to leave him to his own devices, then other times he want to hang out with us down at the day spa (dam) and get treats and belly scratches. When you feed him his whole focus is on his dinner but once he has finished he makes this sweet little sound that is him asking if there is any more food.
Then other days he is full of mischief and from the moment he is out of his den it’s all hands on deck because he is going to wreak havoc and the team (me and Dirk) go into get Gunther some food and move him on. Shoe boxes, hen houses, the above ground pool and (his all time favourite) pavers have all felt his wroth. He knows we are inside the house and just wants to visit but his idea of a visit and mine are very different. I’m not so keen to have him in my nice new house, the other thing is I’m sure we would not be able to get him out of the pantry until it was empty. He is a lovely young man who really doesn’t know what it means to be a pig so we are giving him space to learn what it means to be a free range pig.
I realise that everyone on is on their own journey in life but I do wish that the world would be more compassionate to animals and see them as individuals that have a right to a free life just as we should have. The realization that there is no difference between a dog or a cow being killed to be eaten and that the injustice is the same. I wonder how long it will be for this light bulb to go off in more people. I know our journey to this point in time has taken a while to get here but gosh I wish we worked this out so much sooner than we did.
Next install will be about a couple of plucky hens and the four piglets that have amazed us and brought so much joy into our life I hope you will come back and read the next installment. Have a great day and be kind to yourself and the animals.