Today we picked up a new group of critters for our sanctuary. These beautiful animals came from a family who are going through some very challenging times and they could no longer keep their beloved gang. I usually blanch when I hear this, always thinking that SURELY the family could MAKE it work for the sake of the animals… but in this case and with this particular set of circumstances – I completely understand. The lady who loves these animals has taken extremely good care of them and she loves them like children. I know she will be feeling very sad tonight as she sits in her hospital bed, knowing that her friends have been taken away. Some of these animals she reared from very young – and one of them – Mary – is particularly tame and a close friend to her. The one thing that makes this whole sad story a little brighter (for the lady) is that she was desperate that they should all stay together, so they would not be so traumatized by this inevitable change, and so they have found their way to us.
Well.. they didn’t find us… we picked them up today in our shiny new horse float! (I’m SO GLAD we went ahead and got this float, even though it was an expensive investment, it has been so very handy!) We managed to get them all in (after much cajoling, easing, pushing, shepherding, yelling, cooing, sweating) and after saying our goodbyes to the lovely man who helped us, we set off on our journey home. They travelled well and we only needed to stop once, so I could go check on them to relieve the intense anxiety that was building in me, at every bump and turn. Clearly I was the only one getting stressed – as I peered in the window and observed them all standing there looking at me with questioning looks on their faces, whilst they chewed. “How come we’ve stopped?” their eyes asked. Sorry gang – I’ll leave you to it.
Upon arrival at our place they were rather nervous to step out onto the new patch, and it took us a while to get the alpaca fellas to lead the wooly gang out. But in the end, out they came and walked exactly where they needed to go with little fuss or bother. What a well behaved crew this is! If they were my goats, we would have been faced with much more mayhem and escape attempts, I’m sure!
My gang were intrigued to see who the newcomers were, so I let them in to the adjoining yard. There was much staring, stomping, creeping up and running away, peering around corners and loud “who the hell are you”‘s going on.
I usually feed my crew separately as the horses and goats are such gutses that the sheep barely get a nibble.. but with the newcomers in the stable yard where separate feeding is possible, I had to try to feed my gang all together. My god, what a disaster. Suffice to say that it is just not possible to feed this lot in one yard – even if you spread 4 feeding bins from one end of the LARGE yard to the other – the horses and the goats manage to be everywhere at once and the sheep barely get a look in. Ratbags! I sorted it in the end, but not before I had ran the length of the yard at least 6 times, cajoled and then gently shoved two twisting & bunting goats out a gate, and run after the horses with a bucket.
In sharp contrast, I put two bins of feed down in the stable yard with the newbies and they all quietly walked up and congenially shared their feed with each other. Ahhhh… what angels. Perhaps the stress of the journey has made them unusually cooperative, but somehow, I think these guys are used to peace and mutual respect. My smile lingers and then slips into a worried frown… “I hope they can handle my lot!”
Meanwhile in the adjoining yard; “MAAAAAAAAA!!!!” THUD!!! There goes my precious goats again.