Remembering Suki

Suki was one of our very first rescues along with her sister Cookie. She had the most gentle and patient soul, you’d often find the chickens perched on her back and Suki wouldn’t mind at all. She loved bouncing around the paddock with Cookie like she was still a little lamb. Sadly we lost Suki to acute fluke shortly after moving to the new site. The vet said there was nothing he could do when we found her that morning and the best thing would be to ease her passing. The other sheep had left to forage for the morning but Cookie wasn’t going anywhere, she stayed in the shelter the whole time watching anxiously. Suki’s head was resting on my lap as the vet administered the injection. Just as he started to administer the second injection which would stop her heart, Cookie walked straight over to her sister and gently kissed her on the head, she knew her sister was leaving her and she wanted to say goodbye. Suki drifted away peacefully surrounded by her family.

Remembering Hamish

Hamish (aka Hamham) and I were inseparable, he was just the sweetest goat and loved human affection. After lots of gradual integration he finally started to enjoy spending time with his lamb friends but before heading off with them, he would always stop, look over his shoulder at me and come running over to give me a cuddle goodbye. It was like he needed that wee bit of reasurrance before setting off with his pals like a big boy. It was the most soul crushing event to this day finding him in his stall, lifeless. I couldn’t understand where all that energy, love and joy could go, everything that made Hamish who he was – it was gone and a huge whole was left. His life was far too short. I’ll always miss you Hamham!

Remembering Ness and Tinch

Ness and Tinch were saved from being someones Christmas dinner. They were riddled with mites when they arrived and Tinch had a beak injury/deformity from the farmer clipping her beak. They do this to minimise pecking injuries because they are kept in such confined spaces, there’s nowhere to escape if you have a fight with another turkey. We made sure she always had a deep bowl of food so she could get her loower beak fully in to eat. Ness was super friendly, even enjoyed you giving her head a wee stroke. Tinch on the other hand was more shy but would still come over to you. The both learnt to trust again and that now all humans are bad and most importantly experienced love and freedom.

Remembering Herbie and Reiny

Herbie and Reiny were rescued from a school hatching project and later came to live at the sanctuary. They have been characters from day dot and both loved nothing more than chasing me around the paddock. Every morning I’d open their house door with my arm stretched out and ready to bolt as they came bursting out quacking chasing me out the paddock! Even though they had their wee fights (especially in Spring time), they had a really strong bond. Both of them had leg deformities which is common in birds rescued from school hatching projects and this sadly affected their gait which out pressure on their joints eventually resulting in arthritis. We managed the pain with anti-inflammatories and pain relief for as long as possible but eventually it was time to make that call. The morning we planned to take Herbie to be put to sleep, he must have decided too it was his time to go and we found him with Reiny sitting next to him. The other ducks were in the pond but Reiny wasn’t leaving his brother. Less than a year later it was Reiny’s time and as I held him in the consultation room, he put his head over my shoulder and round my neck. I had never received a hug from him, only love bites and chases, I’d like to think this was his way of letting me know it was all in jest and he did take comfort in me being there with him at the end since his brother couldn’t be.

Remembering Angel

Angel was rescued from a country park in Glasgow where he was left behind by his family due to his wing deformity (angel wing) which left him unable to fly. The swans were bullying him and he was at risk of being drowned so with a canoe we managed to catch him and bring him back to the sanctuary. Being a goose, Angel was very protective of his flock of geese and ducks, he watched over them and in the end actually sacrificed his life to save his friend Basil. A fox had managed to get into the bird paddock and into their enclosure where they were locked away. Basil sustained a deep wound right down to his lungs but Angel must have jumped in defending his friend and got the fox to let him go but in the process he sustained a really bad wound to his neck. The vet stapled what he could and the rest needed to heal on his own. We changed his bandage daily, cleaning his wounds and giving him antibiotics to prevent infection. The wounds were healing really well but we later found there was a puncture hole in his esophagus leaking food down the inside of his neck and pushing through the larger wound. It was too close to his windpipe to operate and we heartbreakingly had to put him to sleep. He died a hero and Basil is thriving all thanks to Angel saving his life from the fox!

Remembering Bramble

Poor Bramble didn’t get to live with us very long. His owner wasn’t able to give him and his brothers the care they needed anymore so she asked us to take them. He had a gentle and shy nature but had mixed so well with his new sheep family and we were slowly working on getting his weight down and correcting his hoof issues. There wasn’t a single headbutt when he me the lambs, such a kind sheep, not an aggressive bone in his body! Him and his brother Braemar were extremely close and he passed away with his brother by his side. A post mortem revealed he sadly had an underlying heart issue.

Remembering Caesar

Caesar was our very first rescue – he started the sanctuary with us! If you wrote a list of all the best traits you would want in a cockerel, that was Caesar. There’s always some anxiety when introducing new hens to a flock, there will be some fights to settle the heirarchy but Caesar would never let it go too far, spliting up the fights and making sure everyone was safe. It felt like a partnership, one full of trust and respect, we’d rescue the hens and then it was over to Caesar, the flock protector. He took the job so seriously he would even have a go at the volunteers sometimes, his priority was always to the flock and we admired that about him. I’ll never forget during his first week living at the sanctuary he escaped (before we had 6ft high fencing) and went exploring in the forest next to the sancutary. We quickly found him and he gave us the run around, ducking and diving between pine trees and nettles, he was by far the hardest cockerel to catch! Looking back I think it was a test, could we manage all his awesomeness, he was a Super Cockerel after all. We must have passed, he didn’t try to escape ever again.

When he passed, it was Francis the goose that alterted one of our volunteers something wasn’t right when doing the morning rounds. He was acting strangely, hanging around Caesars hut, he somehow knew Caesar had passed during the night. The chickens didn’t leave from the area around the huts. They usually run off exploring the paddock to start their day of foraging but today was different, they felt it. For a good couple of hours they all waited up by the huts as if waiting for Caesar, it was heartbreaking. It’s been an incredibly difficult goodbye for everyone at the sanctuary, humans and birds.