The following post is an archive of our GoFundMe campaign which began in 2020.
The farm has already been closed for 2 months now and fall has finally started to change into winter – with some colder temperatures and even some snow – and looking at the forecast still more snow to come.
We’ve all been very busy getting prepared for the winter and that’s why I have not written an update about this “new winter situation” yet. Many regular visitors to the park who walk along our fence line might have seen a change to other winter seasons at the farm – and to us this is kind of a big and great thing: This winter all our animals are staying right here in town with us – they even got joined by Wasabi, our billy goat and his little crew of male companions. And so, we all (farm residents, their staff and passersby in the park) are experiencing a very different winter – for us it’s a combination of giving them all the daily care they need during the cold season and the joy of being able to see and spend time with them every day. And while the farm is not open to the public for visits, on dry and sunny days you will be able to observe the animals through the fence.
Winter farming is quite different than work at the farm in the summer. The animals always need and certainly get the same level of care; cold temperatures, rain, snow, mud and ice just make many of the very familiar and usually easy tasks just more work intense. Over the last several weeks we prepared and winterized as much as possible and established and practiced a new daily routine. Now the insulation of several buildings has been improved, we’ve put up heat sources where necessary, insulated water lines, improved rain covers and stocked up on supplies. Most of the animals have grown a thick and warm winter coat and specially the goats look like little fluffy teddy bears now. We are as ready as we can be for what the winter will bring – all the while still hoping it won’t get too cold and icy!
We are very happy that all the animals have adapted well to our winter routine, the colder temperatures and a very quiet and relaxed environment and even our billy Wasabi and his two buddies Billy and Hook have settled in very nicely and seem to enjoy their new housing. Maybe I should mention – and apologize for – the smell that might hit your nose when walking past the farm these days. This very particular and pungent odour originates from Wasabi and is unfortunately in the nature of billy goats. And while we experience it as very strong and somewhat unpleasant to the human nose, his lady goats find him very attractive like that. The smellier the billy, the more popular he is. That’s nature!
The ducks are still enjoying their big pond for daily bath time – so far it’s not been too cold for them. And the colourful flock of chickens has been joined by a new resident: Gaston, our second male muscovy duck, has moved in with them now. After some time of checking each other out and testing different language skills (the chickens cluck and the duck hisses), they figured out their differences and are getting along really well now. And since Gaston is such a handsome fellow and our ducks are very adventures and ignore the fence, the muscovy ladies stop by for little flirtatious visits.
Some of our animals are elderly now and during the winter they need more special care and regular updates to the vet. Our donkey ladies belong in this group of senior residents. After they already had a very sad and difficult season while coping with the loss of their friend Peanut Butter, they currently each have their own health challenges to deal with. By the end of last winter Taffy had developed a severe case of laminitis and she then needed her hoof treated daily for many months during which she was also kept on regular pain meds until the hoof had regrown so much that she can now finally walk well again and the hoof is all healthy. But then in the fall she had some big trouble with one of her back teeth and which required some serious dental work. She was a really good patient and so brave and gentle during the entire procedure and after a few days of sensitive gums, she is now eating normal again and has a good appetite. Opal, on the other hand, was just diagnosed with Cushing’s disease (PPID) and has started a long term and most likely lifelong medical treatment. Cushing’ disease is a complex hormonal condition caused by the dysfunction of a gland called the pituitary gland, which lies at the base of the brain. Luckily, it can be treated with pills, and we are all hoping that in her upcoming blood check in January, we can already see a change to the better. Unfortunately, Opal doesn’t like her medication (which she has to take daily), and with her being very strong minded it can be a challenge to make her swallow her daily dose. The team is doing their best to be patient and convincing – and we are trying to be creative and often switch to a new approach in the hope that she will not smell the pill and we can just sneak it in.
Just in time for Christmas we have also updated our website and redone our sponsorship program. While the farm relies a lot on donations made by visitors during the months we are open, we are really hoping that by sponsoring the animals we will be able get some support to cover the continuing costs during the winter closure and bring all the animals safely through the winter. So, if you or someone else is looking for a last minute gift for an animal lover or you would like to treat yourself to a certificate with a cute picture while helping to keep the animals fed and warm for the winter, check out our website www.beaconhillchildrensfarm.ca to find out which of our farm residents catches your heart. With just 10 days left until Christmas we will still be sending out certificates until December 19 (or December 20th for local mail) and after that we can offer pickup by appointment at the farm to make sure these gifts are under the tree on Christmas Day.
Thank you for following our journey, for your interest in the lives of the animals, for all the kind and motivating messages and your loyal support during all this time.
Everyone at the farm likes to wish you a happy, relaxing and healthy Christmas season full of joy, smiles, lots of yummy food and great company to remember good times together while making new memories.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Take care, stay warm and cozy,