Many vegans have a dream or a vision in their mind about one day operating a farm animal sanctuary. We feel compelled to do more to help the animals that so many discard, use, and consume. For these people, they see this idyllic, fairy tale land, where everyone gets along and is happy and content, and people living in harmony as one, with the animals. That's all well and good, but it is not reality. Don't get me wrong, dreams are good, but if you get into something without knowing the realities, you'll be hit hard and could easily give up and quit.
Let's get one thing straight. SANCTUARY LIFE IS NOT GLAMOROUS.
Read that over again, slowly, and let that sink in. I think a lot of people believe that operating a sanctuary is this glamorous life full of fancy events and rubbing elbows with vegan celebs and napping with fuzzy cows all day every day, when in reality, it's anything but.
Operating a sanctuary is a difficult, time consuming, physically exhausting, mentally and emotionally draining, full-time, 24 hour a day job that most people are not cut out for. I think people have cats and dogs and believe that caring for farm animals won't be much different.
So let's get into the nitty gritty, shall we?
Operating a Sanctuary is:
Now that you have a small glimpse of the reality of owning and operating a farm animal sanctuary, do you still think you could handle it? Are you prepared to do everything yourself? Because people talk a big game, but when it comes down to it, volunteers aren't easy to come by, and funds are even more difficult. We started by doing what we could, with what we had. Everyone should. We need more people in this world to step up and care for more of these animals, but you need to be prepared, and not have unrealistic visions of what's to come. And if you aren't prepared for all this, GIVE to people that are. Give to people that ARE doing something to help animals RIGHT NOW!
As always, reach out to us for help, guidance, and questions about caring and protecting a flock of chickens. And thank you for any amount you can spare. Tax deductible donations can be made via PayPay, our Facebook page, or sending checks to: Sky's the Limit Sanctuary, P.O. Box 735, Fox Island, WA 98333.
In early to mid-March, Oreo began acting 'off'. It began with her being less interested in treats every morning. She also developed this sunken, kind of depressed, appearance. Not her usual perky self, aside from the 'angry eyes' she sports, of course.
On the morning of March 19th, Oreo's balance was off, and she was very unstable. We called the vet and got her an emergency appointment.
During the exam, it was discovered that she was jaundiced, but there was no fluid in her abdomen, which was good news. The x-rays didn't show a stuck egg, so the doctor presumed kidney and/or liver disease. Oreo was put on a liver supplement, an antibiotic, and something for pain/anti-inflammatory. Since she was still eating and interested in preening, we were sent home with directions to follow up in 3-5 days if she wasn't showing signs of recovery.
On March 24th, we returned to the vet with no improvement. All the meds she was on hadn't done anything for 5 days. At this point, the vet didn't have much hope. She said it was likely cancer and tumors were likely causing the jaundice and possibly pressing on a nerve causing the balance issues. I inquired about CBD oil, and she wasn't familiar with the treatment in chickens, but said we could try Hemp Seed Oil, by adding it to her food. We got a refill of pain meds, because we wanted to make sure she was comfortable. At that point, I started speaking with my friend Tami, who has treated cancer in one of her own chickens using CBD oil. We went out and bought the oil, and Tami guided us through the first steps.
When Oreo started the oil, we feared the cancer was too progressed to make a difference and it was only a matter of time before she left us. She was in such bad shape. She fell over very frequently, especially when trying to defecate. While her appetite was good, it was difficult for her to stay standing very long in order to eat at the dish. We were close to euthanasia, because her quality of life was not what we wanted for her. However, we wanted to give the CBD oil at least a week before losing hope. But there were many mornings that first week after March 19th, that we went to give her meds in the morning, and weren't sure we'd find her alive. It was very touch-and-go.
We slowly increased her dose, diluted with the coconut oil, and she always maintained an appetite. On the nice days, we would take her outside to visit her friends and feel the sunshine.
It didn't take long before we started to see subtle changes in her. Over time, she needed less assistance to stand back up and her tail started to rise. She also slowly got her voice back! Soon, it was every single day we saw improvement.
Oreo is our miracle. It finally feels so good to help one. We have suffered so much loss, we needed this for morale. She continues to improve and amaze us. She goes to bed and gets up on her own, when we leave the room, she squawks for us to return, and she doesn't fall down hardly at all! Her balance isn't 100%, but very close. She putters around the kitchen searching from crumbs and keeps us entertained with her antics. She LOVES popcorn, sunflower seeds, and raisins! We don't know if the CBD oil has halted the progression of the cancer, or reversed it, we're just happy she's happy and comfortable!
There's no way of knowing how long she has left, but we will continue with the CBD oil as long as she's with us. The power of this amazing, healing plant, astounds us. Everyone should have access to this medicinal plant! If you'd like to sponsor Oreo, click the Sponsor A Chicken button on our home page, and you can contribute to her care. She would love healing thoughts as well! Thank you & stay tuned for updates on her!
This first quarter of 2017 has been absolutely crazy with events and illness and rescues! So much news to catch up on, each deserving of their own post!
A local friend reached out to us, because a co-worker of his came across some stray chickens in a Taco Bell parking lot. She was worried for their safety and wanted to find them homes. Having no previous experience with chickens, she was referred to us. She did some of the leg work in advance, and spoke with the mobile home park manager and found out they had complained and wanted them gone. Residents had even begun to abuse the strays and we observed physical signs of this while on the property. We set up a time to go out and capture them, thinking we would just assist in the catch and were told homes had already been lined up.
On this block in Tacoma, small businesses line the main road to the west, a mobile home park borders the street to the east, and this Food Bank occupies the large center portion of this area.
On March24th, the group of us met around 5pm in the rain, to capture as many as we could. We started with the two in the parking lot of the Taco Bell. They were relatively easy to catch because they stayed along the fence line. We were approached by someone from the Food Bank property, claiming they were his and were not to be taken. Shannon was able to calm the gentleman down, letting him know that the birds would be going to safety and provided clean water, food, and necessary medical care. When we showed him our business card, he realized we were legit, and he agreed to let us take as many as we could catch.
We spent probably 3 hours, the six of us, climbing trees, fences, and dodging broken glass and other debris to make this capture. That night we were able to save 7, 4 roosters and 3 hens, before nightfall. We were assured that the home that was chosen was one that would be safe, and cared for, had lots of space and that they were wanted. Not having the capacity to house all 7 ourselves, we allowed 4 to go to this home in Graham, and 3 came home with us.
We went back on March 29th for the rest, and we were able to capture 3 more hens. Meanwhile, that loving home in Graham, was having trouble with the roosters fighting. We gave them ideas and suggestions to help, but they ended up bringing Taco and Belle back that night. The following day, we drove 1 rooster and 3 hens to their forever home in Winlock, and we kept another hen, to even out our foursome. We did not allow the people in Graham to take any more hens to exploit. She wasn't very happy with us, but we have to do what's best for the chickens. There are still 2 roosters and 1 hen with her 3 babies on the Food Bank property, that the owner says he wants to keep. If the complaints from the neighbors end, this will be allowed. But animal control was involved, and we spoke with them a couple of times throughout this process. The property owner is doing the best that he can for them, but our hope is that he calls us back for the rest. For now, they are safe in quarantine with bellies full of organic feed.