Meet the Animals

Meet the Animals

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Butters came to us in August of 2014 after suffering utter neglect. He was malnourished, riddled with parasites, matted, and his hooves were so long they curled up like elf shoes! Worse than his physical condition was his distrust and dislike of people. Thankfully, Butters blossomed here at the Haven into the most gorgeous, sassy boy!  He has filled out, his eyes sparkle, and his coat is the most beautiful gold. He has also overcome his fears! He now nickers and comes a-runnin' when he sees people. He cheerfully takes treats from everyone and loves spending his days in the pasture with his new best mini-donkey buddy. Butters is a heart-warming success story and such a charismatic individual – we would be lost here at the farm without him.

Boaz is mini-donkey facing eminent death when he found himself in a kill-pen at a PA auction house in 2018. One by one the other horses and minis around him were rescued but Boaz remained with his head held low and no expression on his long face. With one day left before he was to be shipped to Canada for slaughter Hope Haven scrambled to get him transported to the Sanctuary. He arrived with a deformed front hoof, multiple bites wounds from being corralled with other horses, and all his "man parts" intact. He wasn't neutered! Male donkeys have a reputation for being quite dominant when left intact so we were worried how he would get along with our other animals. Before a castration surgery we wanted to trim his hooves and give him time to recuperate from the stress of his auction house ordeal. On the day the farrier was scheduled Boaz had to share a stall with Butters to wait. And a beautiful thing happened!  These two instantly became best friends!  Boaz showed no aggression toward Butter but only wanted to be close and nuzzle him. Turns out Boaz doesn't have a mean bone in his body so his risky surgery was cancelled! The two tiny equines have been together ever since!

This brother sister duo had such a sad start in life. Achu and Gusundheit are Duroc hogs born into the meat industry and sent to auction when they were still tiny babies. They were bought by a farmer intent on raising them to slaughter for meat. But then an amazing thing happened!  This farmer noticed how intensely these two loved each other. They ate together, played together, and snuggled with each other at night. The farmer had a rare change of heart and called the national Farm Sanctuary in NY for help. Achu and Gunny were saved!  And not a moment too soon!  The piglets had caught a deadly infection at the auction house (a horrible place filled with terrified and stressed animals carrying many diseases). The Sanctuary staff rushed them to Cornell Veterinary Hospital for emergency care. The pigs survived but the damage was done. The virus had penetrated and destroyed cartilage in their sensitive snouts causing them to be stunted and misshapen. Because of this damage they constantly have to sneeze out dust and pollen they sniff up. All this sneezing can even lead to occasional nose bleeds. Poor babies! But their bond with each other never faltered and they love their lives here together at Hope Haven. We couldn't be more thrilled to have them! Because they need special TLC they live in the barn instead of in the big pig pasture with our other four farm hogs. Of course we are there to wipe their noses and give them medications when needed and they repay us with tons of love and snuggles. They are the sweetest big red puppy dogs!

RIGBY was our first experience with the fabulousness of emus!  He came to us when a local farmer downsized his animals due to a job loss. His plan was to raise emus for their meat but he had grown fond of the birds so was willing to let this young male grow up in the safety of a sanctuary. What a bird, what a bird!  Rigby instantly OWNED the farm and the heart of our founder, Karen, with his larger-than-life personality. He loves human companionship and plops to the ground instantly if you stroke his soft feathers. He is a insidious rascal and the sole reason we can't plant flowers on the farm. His LOVES to pluck them out one by one; such fun!

RENO JET is the resident baby of the group. He came to us as the cutest spotted chick! We secretly hoped for a girl emu to help deflect Rigby's increasingly demonstrative "amore" toward the Sanctuary's founder and caretaker. With Reno's long, coy eyelashes we were sure we had a lady in the flock. But when puberty struck Reno started the characteristic male grunting noises. The truth was revealed! He is the jumpiest of our crew and prone to over-grooming his feathers but he really is just the sweetest. And his beautiful face should grace emu calendar covers everywhere. A true model emu!

WHITE SPARROW and FINCH are our two youngster females. How will you know who is who? White Sparrow has a HUGE crush on Rigby and follows him everywhere. She is a pretty little girl with light colored feathers that almost look frosted. Finch is a large serious bird who stays to herself but can sometimes be found resting with Reno. She has a very stately confidence and no nonsense manner that we all greatly respect.

Two baby Pygmies, Gary and Lamby, arrived at the farm due to their owner being transferred to Canada. The Pygmies have free range of the farm and can often be found lounging on the front porch of the house or snuggled up together in the hay loft.

Joining the goat herd are Rocket the Toggenburg and Dixon the alpine. These two have a common viral disease called CAE (caprine arthritis encephalitis) so they live in a separate pasture. This condition can lead to multiple problems such as arthritis, weight loss, pneumonia, and encephalitis and is easily transmitted from mom to baby. Sadly goats testing positive for CAE are often culled (killed) in the meat and milk industry. This would have been the sad fate for Dixon if he wasn't able to come live at the Haven. We are very fortunate to be able to enjoy the antics and gentle demeanor of our wonderful goats!

Rocky and Kevin are our newest boys! They are boer goats and just the cutest pair. Surprisingly they both can from different places and circumstances but they look very similar and are almost exactly the same height and size! Brothers from another mother? Yes, indeed!

One March day in 2014, while there was a break in the snow, a trailer pulled into the farm driveway. Within a few minutes the back doors swung open and two nervous llamas pranced down the ramp and into our hearts. These two unwanted beauties were saved by a Good Samaritan from deplorable conditions.  Sadly, even after being saved, the two animals had no where to go. Without Hope Haven they may not have had any place to call HOME. Louise passed away in 2018 but blue-eyed CARL is still sharing the pastures here with the other hoofed stock. He is the first in the barn at feeding time, leaning his looooong neck over the stall doors in the hopes of a handful of treats or an alfalfa cube. Carl has made our family a little bigger and a whole lot better!

Carl passed away in early 2021. RIP sweet, sweet boy.

Jack is a 18 year old, very stately alpaca that came to Hope Haven in the summer of 2013. In 2021 two sweet ladies came to join bachelor Jack! Twyla and Starla!  Now alpaca can be known for their spitting ability when irritated. They are able to regurgitate up a good-sized wad of stomach cud to projectile spit at anyone bothering them. Not only is this wet and gross but it STINKS!  Luckily our Jack has impeccable manners and has only unloaded a loogie at Richard, the farm dog but never at a human companion.  Thank goodness!

Alpaca and llamas are often raised for their fiber which can be woven into many products. We shear Jack with his lady friends and the sheep every spring so they can be cool and comfy in the hot summer months. But none of our animals need to "earn-their-keep" here by giving us their fiber or wool! We love them just for being them!

A wonderful flock of turkey live at the Haven!  Dixie Lee is a Broad Breasted turkey saved directly from a factory farm as a youngster. She was living in horrid conditions, packed in among hundreds of other birds, none of whom received any individual attention or veterinary care. Once nursed back to health she became a permanent residents of the Haven and is the shining sweetheart of the farm! Her soft peeps fill the barn as she happily explore and socialize. Recently we took in Scout who was being raised as a pet with someone's chickens. She is the youngster of the group and certainly has the most adventurous spirit! Red is a Bourbon Red turkey that was relocated to us from another sanctuary. Wyatt is a sassy young tom who was rescued from an auction and now proudly parades along with our farm tours and even helps lead some of our yoga classes!

We carefully monitor all our birds because domesticated breeds, especially the broad breasted from the meat industry, can sometimes gain too much weight. This excess can take a toll of their legs and cardiovascular health which can lead to medical issues. Turkey are the most pure and trusting of all farm animals (in our humble opinion) with huge soulful eyes and soft inquisitive coos. They deserve to live happy, healthy, protected lives and we are committed to giving that life to t

Five standard-sized roosters and seven bantam roos call Hope Haven home! Our farm is just a cacophony of crows!!!

Almost all our boys are casualties of the backyard chicken movement. Pittsburgh city ordinances now allow urban residents to legally keep several hens. Sadly, there are many well-intentioned borough residents discovering that 50% of fluffy peeps grow up to to be boisterous boys that are not welcome within the city limits. Open-door shelters have become inundated with these unwanted birds. And it is almost impossible to find safe, pet-quality homes for all of them.

Due to space limitations we were fortunate that four of our big Red Ranger boys were rescued together. They were victims of a transport truck accident on a NY highway. Rather than be bothered, the truck driver left several crates of birds to die along the side of the road. Luckily these "brothers from another mother" were rescued by a local sanctuary and came to the Haven together. With no ladies to fight over these boys have been able to remain housed together. Ironically these potential "fighters" are the most docile boys of all our roosters! Our little flock of bantam roosters were all hand-raised for the show ring but then discarded by their owners. These pint-sized peanuts also share a coop together. The bantams tend to be the most vocal of all the boys. Little bodies, BIG attitudes!

We are thankful that so many of our roosters are gregarious enough to live together. This has allowed us to take in more boys than we normally would have room for. It is truly overwhelming the number of calls we get every week from people desperate to get rid of young birds they "thought would be hens". This frustrating problem often has heartbreaking consequences. And it is the innocent birds that end up being dumped at local parks, left on the side of the road, given to farms where they are slaughtered for meat, or euthanized at shelters. No animal should be considered a "mistak

Every spring, humane societies can expect to get in boxes full of scruffy young chicken. This is the sad fate of many Easter peeps that people buy to entertain their children. Most people don't consider the future of the birds who can live 8-10 years, so when the chicks begin to blow their fluffy down, and children lose interest in them, they are boxed up and dropped off at shelters. Many of the Haven hens came to us in this way. Others were confiscated from poor conditions by police and several were caught as "strays" by animal control authorities. Our beautiful flock includes contains egg-laying ladies, beautiful show breeds, and even petite bantam hens.

We are often asked what we do with the eggs our chickens lay? We feel strongly that no babies should be born at the Sanctuary. There are just too many unwanted farm animals in the world. It would be irresponsible for us to bring in more, right? We collect our hens' eggs every day so they do not have time to incubate and hatch. But what to do with all those eggs? They are not wasted! We feed them to our hogs and pigs, mix them into our farm dogs daily kibble, and even hard boil them and feed them back to the chickens!  This may sound a bit cannibalistic but eggs are a good source of protein for them and the shells provide needed calcium.

We love watching the funny antics of all the hens and appreciate their insect-control abilities. The farm would not be the same without them!

A very sad issue we deal with here at the Sanctuary is the repercussions of animals being "used" in the classroom. Even in this day and age ducklings are frequently hatched in small incubators to show children the "miracle of life". But when the school project is over there is a scramble to get rid of the babies. What does this disregard for life teach our children?? Many of the Pekin ducks at Hope Haven are from classroom experiments while most of the other ducks are unwanted pets purchased for a few dollars around Easter. Domesticated ducks are sweet and enjoy human companionship. They are bred to be big since historically they were raised for their meat. Because of their heavy bodies they are unable to fly and do not have the instinct to migrate. Sadly all-too-many owners are not educated on this fact and leave unwanted ducks at ponds or lakes thinking they will be happy being "free". These unfortunate individuals are quickly killed by predators or perish without human care when the cold winter approaches.

Luckily our webbed ensemble live happy and safe lives here at the Sanctuary. We have quite a wonderful mix of Pekins, Khaki Campbells, Rouens, Cayugas, Muscovy, Orpingtons, and Puffs. There are also Embden, Chinese, and Pilgrim geese that share the yard. Waterfowl can often be seen gamboling around the farm, mingling in the pond, or traipsing about the fields. The ducks usually travel in single file which won a group of Pekins their military names: Captain Applesauce, Commander Candy Corn, General Lima Bean, Lieutenant Sweet Potato, and Officer Pancake.

There's nothing as happy as a duck preening it's feathers in the sunshine!

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Hope Haven Farm Sanctuary, 2506 Wexford Bayne Rd., Sewickley, PA 15143

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