Since we stayed at the cabin on Saturday night and the farm is not open to the public on Sunday, we got our very own private tour! We started off in the visitor center, where we watched a short film about the origins of Farm Sanctuary and the cruelties of factory farming. I could barely watch the factory farming scenes…even though they were pretty tame, I’ve become a complete crybaby when I see any animal suffering.
Our guide, Autumn (OMG we have the same name!), was super sweet and gave us an amazing introduction to the animals. We walked over to visit with the geriatric herd, who were sweetly munching grass and were happily ignoring us. Hanging out with them was a former veal calf, Elliot, who was just the coolest dude. He let me give him big hugs and ear scritches and nearly knocked me over just by swinging his head! Then he got interested in my jeans and gave me a bath. Cow tongues are rough!
We then walked over to the chicken barn, which was filled with rescued hens from an egg farm that had been abandoned by the owner after he didn’t have enough money to pay for the slaughter of the spent hens. I don’t even know what to say. I remember the news story — 50,000 hens were left to starve to death. By the time authorities realized what was happening, 45,000 had already died. The surviving hens were rescued, thank goodness, but my heart grieves for all the souls who didn’t make it. Despite all they’ve been through, the hens we visited were friendly and perky. They came right up to us and gently pecked at our shoes and pants. When I bent down to pet one of the girls, the rest started pecking my behind! That was a big surprise!! I loved their sweet crooning; it just made me melt!
Even though the hens are considered “spent” by the egg industry (i.e., they don’t produce enough eggs to be economically viable for the farm), they still lay eggs on a regular basis. It was really cute to see the girls squeezing together two to a nest box even though there were plenty of empty boxes for them to occupy! They just wanted snugglez! If you’re curious, the eggs, shell and all, are fed back to the hens because it’s a great way to return the calcium and protein that gets depleted from their little bodies due to continuous egg laying.
Saying goodbye to the hens, we went over to the pigs’ barn, where everyone was cuddled up in big mounds of hay. We got to give belly scratches to giant smiling piggies!!
One of the pigs was separated from the rest of the herd because she had injured her leg. Unfortunately, this happens a lot because their bodies are bred to be so gigantic (just like cattle) that their joints can’t support all that weight and they get hurt really easily. This poor girl was obviously bored and totally unhappy to be separated from her friends. She immediately came over to greet us and was full of impatient little snorts.
Next to the pig barn were the goats and sheep, and one of the first to greet us was Madeline, followed quickly by Ivan, the old man of the group. He wanted all the attention and just leaned up against us. I almost lost some body parts to his horns!
Molly was another sweetie pie who demanded scratches. I love her little underbite!
And here are some sheep and goat butts for your viewing pleasure. I had no idea sheep’s tails are usually docked.
At that point, our official tour was over and we got a chance to just wander around the farm a bit. We said hello to the turkeys, who were very friendly and curious about us! One of the turkeys walked right up to me and made the sweetest little chirps and coos. We just hung out like that for 15 minutes!
At that point, all the animals started to get excited because it was lunch time! We ran into some steer who were waiting patiently for their hay and butting their heads together. It was pretty cute.
Once their hay was set out they insisting on eating from the same trough, even though they had lots of room!
We made our way back to the visitor center at the people barn, where I picked up a Farm Sanctuary shirt and said goodbye to Autumn, and then were on our way!
Since this is the vegan month of food, I suppose I should actually have a little section in today’s post about food. That day for lunch we made hummus, veggie, and tofurkey wraps and snacked on chips, salsa, and guacamole hummus. I didn’t get any pictures of anything, though, except for this dorky one in which I am a dried mango pirate. Ha ha ha!
Hope everyone had a good weekend! Keep on MoFoing!