Meet the rescued animal residents of Austin Farm Sanctuary! Founder Chris Fuller-Wigg shares the heartwarming stories of the sanctuary's rescued chickens, who were saved from a local Tractor Supply; Mini Hop the rabbit, who was surrendered when a family lost interest; and Lily the dog, who was found injured in a shed with her newborn puppies.
Austin Farm Sanctuary's mission is not only to provide a forever home for their animal residents, but to inspire change in the community. Many of the animals in their care represent species that are traditionally raised for food or entertainment. They aim to shift the way society perceives and values farmed animals by sharing their residents' stories and educating visitors about the benefits of a vegan lifestyle.
Tractor Supply Chicks
Our "Marvel" flock joined us in the fall of 2019. They were all babies when we found them slowly dying in the back room of our local Tractor Supply. They were a part of "Chick Days" where Tractor Supply and other feed stores across the country sell chicks/ducklings at a few days old each Spring and Fall. In order to do this, the chicks/ducklings are shipped all over the country at a day old. This puts a tremendous strain on the poor babies and many die in transit. Of those that survive, many get sick and are taken to a room out of view to either recover or die. They are given little attention or focused care in the back room and often die.
Luckily we have a relationship with our local Tractor Supply and they allow us to pull them from the back room and bring them to the sanctuary. Unfortunately some of the chicks/ducklings are too far gone and die at the sanctuary. They die knowing a kind human touch, love and with a name. For those that survive, they are the lucky ones. They have a whole life ahead of them. A life to spend amongst their friends, with no human purpose, function or expectation.
Mini Hop has a similar story to many bunnies, once a family pet but the kids lost interest. We took in Mini Hop years ago to give her the perfect bunny life. She has a home inside and outside to use depending on the weather. Mini Hop is 13 years old (quite old for a bunny) and the oldest resident at Austin Farm Sanctuary. As she's gotten old, she's remained spry but has encountered a fair amount of health issues.
Bunnies are often seen as a short-term/easy commitment for families to take on. We've found this to be very inaccurate. Bunnies poop a lot (studies show they poop about 100 poops a day), they have particular health needs and potentially $1,000s of care in their life time. Furthermore, bunnies require much more space than typical cages provide. They should have space to hop around and live a bunny life.
This sweet mama has a pretty tragic story (with a happy ending). When we first heard about Lily she was living in an abandoned shed with her newborn babies. To make matters worse, she was missing a leg. It appeared as though, and was later confirmed, that Lily had been shot. This caused her leg to eventually rot and fall off.
We rushed to her rescue and game planned how to safely get her and her 5 puppies out of the shed. We took precautions when getting to the puppies just in case she was aggressive/protective. We quickly realized she was happy to get some help and love. She very kindly allowed us to remove her babies and then let us carry her from the shed, licking Chris in gratitude. We loaded Lily and her puppies up and took them to the emergency vet to get Lily's leg looked at and make sure the puppies were healthy. She had surgery to clean/close up her wound and started on some medication.
Over the next few weeks we worked with local animal control to find her puppies fosters/forever homes and gave Lily some time to heal. Lily is so lovable and sweet, we originally hoped to adopt her out too. However, Chris couldn’t get her out of his head. He kept dreaming about her and having flashbacks to carrying her exhausted body to the truck, bawling, while she licked him in appreciation and comfort. Lily’s forever home was right here with us and many other furry/hooved/feathered friends were waiting. The rest is history. Lily LOVES to play and has the most special zoomies in the world. She is an excellent napper and loves to race her friends inside to be the first to the bean bag. She is one of the most special creatures you will ever meet.
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