Monday, 1 July 2019

Winter in the Valley

By Chris R.

The Valley had only a little summer and autumn rain this year, so winter has been a long awaited event. The rainwater tanks were dry for many months and the local waterbirds struggled to swim in the dam. Without rain and with a low dam level, both the animals and humans of PVAS rely on bore water which is slowly pumped into large tanks.  

Vera goat sits on the dam wall, overlooking dark clouds rolling in

The first rains came with storms in late May. The Valley received over 70mm of rain. Dust turned to mud within hours and the animals took cover from the heavy downpours. 

In just two days a green cover could be seen throughout the paddocks and the animals enjoyed grazing on the tiny blades of grass as they erupted from the mud.  

The flock having hoof trims in readiness for winter

The excitement of rain can bring Sanctuary challenges. With the ground sodden, Spud the Donkey developed a painful abscess on his foot, requiring a visit from Dr Jill.

A poultice dressing and pain relief soon had our donkey friend feeling better and reminded us to be vigilant of all the hooved residents who may encounter the same issue. 

Baby April and Peter rest inside in the warm as the stormy weather arrives in the Valley
The sheep and goat families had foot checks and hoof trims, ensuring they were also ready for the damp conditions. 

Leaks in enclosures were identified and extra clothes lines hung to cope with increasing lamb laundry.

The red berries of the Hawthorn adorn the bare branches

The Valley's winter weather is accompanied by incredible sunrises and rainbows. Spectacular skies are a highlight of early morning feed times. The deciduous trees stand naked, allowing sunshine to reach the ground below and warming resting animal residents. 

We hope that animals everywhere keep warm and safe this season and that winter is a kind one for all. 

Jessie the goose tucks into her straw nest on cold nights

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