Meet the Bilsthorpe sanctuary that cares for farm animals with special needs
Manor Farm Charitable Trust has been taking in ‘livestock in need’ since 2011, having moved into its Church View farm in 2005 and expanded its animal count.
On site are elderly and disabled goats, sheep and pigs, who arrive at the sanctuaries for special care and attention as they move into the latter stages of their lives.
“The special animals started coming to us from rescues”, says Di Slaney, founder and trustee of Manor Farm Charitable Trust.
“We are able to take on deaf, elderly and special needs animals who will stay with us for the remainder of their lives.
“All the animals have spectacular characters and personalities, and while I don’t have a particular favourite I find we cope really well with the elderly goats”, she says.
Looking after the animals can be a strain on the staff at the Manor Farm, who have started working shifts until as late as 10 o’clock at night to accommodate the late summer sunset.
“It is both difficult and interesting to deal with the animals, and it can be upsetting working with animals in the final stages of their lives.
“We do have a lot of funny moments especially with the group of sheep who go crazy whenever we feed them!
“Most days we get a lot of comedy moments and it’s certainly a very positive place to be”, she adds.
A lot of the animals at the sanctuary are living for longer than livestock with special needs generally survives, putting a strain on the farm as they take on more animals.
Di puts this down to better and healthier resources and says it mirrors the human world.
She adds: “We have an aging population of sheep and goats at our farm that mirrors the human population.
“A lot of the animals are old but they’re still alive and proving how strong they are!”
One of the biggest challenges in looking after the special needs animals is the individual requirements that are needed to accommodate their care.
“We have to give them special consideration in segregated areas, especially those who do not mix well with other animals.
“For example we have three difficult goats who will not integrate but enjoy playing on the grass in their own way.
“Every animal is routined and if you change this routine in any way it will cause them stress, a bit like humans in some ways.”
Manor Farm Charitable Trust will continue to home elderly and special needs animals for years to come, holding sanctuary for livestock that is ostracised by the rest of the farmland community.