Getting ready for winter

Living in Canada we get long, cold and often harsh snowy winters, and they seem to arrive overnight! One minute the animals are out grazing, and the next we’re clearing a path through the snow. That’s why it’s so important that we get everyone, and everything, at the Sanctuary ready for winter, including stockpiling extra hay, straw, feed and wood chips (for cold weather indoor potty breaks) because a heavy snowfall can limit delivery access to the property for weeks at a time.

Whoa…that’s a lot of snow!

Clearing snow around the property is a huge undertaking so we have to make sure, before the first flakes fall, that our tractor is prepped and ready for months of what could be constant snow removal. Clearing paths through the snow allows us access to the animals for feeding and refreshing their water supply as well cleaning out their stalls and replenishing their bedding. It also provides our residents with a safe space to get fresh air and exercise, if they choose to venture outside. For the safety of all the residents, and our dedicated volunteers, we also need to ensure that gates and walkways are properly prepped for safe passage in wet or slippery conditions.

Getting cozy with it!

When the temperature drops, we make sure that everyone has a warm, safe and cozy space to call their own. Colder weather means more straw for bedding and topping it up every other day. We make sure that our pigs, in particular, have enough straw to do pig things like fully cover themselves for naps and at bedtime. We also supply lots of soft blankets for an extra layer of warmth. 

They sleep…

While our big pigs, goats and sheep enjoy playing in the snow and just being outside regardless of the weather, our potbelly pigs prefer to hibernate. All the residents have the option of going outdoors during the day, but our potbellies are happy to sleep pretty much all winter long, waking up for meals and bathroom breaks and then it’s back to slumberland in their warm, cozy beds. When they are awake, we make sure to offer up enrichment activities to keep them engaged and occupied like indoor rooting games and access to fresh fruit and veggies.

we work!

The humans at Carroll’s don’t get the luxury of hibernating! The winter months bring on even more work for us with extra barn cleaning due to the potbelly pigs’ indoor potty breaks, and everyone’s condensed meals times. In the winter months our residents tend to eat breakfast later and dinner earlier which coincides with the sun rising later and setting early. We are also on constant check to ensure that their water supply isn’t frozen, and that everyone is snug and warm under their blankets.