Welcome home!

HEEFS June 2018 newletter


Welcome home


At Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary we've had the privilege of being able to offer sanctuary to over 50 animals ranging from cows to bunnies. Each and every resident who now calls HEEFS home was once what we call an "intake". This means that they arrived at HEEFS and began their journey through our intake process.


Check it out

When a new resident arrives at HEEFS, the first thing that happens is a complete health check. 

Depending on the condition of the animal, this may be done by us, by a vet or both. If the animal requires medical attention, that is taken care of immediately. This is done for the health and safety of everyone at HEEFS - 2-legged and 4-legged.

A little R&R

After the initial health checks are done, the new resident will take up temporary residence in our quarantine facility.

Typically, if there are no special circumstances, a resident will stay here for about a month. During this time they will be closely monitored for any health or behavioural concerns. We will also do lab tests to check for parasites or other diseases. Once an animal gets the "all clear", we can begin the integration process.

Getting to know you...

Integration means bringing the new animal into the barn, pasture or coop where they will live with other HEEFS residents. This process varies depending on the species of animal we are integrating. For example, sheep are easy to integrate. They generally take to new members of their flock without much fuss. Chickens and pigs, on the other hand, live in a strict social hierarchy and require a more staged integration so they have time to adjust to the newcomer and he, or she, can establish their place in the group. 

Sometimes it takes longer than usual to integrate a resident into their new family. There can be many reasons for this. For example, Tammy B - our newest pig, is still undergoing the integration process months after she was taken out of quarantine. This is because she was fairly small when she arrived, so we had to be extra careful about putting her with pigs that are three and four times her size. Now that she's bigger, she is being given "fence time" with the other pigs so they can slowly get to know each other. Before long, Tammy, like every new resident of HEEFS, will find her place in the herd..


Watching our garden grow

We've got squash and melons and berries...oh, my!

Our garden beds are looking good! With the help of our regular volunteers and our volunteer workday visitors, our residents are getting to enjoy some delicious fresh fruit and veggies from our very own garden and orchard.

Not everything is ready for eating yet, but soon we'll be serving up lettuce, carrots, kale, spinach, turnips, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, zucchini, cucumber, cabbage and bok choi, tomatoes, squash, peppers, beans, peas and corn, along with a variety of berries, peaches, apples and melons!


Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Christine! 

Like so many of our regular volunteers, Christine was introduced to HEEFS through a friend and got to know us first on Facebook. It wasn’t long before she decided that she would join her friend for a couple of volunteer work days and she was hooked! Christine quickly became a regular volunteer when she had to give up fostering cats for Toronto Cat Rescue due to a move and she was looking for a more permanent way to share her love of animals.

Today, as Tour Manager, Christine is at HEEFS every weekend and for every public tour and volunteer work day. She also conducts tours of HEEFS and loves to share her many stories about the residents and the other volunteers. “I love getting to know the residents and helping out in any way I can,” Christine told us, “and it’s so amazing to watch friendships form like Dolly and Nancy, and Donna and Moby.” Christine shared with us one very special memory of moving the “big heads” – Escalade, BJ, Jasmine, Pouty and Sir Denver, from one pasture to another. There were many volunteers out that day and Denver, being the shiest of the big heads, was reluctant to move through the gates even with coaxing. That’s when Derek suggested that the volunteers give him some “privacy” and turn their backs to him. That did the trick. As soon as no one was watching, Denver made his way into the new pasture. It’s that connection with the residents and understanding each of them as individuals that Christine finds so heartwarming about HEEFS.

We're more than halfway there!

A big heartfelt thank you to everyone who has donated to The Esther Scanner Fundraiser. We are just over halfway to our goal but we still need your help to raise the full $508,000 USD needed to purchase and install this one-of-a-kind, large animal CT-scanner at the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College.

Find our more about why this scanner is so important for providing proper medical care for large animals and help us make this dream a reality. No donation is too small! 

Donate now!