10 lucky turkeys: the greatest gift

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Whilst not quite the Christmas gift I had imagined, the early morning call to advise that our Christmas presents were at the front gate set me off with a spring in my step, excited anticipation in my heart and a whisper of sleep in my eye. With the sun still thinking about making her ascent, and through the fading moonlight, two very large boxes greeted me. As I stared quizzically at them, my attention was diverted by the sound of tyres crunching gravel as a car sped off down the road and ten glorious, chirping baby turkeys came into my world.

Soon each one of them was lifted from the box, weighed, feet soaked in disinfectant, bodies sprayed for parasites and a kiss bestowed on each of their fuzzy, sweet heads—and I was yet again reminded of just how much I love turkeys. While their warm bodies with their soft feathers warmed my heart, the sight of the crippled stumps of their feet that once held their toes made me want to weep. How could we? How could our society allow for such a painful disfigurement of baby animals, which only added to the woes, their tiny beaks having been seared off when they were just days old.

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Westy – the rooster who didn’t “go west”!

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The expression “go west” takes its roots from the direction the sun sets, symbolising the end of the day. Figuratively it has come to mean the demise or disappearance of someone or something. Despite that scenario being high in the tea leaves for our new feathered friend, Westy, it is not the reason for his name.

Spied on the Western Highway, actually smack bang in the middle of the Western Highway, was Westy. The terrified young rooster tried to take in his dire circumstance as he looked from left to right, not knowing which way to run. It soon got even more dire when he was literally run over by a fast-moving truck. By some stroke of good fortune, or the smarts of this wily rooster, he was dead centre of the vehicle, which meant he was not to end up dead in the middle of the road, although he was left extremely ruffled and a lot the worse for wear.

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Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?

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Well, actually yes, indeed she does, and probably more than three bags full! Her name is Renee and she is a sweet-faced Black Suffolk ewe.

Renee, we were to learn, had been left behind after she had done a “runner” when her flock was rounded up and trucked off to slaughter some years prior. Sheep are flock animals, who take great comfort and security in their own kind. And whilst Renee had escaped imminent death, she certainly had perils of her own to contend with, not the least of which was the growing burden of her fleece.

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Turkeys are for lovin’….

The story of ten lucky turkeys will warm your heart and show you that they are so much more than a meal.  Oh, and they love watermelon!

To find out more about how turkeys are farmed in Australia click here and here.

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 Hey Jude (and Jasmine)

“When it is all finished you will discover it was never random.”

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There I was in Bendigo presenting at, of all things, the Food & Fibre Future Directions Conference. The location of this event was the TAFE College whose hallowed halls I had trod as a student almost 40 years before. The irony of change, on both fronts, was not lost on me as I nervously delivered my presentation, hitting the final note to a rousing round of applause. And I breathed.

But before heading home, I lingered just that little bit longer in one of my favourite cities, only to take a call from the folk back at Edgar’s Mission. I was soon to learn about a kind-hearted truck driver who had come across two wee lambs in Western Victoria (hours away from my location) aimlessly hiking down a busy country highway, no sheep or farm house in sight. “I couldn’t just leave them there or even tip them over the nearest fence, for they surely would have died,” he was later to tell me.

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Little Carmichael – the power of kindness

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“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

And never were these words truer than when little Carmichael, a lamb who at the time did not have a name or a promising future, was spied by a kind heart. Seeing the feeble young one limping along, struggling to keep up with his flock, this kind heart made attempt after determined attempt over a period of weeks to secure some assistance for the ailing animal. But sadly, her kindness was not mirrored in others, from the human responsible for his care to the various authorities charged with overseeing the welfare of farmed animals. And so, in a world where one can be just about anything, our kind heart chose to be just that—kind. Despite being several hours from Edgar’s Mission and with a young family of her own to tend to, this caller listened intently to our instructions, and, following them to a “T”, was able to negotiate the safe release of Carmichael, delivering the wee one to our care that evening.

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Hey there Georgie Girl

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The call came in late one night, as a member of the public relayed having only moments earlier come across a sheep in the middle of the road. Believing the hopelessly crippled animal had been hit by a car, they desperately sought our assist. Heading off into the dark of night, armed only with a flashlight and kindness, we nervously drove, turning down country road after country road. Just when we were starting to question our sanity, we spied the hapless animal, head peeping up amongst the long grass on the verge of the road. Indeed, her leg was a mess and in no way would it assist the freshly shorn ewe to flee. With little light to assist, it was into the van with Georgie Girl and back to the sanctuary for a more thorough assessment. Continue reading

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A Journey to Kindness

Meet Hamlet, a pig who will truly steal your heart. He was under attack from dogs trained to hunt pigs when a kind and caring neighbour stepped in to rescue the gentle boy. Hamlet is now safe and will be off to the vet shortly to have his ear assessed, you can follow his updates here.

Please note this video does contain footage that may upset sensitive viewers.

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Question: When is a raven not a raven?

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Answer: When they happen to be a “hen” who is actually a rooster. Confused? So too were we when we recently received a call from a concerned and kind-hearted member of the public who noticed a little black “hen” pecking about on their lawn recently. The plucky chicken, whilst appearing most at home, wasn’t. Because this green patch or earth was not “her” home, and many calls and door-knocking in the area revealed there was no home anywhere nearby missing one of their feathered friends. But what was nearby was a parkland area inhabited by urban foxes—not a good mix for a lone chicken. With the call for assistance coming in right on our own poultry lock-up time here at Edgar’s Mission, we simply could not abandon the animals in our care to rescue another, but we knew someone who could. With one final call to ensure the “hen” was still at the address, we heard these words, “Oh yes she is; she is happily perched on the window sill as she has been for the last couple of nights”. “Ah, ha,” we thought, “She’s a rooster”– which sadly explains why there was no home for her/him.

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Kanga: some get lucky

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Have you ever wondered why some animals get lucky and others do not? It’s something we regularly toss about in our hearts and minds each day here at Edgar’s Mission. And the story of Kanga speaks poignantly of this.

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Muffy and Duffy: sometimes it seems the world just doesn’t care

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There are few things in life that so remind us of the vulnerability of animals than those who arrive in our care in severe states of neglect. And few have arrived in a worse state than Muffy and her lamb, Duffy. That Muffy adored her baby was so evident—she had put every ounce of her being into her baby, even at the expense of her own health. Blood tests soon revealed that this courageous and loyal mother was not long for this world, as she was in the final stages of liver failure. And little Duffy … in all our years of rescue we have not seen a live lamb more emaciated than he.

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Let me tell you about Tilly

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Actually, there are two tales about Tilly; the first is the human Tilly. We recently met the young Tilly when she toured Edgar’s Mission in the company of her proud mum and sister. The tour came not long after Tilly’s birthday, where, rather than receiving presents as most young girls do on their birthdays, the kind-hearted Tilly requested, instead, donations to her favourite animal charity: Edgar’s Mission. She brought the donations to our team on the day of her tour.

And so to the tale of the second Tilly. As the universe would have it, on this very day, a little lamb in desperate need of a hand and kindness came into our care. We could think of no better name for such a sweet being than “Tilly”—they are both linked by kindness, one as the deliverer of kindness and one the recipient.

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Tickle me Elmo!!

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Whilst every day little Elmo tickles our chins, seeking the delicious taste and scents of his formula, it wasn’t always so. In fact, upon his arrival, this very young kid goat, who was found abandoned in a forest, refused point blank to feed. We have never in all of our collective lives met a tiny orphan so determined not to feed. We knew the little guy was hungry, as he would cry out, even nibbling on our trouser legs, fingers and chins, but there was absolutely no way on this earth he was going to suckle from that bottle. Absolutely NO WAY! We tried different teats, different methods and different prayers and incantations, but nothing would work. So tube feeding it was, until the day little Elmo said, “Okay, I’ll have my bottle please,” and he has never looked back!!

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Saving Bonnie and Clyde – it’s a long shot

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Message: Hi there, don’t know if you folks can help him or not, but a poor sad looking sheep has been in the pound for a couple of weeks. This morning tore my heart out as I drove past on my way to work, he stood and watched the fully laden truck with hundreds of sheep skins leave the meat works. I had to pull over on the side of the road as I was sobbing so much I couldn’t see to drive. I guess it’s a long shot, but maybe you folks can help him in some way. It was heart wrenching.  Continue reading

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Tiny Lamb

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Dwarfed by the horses who surrounded him, things were not looking good for the day-old tiny lamb. Adding to the wee chap’s woes were severely contracted tendons in his front legs, which caused him to buckle over and fall. By what circumstance this little lamb arrived in such a dire situation, we will never know, but what we do know is that it is to the good heart of a wildlife carer that he owes his life. Alerted to the plight of the orphan amidst the equines, she swung into gear—a phone call later and the aptly named Tiny Lamb was hoofing his way to Edgar’s Mission.

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Once a jolly Swagman…

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While little Swagman may well have once been a jolly little lamb as he gambolled beside his dear mum, he was certainly anything but the first time we met him.  And it was not only a broken leg that was ailing him, but two mercilessly placed rubber rings.  One on his tail and the other on his scrotum, so thoughtlessly and no doubt hurriedly placed the latter had too taken prisoner one of Swagman’s nipples.  The sum total of this painful assault on such a vulnerable and immune compromised baby was almost too much for little Swagman to bear. With his pain levels running into overdrive his interest in life and his bottle had started to wan. Wrapping little Swagman in both a blanket and our love we whispered in his little lambie ear, “you’re safe now, you’re going to Edgar’s Mission”.

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Columbia

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“I’m not sure she is going to make it,” were the first words we heard as little Columbia came into our world. Found barely clinging to life on a property with a very poor track record for caring for lambs, a kindly neighbour was able to secure the lifeline little Columbia needed to give her a chance at life—but had help come too late? Fears were heightened as the thermometer gave us little incentive for hope, but a shot of glucose, warmth and love most certainly did, for not long thereafter Columbia stood and baaed out, “What’s all the fuss about folks?” and the little mite hasn’t looked back since!

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A most welcome Vollie

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We all know that volunteers make the world go round, right? Without their endless and selfless hours of support, countless not-for-profit organisations, just like ours, would not exist. That is why we here at Edgar’s Mission salute you! And in honour of you all, we have named who could well be the sweetest and most gentle goat we have ever met – Vollie.

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Dance like no one is watching …

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And that is just what Dancing Queen and her beloved, Rudolph Nureyev, were doing, precariously close to a country road. Quickly realising that such a dancefloor was not compatible with a long life, the two homeless goats were ushered into the local pound. And, thankfully for them, they have pirouetted their way into our hearts and not the hands of a keen-eyed entrepreneur, who would have taken advantage of the rising prices for goats en-route to the live export market.

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Tiny Calf

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We could not think of a more fitting name for a sweet little tiny calf who recently came into our care than Tiny Calf – for she is both tiny and a calf! And she is simply beautiful, possessing the longest of eye lashes and the doe-iest of eyes. Although it was those doe-eyes that gave us such a start.

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Half Pint and Jules – lucky to be alive

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Whilst Half Pint is friendly and inquisitive, his buddy Jules is not. Yet despite their dissimilar dispositions, their circumstances were the same and both are lucky to be alive – although only just so by the time we learned of their tragic plight.

Half-Pint and Jules were actually two thirds of a trio, but sadly the state of neglect they endured from a backyard slaughter setup had taken such a terrible toll on the third member that he did not survive their rescue. Now putting on much needed weight and confidence (Half Pint more so than Jules), their fate is sealed, however it is going to take a lot of kindness and patience for these hapless two to realise that an entire new world awaits. A world of peace, tranquillity, lots of sheepy buddies and wheetbix treats – where no one will ever again consider them a meal.

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Pearl – we couldn’t love you any more if we tried

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Our Facebook followers have already fallen in love with Pearl, a fluffy-faced little lamb of around six weeks of age, and we are sure you will, too.

Pearl’s arrival at our sanctuary was heralded by the pungent smell of fly-strike just moments before her severely emaciate body came into view. If you have never smelled fly-strike in a living animal, consider it a blessing. But where was this deadly menace? Once gently laid on our examination table, we could see no obvious wounds. However, as soon as we lifted her tiny right hind leg those flesh-eating maggots could hide no more – although they tried their darnedest to make a hasty retreat inside the hole they had burrowed into poor Pearl’s leg.  Such a terrible oozing wound gave answer to the bloody smear little Pearl had on her nose, no doubt the result of her feeble attempts to rid herself of the wriggling menace that was eating her alive. Yes indeed, a sickening sight and smell.

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Everything is coming up Roses!

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Nothing could have prepared us for the cheeky little monkey of a lamb who is Rose. We first learned of her plight when a short video was sent to us by text: it revealed that Rose had been dealt a bad hand or, more appropriately, two dodgy front legs. Dear little Rose was struggling to get about, it was clear to see that without any intervention she was never going to thrive, let alone survive.

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Oreo – it takes a community to raise a lamb

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Oreo arrived into our care on the 30th of July, barely hours old. She had been found a short time earlier by a kind-hearted traveller on a stretch of road that sheep had clearly recently passed, as was evidenced by the numerous sheep droppings scattered about. So too it appeared a dear ewe had dropped her lamb, with the wee one being missed by those herding the sheep.

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Do you hear the lambs cry?

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Luckily for Little Acorn, a kindly neighbour did. His heart-wrenching cries rang out as the wee lamb desperately sought the love, comfort and nutrition of his dear mum. But sadly, his mother would not answer his calls as she had passed away some time earlier.

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Geraldine – someone, not something

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Whilst exploiting the natural reproductive cycle of animals is big business to some, it is also a lucrative side-line to others. Regardless of the intent, the consequences to animals are enormous and at the heart of all of this, is a life. In this case it is that of dear little Geraldine, an animal who comes with a lifetime of care and needs unique to her species.

Sadly too, this is a story we learn of all too often as an animal is treated as property and sold without full disclosure to unsuspecting people. Sellers neglecting basic checks to ensure the welfare of the animal, and typically with pigs whether they can even legally be housed by the “purchaser”. They fail to provide information as to the need for desexing, basic animal husbandry requirements and the important “ingredients” of a life truly worth living for the animal.

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Leonard T Lima

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With the normal birth weight of an alpaca ranging between 6 and 9kg, at two months old Leonard T Lima tips the scales at just over 9kg. But sadly, his woes do not end there. We have been told the wee chap was able to get around after his birth, however from there on in things took a turn for the worse and it was thought he had rickets. Rickets is a defect of the bones affecting young mammals, usually due to malnutrition, which can lead to deformities and breakages.

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Margery and Malcolm

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Margery, a saintly and elderly ewe, recently gave birth to her lamb in a country pound. Sadly, overnight a fox claimed the life of this precious baby. She was distraught when she arrived at our sanctuary not long thereafter. She desperately wanted to be a mother. Meanwhile, Malcolm, a two-day-old lamb, had watched on as his mother slipped from this world. Although losing the one he cherished most, he did not lose his will to live. He desperately needed a mother.

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Lambie Gaga

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It’s a story we hear all too often here at Edgar’s Mission—a kind-hearted neighbour witnessing the tragedy of ewe in trouble on a neighbouring property. A closer inspection reveals she has recently given birth. Contacting the landholder concerned, who unfortunately in this instance (as in many others) is an absentee farmer, the kind heart is informed, “I’ll deal with it in a couple of days, you can have the lamb, otherwise I will hit it on the head when I get there”. Sadly, the ewe passed away shortly thereafter, but the lamb did not. Taken in and offered warmth, sweet formula and kindness, the little one had just been thrown the lifeline she needed to thrive. But how many are not so fortunate? The Australian newspaper reported in 2012 this figure was 15 million lambs dying within the first 48 hours of life, with most newborns succumbing to exposure to the cold weather.

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Such a daunting statistic casts a question mark on the oft-touted remark that sheep are “supremely designed for the Australian environment”—clearly this is not true of our harsh climate. Continue reading

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Good things come in small packages!!

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Now we all know that good things come in small packages, right? But did you know that lifesaving things come in small packages covered with fur? Proof positive is a petite little Guinea Pig named Ms Truffles. Ms Truffles came into our care recently after the passing of one of our guinea pigs, Montezuma, whose passing left her partner broken-hearted and lonely. Seeing the forlorn look on little Hernando Cortez’s face each day and hearing his high-pitched little “wees” saw us seeking to find a guinea pig in need of a home. Answering our prayers were the good folk at Coldstream Animal Aid, who had recently taken in a very pretty little Abyssinian guinea pig they had named Ms Truffles. In navigating her way through our guinea pig enclosure, Ms Truffles also managed to navigate her way into Hernando Cortez’s heart.

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While guinea pigs are truly special little guys and gals, please do your research before taking them into your world, as sadly all too often, the novelty of their cuteness wears off long before the responsibility of their care and welfare does. Continue reading

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