It is hard work running a farm animal sanctuary any day, but it really gets tough during the winter. “Normal” winters are not that big of a deal, the average temp is mostly in the upper 30’s to low 40’s, but the last two years have been anything but average. When we woke up Friday the 20th here at PEAK, the temperature was 18 degrees below zero. It really breaks your heart when you see the big pigs in the shelter snuggled together when it is that cold. They have heaters and are sheltered, but you really wish you could just bring them in the house, or cover them with giant heating blankets, or just make the dang cold go away. When it is that cold, it is just hard on all beings involved.
We have been cruising along pretty good and thought we were going to escape the season with a mild winter, then 8 inches of snow hit, sub-zero temps for a prolonged time, and a day or two of freezing rain and sleet to top it off. For several weeks the temperatures have remained at least 20 degrees below average.
The animals are taking it in stride for the most part. The goats did stay in the barn for several days. There were a couple days where the pigs were out frolicking with one another, running in circles, wagging their tails around, in the fresh snow – like most kids. However, like the rest of us, they too are growing weary of the cold and are ready for spring – a little more outdoor time, space from the family, and plenty of foliage to nibble.
The harsh weather is hardest on the pig hooves, the ground freezes creating jagged edges that are just right for chipping hooves. It is also hard on the soft pad (called the heel on a pig), that makes much more contact with the ground during these frigid conditions.
So send a little love our way as winter winds down and help us send out a really big wish for spring. It really is just around the corner, and that means visiting season will be ramping up again. As excited as all the beings are to be done with winter, they are even more excited at the thought of all the lovely folks who will be visiting and giving belly rubs real soon.
Mark Pruitt, Co-Founder