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Fleecehaven News

‘ P R O M O T I N G H U M A N B E H A V I O U R T O W A R D S A N I M A L S B Y P R O V I D I N G C A R E , P R O T E C T I O N , T R E A T M E N T A N D S E C U R I T Y ’

Summer & Autumn 2013

The Annual BIG Clean The Summer and Autumn months at Fleecehaven were, as always, busy. However, life was certainly made much easier by the wonderful weather that we enjoyed and for once the annual ‘big clean’ was not a desperate battle against the weather. In readiness for clearing out the sheds we had three pallets of wood shavings delivered on 22nd August. Then, on the morning of the 27th, we had a call from our local agricultural contractor to say that a team were on their way to get the main shed emptied. After a day of tractors, trailers and a skid loader working endlessly to remove the spoils of a ‘year in the shed’ the hard work for us began.

was then time to start teasing out over 50 bales of barley straw to provide a soft and cosy mattress for the sheep. On 2nd September the shed was finally ready for the sheep to return and, after some initial wariness, it was not long before they were all having a good old snuffle around to ensure that the new bedding matched up to their expectations. Unfortunately for us, this did not mark

Blackie and friends check out their bedding

The skid loader fills another trailer

Over a series of days the shed was thoroughly pressure washed, disinfected and, once dry, the walls were repainted where necessary. Then the long task of putting down and evenly spreading out 106 bales of wood shavings began! Experience over the years has shown us that, although costly and labour intensive, a thick bed of shavings pays off in the long run as it minimises odour and keeps the sheep dry underfoot for the duration of the year. Once the shavings were down, it

Inside this Issue: The Annual Big Clean Newsbleat Lazy, Hazy Days Dearly Missed Natural Healing Nice to See Ewe Christmas Merchandise

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the end of the ‘BIG’ clean as it was then time to make a start on the stables. A large trailer was delivered to the yard and, after removing a deep layer of straw, the heavy task of digging out the compacted wood shavings began. Each clump was loaded into a sack, then carried to the trailer before being lifted up and then emptied out. It was tiring work and I dread to think just how many heavy sacks Emma filled, lifted and emptied before the job was completed - no wonder she has muscles like Popeye! (Continued on Page 2) Emma taking a break from digging out the wood shavings

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As with the big shed, once each stable was empty it was time to pressure wash it thoroughly, repaint where necessary and then replenish with wood shavings and straw. Unfortunately, as we were now well into September, the weather was no longer in our favour and it took several days for each stable to dry out sufficiently, both after pressure washing and painting, so the process took longer than we had hoped. However, the sheep happily shared their quarters with those who had been temporarily displaced and on the 19th September the final trailer of dung made its way out of the yard and the big clean drew to a close for another year. It’s lovely to think, despite the hard work, that as winter starts to well and truly knock on the door, the sheep are all snuggled up, safe and warm, whatever the weather decides to throw at us. The final trailer of dung ready

Newsbleat Shearing was one of the key events at Fleecehaven over the summer months. Unlike last year, the good weather meant that we were able to complete the job over two days. John, our shearer, first came out on 26th June and 86 sheep were shorn. He started with our old boys and girls and those with special needs, such as Stevie, before moving on to the rest of the flock. Three days later he returned and it wasn’t long before the whole flock were sporting short back and sides. They all seemed pleased to be rid of their fleeces given the unusually warm weather that we were experiencing.

The main flock freshly shorn Page 2

to roll

Woody, who joined Fleecehaven in May, had a short stay at our veterinary hospital in July, when he was castrated. Although a little uncomfortable for a few days, the operation was straight forward and he has made a full recovery. He has also calmed down a great deal as, prior to the operation, he was beginning to get a little butty. Woody exploring the fields having fully recovered from his operation

One of the stables after pressure washing and then after painting and replenishing with wood shavings - just the straw to go!

The Annual BIG Clean (Continued)

Roma and Cheeky also paid brief visits to the veterinary hospital for dental treatment. Whilst bringing them home in the back of our estate car that doubles up as an animal ambulance, a gentleman pulled up alongside Anne at a set of traffic lights. He wound his window down, and laughingly said how he’d never seen two sheep in a car before and how lovely it was. You can imagine how taken aback he was when, before driving off, Anne said that they’d just been to the dentist! F L E E CE H A V E N N E W S

Stevie’s fleece sadly ready for the wool board rather than our first batch of vegan wool

Throughout the summer we continued to apply Crovect to the sheep on a monthly basis. This was especially important this year because of the warmer weather and the inevitable increase in the fly population. As a result of regular spraying and great vigilance, we managed to get through the summer without a single case of fly strike. Unfortunately our decision to start applying the Crovect before shearing, because of the unseasonably warm weather, means that we have been unable to experiment with producing vegan wool this year. The local company that we had hoped would mechanically spin the wool for us are certified Organic by the Soil Association and, therefore, sheep can not be treated for three months prior to shearing. Although disappointing, the welfare of the


sheep will always be our top priority at Fleecehaven and, temperature permitting, we will hopefully be able to trial the production of vegan wool next year. On the 20th September, Fleecehaven welcomed Barley and Darcey to the flock. They both belong to Andrea Brown (see page 7). They initially moved into the red barn but have since joined the main flock in the big shed, where they are slowly finding their feet and learning to cope with the hustle and bustle of being part of a larger flock. Barley and Darcey exploring their new home with Andrea

Shaun shading himself in his favourite spot

The better weather that we enjoyed over the summer certainly helped the sheep with their feet. We did run them all through the turn-over-crate towards the end of June in order to give their claws a quick trim, but generally they were looking pretty good as the harder ground had worn down their hoof growth. The lack of mud for most of the summer significantly reduced the number of foot problems that needed treating. However, Peggy, Tigger, Ned, Shaun and Marmalade all developed foot abscesses that needed treatment. Thankfully all are now fully recovered.

Throughout the Summer and Autumn we have been busy fundraising. Events attended included the Yealmpton Agricultural Show, the Old English Fayre in South Moton, the Taunton Vegan Food Fair and the North Devon Show. All of the events proved successful and gave us an ideal opportunity to promote the work of Fleecehaven. Future planned events include Animal Aid’s Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre in Exeter on the 30th November; the Brighton VegFest on the 29th and 30th March; and the Bristol VegFest on the 25th May. If you are able, please do come along and support us; it would be lovely to see you. North Devon Show, Umberleigh

Yealmpton Agricultural Show

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Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer and Autumn 2013 Rebel taking the weight off his feet

Tiptoes and Tinkerbell dappled by the shade of the Walnut Tree

Milly shading herself in the orchard

Ben waiting patiently for their pedicure in the ‘turn-over’ crate

Jessie showing off her new haircut

Mitzy posing for a picture

Martha, Woolly and friends Percy heading home

Roma enjoying her new home

The Grand ‘Old Ladies’ Club

Wizard enjoying the summer sun

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Stevie having a go on the ‘back scratcher’

Murphy relaxing in the fields

Rose and Flora waiting for treats

Dougal being inquisitive

Joan slowly gaining trust in humans

Alfie enjoying cuddles with Emma

Summer Grazing


Bissy taking a stroll in the top fields

Morgan playing ‘peek-a-boo’ in the red barn!

Kylie wondering if she can eat the camera

Harvey ‘homeward’ bound

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Dearly Missed

Shaun, Aged 15

The passing of dear Jack has left a terrible void in all of our lives. He joined the Fleecehaven team in April 2001 and, until recent years when he lost his sight, worked tirelessly with Emma to keep the flock in order! He loved nothing more than riding on the quad bike or rounding up the sheep during his working day and was constantly at Emma’s side. However, at night he quickly assumed the role of being Jayne’s pampered pooch and enjoyed snuggling up in front of the fire and having cuddles in bed. He really was a remarkable boy and he will always be held dear in our hearts.

We also had to say a very sad goodbye to our original Shaun. Shaun had been hand-reared as a lamb after being found near to death following rejection by his Mother. He spent some time with us in Sussex, prior to Fleecehaven being established and never lost his tameness following such close contact with us during his early months. He was always in and around the yard and we all miss him deeply. Sweet little Lupin also passed away. She had been living in the house for a number of months following the diagnosis of an age related neurological problem and had been doing really well. However, she took a turn for the worse and we sadly had Lupin, Aged 14 to say goodbye. Finally, we also lost dear Paddington. Despite making a full recovery following surgery on his foot earlier in the year, he became poorly once again and we had no alternative but to say goodbye. Again, as one of our ‘old’ boys he is very much missed.

Paddington, Aged 12

Jack, Aged 16

The summer and autumn months have sadly seen us say goodbye to some of our original and deareFleecehaven residents.

‘Not the least hard thing to bear whey they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of own lives.’ John Galsworth, English novelist and playwright Page 6


Natural Healing by Andrea Brown MHAO Hello there! The wonderful team at Fleecehaven have asked me if I would write a feature for their newsletter in the hope that supporters may find it of interest. I am very happy to oblige and I hope that the nature of my work may appeal to you. By way of background I left the MoD last year after 26 years service and took the opportunity to begin a new career in complementary medicine for animals. I have since graduated from a diploma course in animal healing with Elizabeth Whiter and am now self-employed and endeavouring to build my own business helping animals and their guardians. I am also studying applied zoopharmacognosy with Caroline Ingraham. I will explain more about these areas of complementary health below. Animal healing is a gentle, deeply relaxing, energy balancing treatment which you may be more familiar with as Reiki. It involves the channelling of universal healing energies through the ‘healer’ to the recipient. Totally non-denominational, it is an holistic approach which has been used for thousands of years. Many schools of ancient medicine share the common foundation of the mind/body/ spirit connection and the concept of the energy field (the aura) which surrounds the body. Healing treatments help the patient to achieve balance/equilibrium/homeostasis, better enabling the functioning of their immune system to deal with illness or injury. Healing is completely natural, has no side effects and is entirely supportive to all other treatments, including conventional medicine. As only a vet can make a diagnosis, a qualified veterinary surgeon should always be the first port of call for any sick or injured animal. Animal healing can then be offered as a complementary (as opposed to an alternative) treatment. Throughout my training, the case studies I undertook covered dogs, cats, a rabbit, a dairy cow and of course sheep. Members of the Fleecehaven flock, including Jessie, and my own two beloved pet sheep, Barley and Darcey (now also resident at Fleecehaven as paying guests following loss of grazing) have been regular clients of both healing treatments and applied zoopharmacognosy. Zoopharmacognosy is essentially the science of allowing the animal client to make use of its own innate instinct and ability to seek out and selfmedicate on beneficial plants, just as it would in the wild. The word zoopharmacognosy is better understood if broken down into its component parts; zoo (meaning animal) pharma (meaning VOLUME 7, ISSUE 1

medicine) and cognosy (meaning knowledge). The word ‘applied’ is added because our pets do not live wild, so practitioners bring the wild to them, in the form of essential oils and dried herbs, clays, roots etc, to allow them the opportunity to selfmedicate. When an animal is injured, chemical signals in its body alter its taste and smell perception, enabling it to identify naturally occurring products (e.g. plants or clays), the chemical constituents of which provide the remedy the animal needs but which may, in its healthy state be unpalatable (often too bitter). Once the animal has taken enough of the remedy, its normal taste/smell perceptions are restored and, with ‘homeostasis’ regained, the animal will no longer require the remedy. These natural medicines often have no calorific value and would not be selected as food, so the dosage will be just what the animal needs to take and no more. Both animal healing and zoopharmacognosy can help with physical and emotional issues and indeed just to maintain well-being. What I really love about both of therapies is the full involvement of the individual animal in its own welfare. It is amazing how, in a healing treatment, an animal will offer me the area of their body they require help with. If I move my hands away they will reposition themselves so that that specific area is under treatment once more. Sometimes it can be related to a very old wound (whether of the body or the mind) and at others it can be a developing problem which even my hands are not detecting but which the animal knows is there. So, our animal companions know a thing or two about healing and natural medicine. I love the fact that both of these areas of complementary medicine respect their knowledge, allow us to listen and to hear their ‘voice’ and to do something practical to help them, but only and always with their consent and willing co-operation. It is an absolute privilege to work with all animals in this way. I hope that you will be interested in my developing work and the specific stories I am able to bring to you from the animal world. If you would like any more information I can be contacted on: If you wish to look up the work of Elizabeth Whiter and Caroline Ingraham then their website details are as follows: Page 7

Fleecehaven Visitors It has been wonderful to see so many visitors at Fleecehaven over the Summer and Autumn months. As always, it’s a real pleasure to be able to share our work with you and to meet so many ‘sheepy’ friends, both old and new.

‘Promoting humane behaviour towards animals by providing care, protection, treatment and security’ Fleecehaven Howley Park East Buckland North Devon EX32 0TD 01598 760454 Registered Charity No 1111004

Christmas Merchandise Following the success of our previous calendars, we've put together another one for 2014. The calendar features many of your favourite sheep, including Woody, Mitzy, Bissy and Charlie. We have also put together another pack of four Fleecehaven Christmas Cards which include snowy images of Holly and Bella, Brian and Precious, Percy and Merlin. The calendar (£10), card packs of 4 (£2.75) and card packs of 20 (£10) are available to buy on-line. Postage and packing charges apply (£2.50 on orders up to £20.00; £4.00 for orders between £20.01 and £34.99; free for orders over £35). Please visit our website for further details. Alternatively you can write to Fleecehaven with your order, including a cheque for the appropriate amount (please make cheques payable to Fleecehaven).

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Fleecehaven Newsletter Summer and Autumn 2013