Jacqui found Gorky walking along the road in 2010. He did not have many feathers and appeared to still be a youngster. Upon a trip to the vet we learned through a blood test that Gorky suffers from “Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease”. This virus is largely a death sentence and in its acute form the bird can die very quickly, in the chronic form, which Gorky has, he will slowly lose all his feathers and perhaps part of his beak. It is also likely that a bird with disease will die of other illnesses or infections due to a compromised immune system. Basically Gorky may have 12 months or less with us. He lives inside and is kept warm. He is quickly losing more feathers as can be seen below.
Despite this, Gorky loves life. He loves cuddles and kisses and his neck scratched. Due to other birds that call the sanctuary home, Gorky is kept separate to the others and a strict hygiene regime is adhered to. This disease can be spread through the birds feathers and faeces and can remain an active virus in nest hollows/boxes etc for a long period of time. In captivity it is important to make sure that good hygiene is practiced for all birds with clean cages and nesting boxes important for general bird health. There are many sites on the internet that can provide further information.
Introducing and welcoming Prudence the pig to Big Ears. Prudence sailed in on the 25th August 2015 on the ferry from Flinders Island. She has previously been a breeding sow with all of her children taken away to market. Her owner grew attached to Prudence and with her humans failing health, she tried locally to find her a new home but was unsuccessful.
The owner contacted Big Ears almost 8 months ago. As we had to rely on the tides as to when the ferry could come in, and Prudence’s willingness (or lack of) to hop in her float, it has taken a few goes to get Prudence here.
So here she is, she has moved in with Fonzy, Cinny and Piglet and so far they are still sorting things out.
Wildfire was a beautiful gelded pinto pony that came to the sanctuary in July 2009. Wildfire came to the sanctuary with his paddock companion Molly as their human owners seperated. When Wildfire arrived he was already 21 years old. Wildfire was the paddock boss and was known for his pushy ways of getting a pat and keeping the other ponies in order.
He was good with the farrier and vets but was prone to flatulence at inappropriate times which always gave those around him a good laugh.
Wildfire passed away on the 15th June 2015 at the age of 27. He went peacefully with the help of the vet whilst laying in Jacqui’s arms.
The sanctuary had two sulpher crested cockatoo’s that both came together from the RSPCA. The male is called Peacetrain and the female Rory. Rory was named after Rory Freedman the co-author of Skinny Bitch. An inspiring book about what we should eat and more importantly, what we shouldn’t. If this book doesn’t turn you vegan – we don’t know what will. More info at www.skinnybitch.net
Rory and Peacetrain aged 15 years and 25 years, although it is unknown which one is aged which. Caged birds are not something we normally support but in this instance we decided to take them so that we could ensure they ended up in a large aviary with plenty of room to fly. We have purpose built them a large flight cage so that they no longer have to exhibit signs of boredom at being confined in a small enclosure. Rory is missing feathers from her face as PeaceTrain picked at her when he was bored or anxious and she was unable to get away from him due to the small cage. Sadly Rory passed away in December 2009. In January 2010 Peacetrain went to a new home to live with a new partner.
Ringo was a rescue from a shelter. Nothing is known about him other than we think he is quite elderly as he is unable to see or hear. Despite this he quite happily moves about his pen and interacts with Webster the other guinea pig and his 2 rabbit friends. Holly can be seen grooming Ringo, it is as if she knows he needs special care. Ringo passed away in September 2009.
Dolly the Dove (RIP)
Dolly the Dove (RIP)
The sanctuary also had a pair of rescued cockatiels and a white dove named Dolly. Big Ears does not believe in the keeping of birds in cages and the birds at the sanctuary live in purpose built flight centres. Sadly Dolly has passed away and the cockatiels have been re-homed.