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Keeping Families Together

Family at the Farm

The social nature of farm animals is not only about companionship, but plays a crucial role in their overall well-being. Being in the company of their own kind, allows them to express natural behaviors, reduces stress, and contributes to their mental and emotional health. Paulette and Terri are the mothers to Waylon and Merle, Bo Diddly and Reba were rescued together and shortly after gave birth to their son, Valentine (the first birth at the sanctuary), Wanda and Willy are brother and sister, Hammer and Scout are brothers, and Ned is Daisy’s son. 

These are just a handful of many families that have been kept together through the efforts of AFS but the team continues to seek opportunities to keep more together.  

"The process of being rescued can be a big change, staggering from where they grew up and what they know so when they can bring in families it is really special to see them move and transition and settle in together." -Chris, AFS co-founder

The Sad Truth about Farm Animal Families

Unfortunately, farm animals are separated from their families in various ways, often due to agricultural practices, commercial interests, or other human-related factors. Mother cows and their calves share a strong maternal bond, and separation can cause distress to both mother and calf. In the dairy industry, it is common practice  for calves to be separated from their mothers shortly after birth (often within 24-72 hours). Pigs are highly social and intelligent animals who form strong bonds with their pen mates and often enjoy activities like rooting and playing together.In meat production, particularly with poultry and pigs, animals are often sent to slaughter at a young age, leading to the separation of families. The scale is significant, with billions of animals being slaughtered annually for meat consumption. Similar to cows and pigs, sheep are flock animals that prefer to stay together for safety and companionship and form strong bonds with their children and goats are known for their social nature and displaying empathy, providing comfort to distressed individuals within their herd. It is important to emphasize that separations in these families can have significant emotional and psychological effects on farm animals. AFS makes a strong effort to reunite or provide suitable companionship for animals that have been separated, creating a more compassionate and natural environment for their well-being. 

Another Family Reunited 

Just last week AFS received a call about a neglect case and rescued a mother goat, Ruby, and her two three-week-old sons. They needed medical attention and had parasites and lice. While in conversation with the farmers Ruby was rescued from, AFS was able to advocate for the rescue of Ruby’s sister, Sassy. Sassy was heavily pregnant, was days if not hours from giving birth, and was having trouble walking due to the poor condition of her hooves. On President’s Day, AFS headed back out to get Sassy and the farmer agreed to release her three-year-old son, Alphie as well. AFS staff was told that Sassy had given birth multiple times since having Alphis and they had all been stillborns. Anticipating the same outcome, AFS staff prepared themselves to assist Sassy through the stressful situation. However, the next morning, Chris checked the nest cam in the medical barn where Sassy and Alphie were to see a few more eyes shining through than the night before. Sassy gave birth to two healthy babies who have latched on and are getting to know their brother, Alphie, aunt Ruby, and cousins.

The family is bonding beautifully and will never be separated again. 

“The beauty of sanctuary and the beauty of being able to rescue families and the importance in the work we do to build relationships…having relationships and forming those bonds within our community so we can be a place of salvation for these animals as well as a connection point to allow for more to be saved.” -Chris, AFS co-founder


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