Please let me know what sort of information you would like by asking questions above. I'll then answer them on this page so that the information can grow and we can address anything that we need to look into.
SERENITY GOAT SANCTUARY
When I look out over what was once the castle and see the goats, laying in the sun, chewing the cud contentedly then I know that they have found their home.
I've long interested in Buttercups Goat Sanctuary in Kent. I offered to put together information and old newsletters for them as a book to be something they can sell, it is coming along well! What it did do was inspire me to think why not have a sanctuary here? They are always full, we could at least open our doors to as many more as we can.
We have 23 goats anyway and nearly half the herd are wethers who I have kept on as I didn't want them to fall into difficulty. So, why not take on more needy goats as to be honest I prefer looking after them to any dairy opportunity! Never the businesswoman.
If they are happy then there are others who would also enjoy this. We have room, so why not offer to open the doors to the abandoned and mistreated. We can also offer a place for those who can no longer keep their beloved goats, a place where they can still come and see them.
A lot has to happen before this can be achieved.
This is large but at present the goats live free range in "Bay 1". The bucks run with them and we get kids every year which is ideal for our set up but not for a sanctuary. We don't want to add more goats, we want to take in "rescues".
The work will require fitting flush met posts at the front of each of the pens and attaching a stout post to hold the doors and a roof as the barn roof is too tall and makes it very cold in winter.
A stout timber wall has to be erected above the breezeblock divides. Sheep fencing is not ideal as the goats get their heads stuck! It may be possible to put in the smaller square wire by making a frame.
This is all work which needs to be done. But once it is we can follow Buttercups' way of putting down a straw bed for the night and clearing it out in the morning which is better than deep bedding.
It is set up to "cow bays" at the moment and they have been filled with breeze blocks at the bottom. They need timber above to make them draught free and to stop the goats jumping out! They will need a door on the front and hinges.
We will need a frame to be able to put a "roof" along to keep the heat down in the winter.
Fit Flush met posts
£13.20 20+ needed
Wooden Posts x 40 @ £35.99 for 3 = £503.86
Timber panels Half Inch c £1000
Hinges x 40
It may be possible that companies will help but there is no guarantee of that.
It costs £300 to feed a goat for a year according to Buttercups.
If we take on 100 goats that will cost £30,000 a year to feed them.
Hay would cost £7,000 a year if we can't cut our own. We are paying to have it cut and it is hit and miss if they can fit us in. They can do big bales but we can't move them without a tractor. A tractor costs about £3,000.
The fencing is mostly in now. There is a stretch which still needs to be done. I've already bought the posts and there is a little wire left as well as six 200m rolls of barbed wire to put at the top and bottom.
One of the biggest expenses is food. So when fencing the five acre field I left an area of about an acre which could be rotavated and set to root veg and other veg to feed the goats when they can't go out.
This needs turning over, planting and maintaining. It could also include a section for veg boxes for posting out to helpers when they are back home.
This needs repairing but I wouldn't suggest that anyone climbs up there as it is very high. We need to get a company in so we need to raise the funds for this.
We also have dogs here. They need to move out of "Bay 3" so that it can be used for goats. So I need to sort out kennels in the yard for them.
There is an old caravan which would be great if it was "renovated" as a meditation room. It is very old but has lasted the time.
Once or even twice a year we could take a hay cut which we need for the goats for the winter. At present there is a lot of thistle. We do not want to spray and as we want it for goats so it can be harvested with the hay. It will "give up" if we do this for every cut.
Thistle has many uses and for fundraising it needs to be harvested and dried to make things.
An area was fenced off to make a medicinal and magical herb garden. It was too much for me to manage and has become overrun with "weeds" which I've been harvesting to feed the goats on days when they are in.
Serenity "Goat Sanctuary" is also a sanctuary for people. It would be wonderful if it was a "bolt hole" for those who can't live in the wilds.
Life gives you responsibilities and the wild spirit has to be caged. That leads to depression and a lack of hope. Serenity offers that hope, that freedom. You can wear what you like, be who you want to be without jeopardising your "everyday life".
If you love costume, live in costume. If you want to be "someone else" be that someone else.
TRACTOR & HARVESTING
It would be almost a "dream" here to be able to have our own tractor, harvester attachment and baler. I'm selling things on Ebay but that isn't going to go that far.
We really need it as it takes away the reliance on others. We are new to the area and those who do the harvesting already have their "clients".
If we had our own equipment we could get on with it.
Ok, in a "dream world" we'd have a shire horse and do it all by hand! That would take a constant amount of people here though and total commitment to spending "x" amount of time looking after the horse etc.
We have the right to live in a caravan. There is no house here so we cannot offer accommodation.
This is your chance to live in a tent and cook your meals over an open stove (camping stove).
If we get some money behind us we could organise group meals and it would be wonderful to set up the double "garage" in the middle of the yard as a "Tavern" with cooker etc.
It would need to be insulated and sound proofed so that it doesn't "bother" the neighbours if we want to enjoy evenings in there.
This place needs to evolve as it is going nowhere at the moment. It needs a big kick up the tail and a sort out as it has fallen into "ticking over".
What it is and what it could be...
What it will be...
With your help.
I'm adding a few things that you might like to buy to help us to fundraise. I'm just setting this up so please be patient.
As Lavender Essential Oil and Tea Tree Essential Oil are so useful for people and goats we are going to buy some in to sell on. These will be added as soon as I've worked out how to print the labels. I'm buying from a company which allows us to brand them ourselves. They will cost in the region of £2.50 but the killer of course is the postage!
There is so much that needs to be done daily, monthly or annually. We would really welcome people coming to help but not in a hard work way, in a fun and social way that makes the work a lot easier. Even mucking out can be fun!
We are big enough to use machinery but we have a very battered and unreliable quad bike. She's got a heart of a lion and is still keeping going...
There are physical changes that will need to be made. As you will see from the photograph, the goats have open plan at the moment. That is ok for them as they get on (most of the time though they have their moments) but they were raised together. The rescues will be individuals, pairs and possibly small groups and they would greatly benefit from having areas where they can go to bed at night in their pairs and groups. It makes it easier to feed them and to know that everyone is there.
When they go our for the day it is onto 18 acres of "wilds" so making sure that everyone is home is a daily worry. With up to 30 I can manage by memory of their names, make it 150 and I would be stretched! So putting them in their bedrooms ensures that everyone is home.
Unlike Buttercups which has a big field, we have a valley and many places that they can get lost and they can't be seen easily. If they do get stuck or lost then it is time to go out on a rescue mission. Nebula the new wether from this year has been renamed Thunderbird as he insists on coming on rescue missions and calls until the lost goat answers and I can then find them. He then walks them home - he has found his job here. Don't tell him, I'd never part with him anyway but he is certainly proving his worth as the "goat prefect".
The goats do live in a wild way so their hooves are kept down but at least once a month they need their manicure. That involves cutting off the excess hoof which will grow. They are designed (like donkeys) to walk on rocks etc which in the wild would keep them neatly trimmed. There is no goat keeper in the wild to follow them around with the snips! As we put them on soft beds with soft grass they need their hooves snipped to keep their feet neat and their walking easy.
Buttercups found out very early that goats do have teeth problems. They have a natural diet while grazing but they do need a tooth check to make sure that there aren't any sharp bits etc. We would need to fundraise for an annual tooth check for everyone and a "Dental Appeal" would need to be sorted out.
In the Spring there has to be a "Digitalis Hunt". This is the hunt for Foxglove which is poisonous. They are sensible enough not to eat it but someone could get daft. This is brought back and I've read that it can be made into Ink so there may be an ink making session!
Hay making has to happen as the hay bill if we didn't harvest out own would be outrageous. It has been estimated that it would cost in the region of £7000 to feed them for the winter. We have 13 acres set aside for hay which needs to be cut, baled and put away safely. We at least have the resource there for the future and it does need managing so that means driving the tractor (which we don't have yet!). A tractor fund may well have to be started to fundraise to be able to independent in our hay cutting.
Fodder is also a big expense. I've spent a lot on fencing lately and I left a large "allotment" size area where root vegetables can be planted for the winter. This needs to be rotovated and planted and weeded. It is all too much for me to manage with everything else but the area is there.
Medicinal Herbs etc. There is an area which I set aside for growing herbs and medicinal plants. I read a book which I was recommended. Some goat keepers have never used chemicals as they don't have to if they have access to the plants. The goats would naturally regulate themselves. It would be perfect to set up this garden to have herbs and plants for the goats here and to provide some for others to buy which will add to the income of this place to be able to support the others. It would also be perfect to release some of these plants into the wilds so that the goats can help themselves.
Daily jobs include
Letting the goats out on a good day.
Replenishing the hay on a rainy day.
Delivering breakfasts to the goats.
Cleaning the pens and replenishing the hay and straw.
Sweeping the yard and making sure it is tidy.
Attending to any repairs.
Checking the area for damage and routes of escape.
Checking the area for poisonous plants.
Regular Goat Duties include
Louse and flea control
Bathing (rare and when needed - I'm not an advocate)
Brushing - they love it
Milking - as we are offering a "lifestyle" choice it would be ideal to have cheese and milk so we will be keeping one buck and two does for milk.
Necessary Repairs and Works Include
The roof of the big barn has holes in it!
The goats need separate "bedrooms"
A social room needs to be set up for helpers/fundraising
Creating a separate Arapawa area for conservation breeding
Just contacted a company about setting up as a charity. It costs £1200 just to start. For a Trust you have to prove that you've fundraised thousands of pounds already - how can you fundraise if you aren't a charity?
I don't feel comfortable about it but it has to be done. I can't fund this on my own.
If you would like to become a FRIEND of SERENITY GOAT SANCTUARY you would be very welcome to make a donation.
All accounts will be open to
HEARTFELT - a silhouette of your pet in felt sewn onto a felt heart and filled with either plain stuffing or lavender heads.
Handmade Poppets for Sale
Goodwill Dolls & Gifts of Love