Animal sanctuary appeals for funds to boost winter hay stocks as prices skyrocket
- Credit: Archant
A Norfolk animal sanctuary is appealing for help to raise the thousands of pounds it will need to keep its furry charges fed over the winter.
The rescued residents at Hillside Animal Sanctuary can work their way through 150 tonnes of hay a week over the colder months, for food and bedding materials.
But wet weather last winter followed by a hot, dry summer have hurt hay harvests and pushed up the price – from £130 a tonne to more than £160.
This means the sanctuary – which can take a 30-tonne delivery of hay almost every day in winter – is facing a 25pc increase in its costs for the vital material.
In an email sent out to members of the public this week, the sanctuary said: 'Raising funds for hay is going to be an extra struggle and we will be so grateful for every pound donated to help us keep the animals well fed during the colder winter.'
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Wendy Valentine, founder of Hillside Animal Sanctuary, said: 'We had such a wet winter last year, then came out of that into almost a drought, so I think in a lot of places they didn't get a second cut of hay, so there is already a shorter supply. It is a worry for us, and prices are going up.
'We have got over 2,000 horses, about 500 cows, 500 sheep and goats, 300 pigs and a lot of other animals, so we need a lot of hay.
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'Generally speaking you can get it but you have to get it from further afield and that tends to cost more. Getting it from somewhere in Norfolk is cheaper than getting it from hundreds of miles away.'
She added: 'Hay and straw are something we often ask for donations for because it is one of our main expenses and it is a major part of keeping the animals warm and well fed through the winter.'
So, as many shoppers hunker down on the high street or at their computers to catch Black Friday bargains, Hillside is appealing to the public to donate by making purchases from its website, including gifts, cards and calendars.
It is also offering people the chance to purchase a bale of hay for £5 in lieu of a gift, for which the sanctuary will send out a certificate, mini calendar and greeting card.
Ms Valentine said: 'As people are now thinking about buying things for Christmas, we are encouraging them to buy from us to help us raise funds.'