The Small Sanctuary With A Big Heart. Animal-Led Since 2021.
Founded in April 2021, Malmesbury Animal Sanctuary (CIC) is an animal-led, non-profit organisation situated in a beauty spot nestled on the banks of the river Avon.
We presently care for an exotic mix of animals consisting of emus, alpacas, pygmy goats, sheep, and chickens. They have arrived here for a variety of reasons, but all needed a safe permanent home. We have over 25 compassionate and caring volunteers aged between 6 to 77 who, between them, manage the sanctuary’s 27 plus shifts per week. Our long-term plans are simply to provide a safe environment, and permanent home for our happy animal family.
Introducing our beloved animal family. Click an image to view full size loveliness 🙂
Baby Sox, a pygmy goat, came to us in August 2021 at just 4 months old. He is a gorgeous little character growing in confidence every day. He can quite often be seen playing with the alpacas, chasing after Spud, his dad, and leaning on mum, Matilda. He still has baby teeth and is still learning about food but loves raspberries and carrots.
Matilda is Sox’s mum and is 4 years old. She is a doting mother and can often be seen teaching Sox some new life skill. She is pot bellied and black and even though she has a white beard you can tell she is a lady. She is never far away from Sox and enjoys a cauliflower treat.
Spud is our three year old male pygmy goat. He is solid in appearance with a long beard that we are sure he is very proud of. Matilda is smitten by Spud and can often be seen trying to snuggle up to him. Spud often teaches Sox how to use his horns in a fatherly way and enjoys playing with him and Matilda. Spud is our newest addition and it’s lovely to have our little goat family together. Sox is the child of both Spud and Matilda and it’s a privilege to witness this special dynamic.
Teddy is two thirds Pygmy and one third Boer. He was born in April 2021 and came to us from South Wales with his buddy Vinnie. We can’t wait to find out whether his ears will fall downwards like a Boer or be typical Pygmy. Either way he’s an adorable addition to our little goat family and is always at Vinnie’s side.
Vinnie is a white Pygmy goat with lovely dark patches that perfectly contrast. He came to us from South Wales with his buddy Teddy. He was born in April 2021 and was hand reared and therefore is very friendly. He is constantly at Teddy’s side making him the perfect bestie. They both look out for each other.
Scientific name: Capra hircus.
Collective noun: Herd.
There are over 300 distinct breeds of goat.
Goats use the sneeze sound as an alarm to warn of danger.
Goats can differentiate between happy and unhappy human faces.
Gin is our Luck Dragon with his deep brown questioning eyes. He has a limp which was derived from either birth or an accident earlier on in his life. His fur is sightly darker than the others. He is the most vocal of the three often having a say when he thinks others might want his food. Initially very nervous around humans, over the last few months he has allowed us to stroke him and now accepts a little bit of attention. Gin can always be found staking a claim at the back of the goat shed which he tells us was built for him. He is about 15 years old.
Sammy is a caring gentle natured alpaca who has taken a shine to little Sox the goat. He has the pinkest lips and is always the cleanest of our herd of three. All of the alpacas wander together and enjoy sitting in the goat shed during the day. We are unsure of his age but we have been led to believe mid-teens (in adult years).
Scientific name: Lama pacos.
Collective noun: Herd.
Alpacas hum when they’re curious, worried, content, bored, fearful, distressed or cautious, and make odd gurgling vocal noises when warning off others.
99% of the world’s alpacas still live in South America.
There are no wild alpacas – the alpaca is the domesticated version of the Vicuña. Vicuñas are descended from camel-like animals that evolved in North America then moved south roughly 3 million years ago.
Boomer is the youngest of the three emus and quite a celebrity amongst the Malmesbury population. He was hand-reared and has imprinted people and therefore has strong bonds with our volunteers. He quite often enjoys a nap with some of our volunteers where he falls on the ground next to them whilst being stoked, and then closes his eyelids. He is a cheeky sociable bird and loves apples and chasing the chickens and goats
Irwin Siegfried is about 5 years old and has been in Malmesbury for about three years. He is distinguishable because he has a tufty quiff which he is happy for us to style. He is very sociable but sometimes gives the odd friendly peck. He is the life partner of Sydney our female and they can often be found together. Irwin likes to eat green beans which we insert into the fence for him to pick at.
Sydney Odette is aged about 5 years old and came to live in Malmesbury about three years ago. She is the largest of the three emus. She prefers the company of her life mate Irwin and they are always found wandering together. She has a very dark head and the blue shiny patches become extra bright when breeding. She loves to eat the alpaca’s food.
Scientific name: Dromaius novaehollandiae.
Collective noun: Mob.
Lifespan: Up to 20 years or more.
Size: Between 5 to 6 feet in height.
Weight: From 60 to 100 pounds.
We have 23 hens, including two Bluebells, two Polish – and 19 Golden Comet rescues – battery hens that were due for slaughter. When we collected them they were undernourished and emaciated, had obvious signs of being pecked at with patches of bare skin – the stressful result of being imprisoned in a large warehouse with 4000 other hens for a year.
Since being with us, however, they have flourished in temperament and physically. They now have the run of our two and half acre field, and along with their corn get to enjoy fresh veg daily, some of which is left in our donation box, some from volunteers, but much from an arrangement with our local Waitrose store. Hopefully more supermarkets across the country begin engaging in this initiative, as there is some much good food that gets wasted.
Ginger Belle and Blue are our two Bluebell chickens. They are larger than the ex-commercial hens and gentler in character. The ex-commercial hens arrived with us in June half naked having never seen daylight or grass. Now they have feed all day long, can forage our 2.5 acres of land and enjoy vegetables every day. They go mad for watermelon and sweetcorn. They are real characters and can often be found laying eggs in our hay store.
Scientific name: Gallus gallus domesticus.
Collective noun: Flock.
Lifespan: Between 5 to 10 years depending on breed.
Chickens can remember over 100 different faces of people or animals.
There are more chickens on earth than people – 25 billion and more than any other bird species.