The farm is on city land and the city of Victoria also covers our cost for utilities which is a great help at any time but especially now with the chilly nights and all the additional hygiene procedures. But apart from this contribution the farm solely depends on donations made by visitors to the farm. Every year after Thanksgiving the farm closes its gate to the public and most of the animals move to our winter farm to spend the cold months quietly and cozily with their buddies while the staff uses this time for a lot of cleaning, renovating and improving to have the farm ready in time for opening each March.
What happened this year
This year the farm looked great when we opened: new roofs, lots of fresh paint inside and outside the barns, everything cleaned and shiny! The animals passed a health check by our veterinarian and we brought our big animal family back into town. All of us were so exited for the new season. It was great to be back and to meet lots of regular and new visitors. We swapped stories about the past winter months, about our animals, our little brand new baby goat "Muggins" and our Momma goats pregnant with all the new little bundles of joy that we are expecting this season.
But a few days into our season there was only one topic on everyone's mind: the CORONAVIRUS. The farm closed less than a week after it opened to do our part in helping to lower the risk of spreading the virus. This is a situation that has never arisen in the past 35 years of operation. After the winter months with all the extra costs of renovation and labour the farm relies on having a good and successful opening season with a busy spring break all through Easter weekend to recover our funds and keep the farm afloat.
We tried to adapt as good as possible to this new situation. During the season the farm normally relies partly on the support through our large volunteer pool. We are so very grateful for all their help over the past years but because we don't want to put them at risk the staff will take care of the animals without their free help. We cut our staff back to a minimum so that we can save costs and limit the amount of people being at the farm but also having enough experienced workers to ensure the welfare of our animals.
Who we are and what our role in the community is
I'm the manager of Beacon Hill Children's Farm, but the farm can never be run and maintained by a single person. Behind the farm stands a strong team that consists of the volunteer-based Beacon Hill Farm Society, the Koenders family as owners and operators, several dedicated full- and part time staff members and a large volunteer pool. To all of us the farm represents much more than just our work. Taking care of the animals and making the farm a unique place is a passion that we all share.
In the past the farm has always been a steady part of the local community, giving many visitors the opportunity to spend time with the animals and experiencing their kindness and loving personalities. The animals help us to leave our daily worries behind and just enjoy the moment and make lots of positive memories.
Our volunteers consist of a very versatile group of people from all around Victoria, they range from the age of 6 years into their seventies, students, retirees, people in many different careers and also many people with special abilities. Working around the animals allowed many of them to grow and develop new skills. Taking care of another living being advanced their level of self-confidence, provided some meaningful and important tasks in their lives or helped them step back from a very hectic daily routine and simply relax.
We are very proud of all our different animals, the level of care and love that we can provide them with and the role the farm has played in the community and the positive impact it has on many lives. And we wish for it to go on in the future.
Meet our farm family
As many visitors to the farm will have been able to witness over the years our animals are well loved, they are part of our farm family. We work along side them, we spend so much time with them that we've established a close relationship with them. There are so many of the them and they are all unique:
Our two alpacas "Osmond“ and "Acorn" who have the sweetest faces and love their foot bathes and a little shower.
Our grumpy piggy "Maple" who looks fierce but in reality he is a diva who doesn't like the cold weather at all and needs his beauty sleep.
Our funny silkie rooster "Jon Snow" who made his permanent home with the ducks because he now thinks he is one of them.
Our oldest resident (and most likely everyones favourite) the miniature horse "Peanut Butter" who will turn 29 this June. Of course at her age she has some minor health issues, the biggest one of them are her teeth trouble and she is on a special diet. But that doesn't slow her down, she is a really gentle and wise soul with a little hidden quirky attitude whenever she feels like it.
Our large flock of wonderful and colourful chickens who sometimes can be found all over the farm.
And of course our large goat herd:
With baby "Muggins" who is the first baby born this season ...
... to our two old ladies "Astra" and "Mango" who love each other dearly and act as the grandmothers of the entire herd.
And there are many more in between: some young, some old, some shy, some pushy, some expecting babies for the first time and others very experienced mothers, and ALL of them very lovingly. They all have their own story.
These are of course just a few examples of the members of our huge farm family. There are many more animals living here at the farm and we try to provide them all with the best care we can give and all the love they need.
Why we need your help
The community has always supported the farm over the past 35 years through volunteer work and donations. The farm would not be what it is without that support. We are immensely grateful for it. But especially now during this crisis and the temporary closure of the farm we really need your support.
It is not an easy step to ask for help. We totally understand that this crisis has put many people and businesses in financial difficulties and we certainly don't want to make these worse. But we are hoping that there are some people out there who can afford to make a donation to help the animals. Even small donations help!
Here are just some examples of the costs that we are facing:
- Hay for one month: 2250 CAD
- Grain/ Feed for one month: 250 CAD
- One load of sawdust (lasts about 6 weeks): 680 CAD
- Veterinary costs per month (emergencies, necessary check ups and medications): 1000 CAD
- Insurance (vehicles, liability, etc.) per month: 675 CAD
- Office and general maintenance (phones, internet, office supplies, etc.) per month: 1300 CAD
The monthly costs of keeping the animals well fed, having enough clean bedding for their barns, providing the necessary veterinary care and covering some of the maintenance/ insurance costs surrounding the farm will add up to 6000 CAD. The money raised will be transferred to the farm's bank account on a monthly basis to cover these costs. We've set our campaign goal at 18 000 CAD which will allow us to provide for the animals for 3 months. No one knows how long this crisis and the closure of the farm will go on, but we are hoping for the best and will follow the news and advice by the health department and government carefully. All the money raised during this campaign will be used to support the animals and the farm.
Any financial help to get the animals and the farm through these difficult times would be very much appreciated.
The animals and all the staff of the Beacon Hill Children's Farm will be there for you again once all this has passed.
Thank you all and stay safe!
- Jen Walter
- Ron Proulx
- Bobbi Bucic
- William Burrows
- Patricia A Rasmussen
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