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  • Hamish the turkey!

    This giant white turkey and his turkey brother lived with a family in our neighborhood. His human family contacted us to ask if he could live with us... his turkey brother was killed by a predator, and although the humans really wanted to keep him, he seemed lonely and they wanted him to be able to socialize like a normal bird. They brought him to our animal sanctuary and he fit in right away! He didn't have a name when he arrived but of course we'd need to come up with a name ASAP. I was on a British Bakeoff binge and had just seen the episode where Marc makes a cake in the shape of his dog, Hamish. A more perfect name could not be possible! There's not a whole lot else to say about Hamish the turkey except that: 1) he's very friendly 2) he's very handsome 3) he makes extremely cute noises, especially when he eats snacks 4) we absolutely love him.

  • Where do our names come from?

    Every animal who lives here at Rancho Roben has a name. We feel strongly that the names of our animals be respectful; we never use names that sound like puns, jokes, or like any kind of poking fun at the animal. For example, if we had a three-legged dog, we would refuse to call him "Limpy" and if we had a deaf horse we wouldn't call her "Screamer." Although we've heard it suggested many times, we will NEVER name a chicken anything like "Barbeque," "Sriracha," or "Teriyaki." We understand that other's use "funny" names for their animals. It's just not something we do here. So where do the names come from?? Some animals come to us with a name, and we keep it! As long as the name is something we find acceptable, we don't change it just for the sake of changing it. Top to bottom, left to right: Michelle, Red, Fiona, Sahmi & Jiffy, Pepper. Some animals come with a name that is close to a good fit, but doesn't feel completely right, so we adjust it just a bit. This rooster was originally named Pollo. When I first saw it in print, I thought "Oh cool! Like the Olympic Speed Skater Apollo Ono!" But then I realized that it wasn't a hard L but rather a Y-sounding L, and the name was the Spanish word for "chicken." You might think that's ok - but it didn't feel right. If I understand it correctly, pollo is Spanish for chicken that you EAT, and gallo is Spanish for the living bird. So if he had been named Gallo (hard or soft L) I might have been ok with it. But Pollo wasn't right. So we named him Paul! This rooster came to us with the name Hope. Aside from the fact that Hope is a traditionally female name, we already have a bird named Hope! So I wanted to change it to something that would be a better fit for a handsome, energetic little rooster. I looked up the word "Hope" in other languages and found that VON is the Icelandic equivalent, so we went with that. Feels like a GREAT fit. Many animals come to us with no name at all, so we get to choose. Sometimes it is just a random name that feels like a good fit, such as for Spike and Scarlett: Sometimes I'm on a real biblical kick, such as for Caleb and Solomon: I truly love naming animals after people we know and love who support our rescue efforts. These are just a few examples, top to bottom, left to right: Lavender, Peter, Marcelo, Babette, and Jeremy. When we don't have anyone in particular to name an animal after, I look for traditional names from the region or country where the animal breed is from. It feels too overwhelming to just think of a name out of ALL the possible names on earth, so I at least narrow it down by a bit. For example, our livestock guardian dogs are half Pyrenees half Akbash, which is a Turkish livestock breed.... so I looked for Turkish boy names and found Altan & Emre: When Wanda the duck hatched three babies, it was clear that they were going to survive but it wasn't yet clear if they were males or females. I looked up androgynous Russian names, because Wanda is a Muscovy duck, and Muscovies originally came from Russia. Thus I came up with Sascha, Nikola, and Georgi: One final example - our Nigerian dwarf goat babies. I looked up words and names in Yoruba, the language of Nigeria. Keke, short for Kekere, means "small, and Ife means "love." Couldn't imagine more perfect names for these darling girls:

  • Kittens!

    Oh wow, so many kittens. To be clear, we are NOT in the business of breeding animals or encouraging reproduction. That said, there are a number of cats who live in the hills around our place, and we just can't possibly trap-neuter-release every single feral cat! We try our best; we really do. A few weeks ago we heard a tiny little *meow* coming from a back corner of the garage, and OH GOODNESS there was a PILE of kittens behind the shelving unit! One of the feral cats from the neighborhood scoped out the "possible labor & delivery units," and landed on our garage! So... our family is now 9 kittens richer! We will likely not keep all of them; we will take excellent care of them for as long as they are here, and we will surely be even more diligent about trap & release with all the local cats in the future :)

  • Her Majesty, Perpetua

    Perpetua is our first and oldest hen. She was living in a beautiful backyard with about 25 chicken sisters on the northside of Chicago when her human owner, a friend of ours, died suddenly. We had never cared for chickens before, but we'd been talking about trying it, and Perpetua needed a new home now that her dad was gone. Perpetua joined our family on November 11, 2015. She immediately made herself comfortable and although she was never overly affectionate with her human caretakers, she was always pleasant, calm, and seemed content. Perpetua is absolutely beautiful. Her breed is called Golden-laced Wyandotte. She has an adorable rose comb (the red part on the top of the head) and back when she laid eggs, they were incredibly small and pale - which was quite funny since she's always been our biggest hen! Perpetua is the the leader of the flock. She is a quiet and subtle leader, never truly picking on others or making other hens feel scared or small... but it is clear that she is a boss. She is the first to eat when snacks are distributed, and she always gets her first pick of sleeping space. My favorite story of Perpetua's valor and dedication to her family occurred back in the winter of 2016 - we had four hens at the time - Perpetua and three babies, who were surely big enough to be outside, but were quite young and small. I was standing in the kitchen, which had a large glass door overlooking the yard. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw some kind of commotion in the yard, and quickly realized that a hawk was swooping through the yard. I ran outside, grabbing the snow shovel on the way out, and saw Perpetua running back and forth across the grass with the hawk following close behind. I swatted at the hawk with the shovel, not coming ANYWHERE near hitting it, but apparently close enough to scare it away. By then, Perpetua had run into the coop, so I closed and locked the door in case the hawk came back. Then I started my search for the three baby hens. They were NO WHERE. I looked in the back alley, the front yard, anywhere I could think. There was no sign that the hawk had taken them, but they seemed to have vanished... then I crouched down and peeked underneath the wooden stairs to the back door, and there were the three baby hens, huddled together, safe and sound. There is no way to know the order of events with this hawk attack in the yard, but here's what I choose to believe: the hawk swooped down and Perpetua alerted the babies to hide for safety. She then ran around the yard to create a diversion so that the hawk would chase her, leaving the babies alone. I truly believe that Perpetua was attempting to sacrifice herself for the rest of the group. This is a well-documented behavior of mother chickens - they will literally lay out over their babies to provide a barrier from a predator. The most amazing part is that these were not Perpetua's babies. They were her flockmates, her family members. We absolutely love Perpetua - her leadership, her dedication to family, and of course her beautiful feathers.

  • Archie & Elijah: goat brothers!

    Once you have a backyard hobby farm with a garden, a beehive, and a small flock of chickens and ducks, it's only a matter of time before you start expanding your family to include small livestock. We had toyed for weeks with the idea of Nigerian dwarf goats - I (the more practical and analytic one) wasn't particularly interested in taking on that kind of challenge, but Matt (the dramatically adventurous one) couldn't think of any reason NOT to add goats to the mix :) Elijah & Archie joined our family on March 28, 2018, when they were both 8 weeks old. I went to sleep early one evening because I had an early shift in the hospital the next day, and Matt left around 10pm to go pick up the goats (can't recall why he left so late - to dodge traffic, maybe?). I awoke at 4am to find a dog crate on the kitchen floor with the two MOST ADORABLE BABY GOATS inside!! The kitchen smelled like hay and I was bleary-eyed and running late for work but I couldn't resist sitting down with the boys and having a quick snuggle. I took the brown goat out of the crate first. I looked at him and told him his name would be Elijah. Passover was coming up and I wanted to commemorate the time of year with a meaningful name. The white goat came out next. He curled up in my lap and a name popped into my mind. "Is your name Archie?" I asked him. He seemed content so we officially named him Archie. Note - these babies had been initially named Iceman and Maverick, but we feel pretty strongly that our animals have names that are not perceived as any kind of joke or pun, such as being named after foods, TV or movie characters, etc. We don't want people to chuckle when they hear the names. We just think it is more respectful to have names that are not derived from pop culture. So with that, Iceman became Archie, and Maverick became Elijah. Baby Elijah and Baby Archie were SO SO SO cute. Photo evidence here: The life of a goat is pretty simple - eat, poop, sleep, etc. Both goats were delightful snuggle buddies - with their human family but mostly with each other! I spent MANY summer afternoons laying out in the backyard on a beach towel with the goats by my side. They might have been busily eating or playing, but if they saw me lay down, they would always come over and lay down with me. A very fun and adorable feature of these goat brothers (and maybe of ALL goats?) is their LOVE of BUCKETS. They absolutely could not resist sitting inside of a bucket or a bun. No bin too small! Our goats would squeesh themselves inside!! Archie and Elijah had a great setup in our Chicago backyard. Urban life was fun for them! They had chicken and hen sisters to hang out with, and we had many Many MANY visitors int he neighborhood who would routinely come visit and bring treats (carrots, apples, tortilla chips) to feed to them over the fence. It was sad and hard to leave Chicago, and I think it was particularly sad for some of our neighbors to say goodbye to the goats. They became a bit of a fixture in the neighborhood. The boys did great on the long drive out from Chicago to California. They didn't seem at all upset or confused about their new location! They enjoyed running around in the pastures, and although we never really thought either one of them had any issues with being overweight, we noticed that both boys lost 8-10 pounds after moving to California! Archie and Elijah quickly found some favorite relaxation spots on the rancho: One day, about 7 months after moving to the new property, Matt noticed that Elijah was straining to urinate. He hunched his body and seemed to be straining, but nothing would come out. We both knew immediately that this was a problem - we had learned in our reading and research about goats that Nigerian dwarves are particularly susceptible to kidney stones. (It has something to do with the carbohydrates in their diet? And also can be problematic in these little goats because the kidney structures are narrow so the stones can get stuck). Matt took Elijah directly to the local vet. They did some tests and confirmed the presence of stones in the kidneys, ureters, AND urethra. Their brief attempts at stone removal were not successful, so they referred Elijah to the BIG veterinary medical center in Davis. Matt drove Elijah there, knowing that they would be expecting him after getting the referral from our local vet. The UC Davis farm animal veterinary services are OUTSTANDING... and that is the understatement of the century! We felt extremely respected and heard and cared for by the entire UC Davis team. They relayed to us the severity of the situation, and the procedures that they would attempt in order to remove these large, obstructing urinary stones. Elijah was hospitalized, underwent a procedure, then received pain medications and IV fluids, and then he tried to urinate on his own. NOTHING. The cycle repeated - procedure, medications, try to pee. Still nothing. It's hard to explain why, after a certain point, there's no more options. In humans, we do a lot Lot LOT of invasive tests and permanently invasive measures to relieve things like kidney stones or intestinal obstructions or other chronic problems. But in a goat - a farm animal who lives outdoors and is constantly exposed to other animals and a wide variety of germs - it's not so easy to do things like inserting catheters. We learned that Elijah's kidney stones were so large that they were causing severe infection and damage to his urinary system, and even if we could somehow bypass these stones or remove them, he would be constantly getting recurrent stones and urinary tract infections, and would likely be back at the hospital monthly for IV treatments if he were to get through this current illness. The UC Davis team gave us the compassionate, reasonable option to stop pursuing treatment. We asked them to take Elijah for a walk outside, let him enjoy some of his favorite snacks, and then help him peacefully go to the other side of the rainbow. It was a sad decision, but not actually a hard one to make, because we knew that prolonging his life would be painful and difficult, and keeping him alive simply because we were too sad to let him go was not fair. I worried a lot about Archie, but he did just fine. For maybe 1-2 days he seemed a little down and quiet, but he was surrounded by his loving bird family (and us, of course) so he bounced back to his typical active personality quickly. In a wonderful stroke of universe magic, a new goat came into our lives. Ray is a handsome Nigerian/La Mancho goat who ALSO grew up with a brother who ALSO lost that brother suddenly due to illness. A goat rescue contacted us asking if we had room for this lonely boy, and we excitedly answered YES! Not only do we have room, but we also have a buddy for him!! You never know how it might go introducing a new animal to the group, but in this case it was a-ok from the very first minute. Archie and Ray are a great pair. Goats are sometimes high-maintenance, sometimes rowdy, sometimes a little bit pushy (literally) but they are also loving, loyal, and content. We are extremely happy that we took the leap back in spring 2018 to add these incredible animals into our family.

  • Beatrice: one bum leg does not hold me back!

    Beatrice is a cream legbar hen - a unique breed that comes with a beautiful variety of feather colors and an amazing floppy feather hat! Beatrice was raised in a backyard by a loving family in a nearby suburb. From a very early age they noted that her legs did not look normal. Unclear if she was born with a deformity or if she suffered a major injury immediately after she was born, but either way, her left leg and foot were extremely deformed. For a while, Beatrice was welcomed within the group and all was well. But as her hen siblings grew older, they seemed to be less tolerant of Beatrice's limitations. They were mean to her and excluded her, causing her human family to keep her separated. Still wanting to give her time outdoors, her human family gave her supervised time outdoors on a patio. They just didn't feel like this was a good way for her to live. They wanted her to have more freedom and live a more normal social life. We were happy to take Beatrice into our family. She indeed has a very unusual-appearing leg and a very unusual way of moving around, but that definitely does not diminish her personality or feistiness! Beatrice worked her way right into the animal family with no trouble. We are thrilled that Beatrice is able to live in a safe place with a robust social life. Her human family keeps in touch with us, comes to visit, provides donations, and in exchange we provide lots of photos and updates about this brave little hen.

  • Masha: sweet Pekin duck

    Full disclosure: I never wanted a duck. It was never in the plans. We had chickens, they were doing great, and I felt no need to add new species to the backyard flock. ​ HOWEVER... our avian vet was an absolutely amazing and wonderful person, so when she called us asking if we could provide a home to a darling duck in need, we OF COURSE said yes. ​ Masha had been raised by hand by a lovely young woman who was moving out of the country and couldn't take the duck with her. I was skeptical that a duck would be a good fit for us, but she LITERALLY jumped into my arms for a hug when I met her at the vet office, so that pretty much sealed the deal. Masha's first new digs in our yard - she stayed separated in this little coop until the hens got used to a new bird being in the yard! Masha quickly made friends in the yard. Most commonly she was seen sitting/standing/napping/swimming with her "sister" Nejwa, and she often hung out with none other than Isa the miracle chicken. Masha was just so chill and friendly. She really didn't seem to mind being picked up, and often spent afternoons lounging in our laps. One of the most adorable and endearing things about Masha was that she could go UP stairs but could not figure out how to get DOWN. She would often walk up the steps to the back patio, perch herself onto a chair, and then sit there literally ALL DAY because she could not get off the chair nor down the stairs. We ended up blocking the entrance to the stairs so that she would not continue to get stranded! There's not much else to the "story" about Masha, really. She was just a great duck. She was pleasant and lovely, not to mention extremely beautiful and a GREAT reliable egg-layer. ​ Masha was the first of MANY ducks that we've rehomed/rescued. I was reluctant to open our flock to a new species but I am SO glad that we did - the ducks are now among my favorite animals!

  • Momo: survivor born in the moonlight

    Before we tell you all about Momo, we should probably back up a bit and tell you about the group of potbelly pigs that we rescued back in January 2022. When I say "we rescued" I don't mean that we heroically discovered four pigs and saved them from dangerous conditions... someone ELSE found these four pigs in a very unhealthy and unsafe place, then THAT person unfortunately wasn't able to keep the pigs in a safe place, so all four pigs ended up in a local animal shelter. We had been in touch with the animal shelter previously and they knew we were willing & able to care for pigs, so when this little potbelly family showed up, they knew exactly who to call! Captain, Atlas, Major, and Lady joined our family in January 2022 and we knew very little about them. We knew it was 3 girls and a boy, we were told they were approximately 7 months old, and we knew that they came from a situation where, presumably, they had not received any medical care (think: vaccines, basic exams, neutering, etc). Our mission is to provide a safe, loving, compassionate home to farm animals in need - and there are many Many MANY farm animals who desperately need homes. As much as we would love to allow the animals to reproduce naturally, allowing them to have babies while living in an animal sanctuary just doesn't align with our goals. So, we made plans to have the boys neutered as soon as possible... unfortunately, the soonest appointment was not for SEVEN WEEKS. Perhaps you see where this story is headed... Our four potbelly pigs spent the next few weeks enjoying the sunshine, eating healthy foods, taking lots of naps, and getting lots of belly scratches. On the day that the 3 boys were scheduled to get neutered, we decided to bring the female pig, Lady, to the appointment as well. We figured that she would be freaked out to be left alone without the boys, and we also figured that the vet could give her a little once-over since she had likely never been to a doctor before! Red flag #1 of the day occurred when we picked up Lady to put her into the truck and noticed that she was SUBSTANTIALLY heavier than each of the three boys. I tried to reason with myself, "In many species of animals the females are larger than the males. We have never lifted her before so for all we know, she's always been heavier than the boys." We sighed a heavy sigh and thought aloud to each other "Maybe she's pregnant," and drove off to the vet. We arrived at our awesome farm vet's office with all four pigs. I'm sure there were some pleasantries between us and the doc, but here's all I remember: Us: "Good morning, doc. We brought the boys for their surgeries and we also brought the girl to get checked out..." Doc: "Oh, so you think she's pregnant?" Sigh. It did not take long for an answer. Before even getting the boys prepped for surgery, the vet did an ultrasound of Lady's belly and confirmed that she was pregnant. "At least" three babies, was what we were told. Oh yikes. The boys were neutered without any trouble and all four pigs came home with us. We prepared (as best as we could) for Lady's impending labor and delivery. I'll just summarize by saying that we THOUGHT we knew what to do and what to look for, but we REALLY DIDN'T know and we were not prepared. Matt set up cameras in the barn so he could keep a constant eye on Lady, and we watched her day and night looking for signs of labor. We had ONE extremely important family event to travel to in Los Angeles, and we figured that being away for a mere 36 hours would be totally reasonable since Lady was showing no signs of labor. Sigh. We were wrong. Our dear friends and a neighbor were staying at the house and were ready to spring into action when Matt frantically called them, saying that the camera was showing baby pigs! We were devastated to have missed the birth and even more devastated that it was pretty clear from the camera footage that the babies had been born around midnight, but it wasn't until 6am that Matt woke up and saw the footage. At some point during that 6 hour period, our livestock guardian dogs, attempting to be helpful and "guardian"-ing, entered the barn and scared Lady away from her babies. We could see it right there on the camera - three squirming babies, dog enters, Mama leaves. This was bad news. We couldn't get enough detail on the camera footage to see what happened after that. Our friends rushed down to the barn and found TWO babies - one no longer alive, one barely breathing. They worked hard to warm and stimulate the little one who seemed viable. As they started to realize their efforts were futile, they saw something rustling in the straw at the corner of the barn - the THIRD piglet! Sadly, piglets 1 and 2 didn't make it. But piglet #3 was fighting hard and we are so thankful that our friends found her in time to get her warmed up. By this point, Lady had been away from her babies for over 8 hours. That's just too long. The window to bond and start feeding is very very small, so tiny piglet would have to come inside the house and be fed by hand. Our friends, of course, earned naming rights for this tiny piglet. They called her Moses, because they found her hiding away safely in the straw (think: Moses being safely hidden away by his sister Miriam, who wove a raft from straw to send him down the river). Momo's middle name is "Suki," which somehow comes from a word for "moonlight," though I'm also now reading that it means "beloved" in Japanese. We started out calling her "Mosuki," but "Momo" seemed like a much more perfect name. It is an insane amount of work to hand raise a piglet. She had to eat every hour and we had to teach her to eat from a pan instead of a bottle. She struggled to take in enough milk, she suffered from terrible diarrhea from the milk-replacement that we gave her, and we spent the entire first two weeks of her life wondering if she would make it to the next day. Nevertheless, she persisted :) Momo graduated from her heated, private space in the guest room to a more open enclosure in the family room, then graduated to spending some supervised times outside of her enclosure. I cannot stress this enough: baby Momo was so So SO cute!!! As much as we loved her charming and energetic personality, the pains of having a pig living inside the house were getting to be pretty frustrating. It's a LOT of dust, poop, pee, noise, etc. It was worth it, OF COURSE, and I wouldn't trade that experience for anything... but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't ready to get her out of the house. Finally after about 4 months, Momo was big enough, strong enough, and vaccinated sufficiently to live outdoors! But, don't get too excited yet - she still wasn't ready to live with her mom and uncles. Introducing a new animal of ANY kind to ANY group can be tricky; animals are territorial, cautious, and risk-averse (for the most part). We knew that we couldn't just plop Momo into the barn and expect a peaceful and delightful reunion between mom and baby. We have slowly introduced Momo to the idea of living outside. Luckily she is VERY food-motivated, so bringing her meals to the barn has definitely made it easier for her to get used to spending time out there. We started with just a few minutes at a time - 100% supervised time around the bigger pigs - and over a few weeks we progressed to allowing her to spend ALL DAY outside. Most recently, Momo was very brave and spent ALL NIGHT out in the barn, and since then we have "cut the cord," so to speak, and she spends 100% of her time with her pig family out in the barn and pasture. Our experience with Momo has been a roller coaster. Some of our hardest, saddest, most heart-breaking moments have occurred with Momo, as have some of our happiest, funniest, and most rewarding. We didn't expect Momo, but here she is. And she's an integral part of our family now.

  • Scruffy: this brave little dog persevered through an incredibly difficult back injury

    We were sitting on the couch one evening, all the animals tucked in safely in the barn, and came upon this Facebook post: Matt: What do you think? Me: I'll go pick him up on Tuesday! I'm exaggerating. It wasn't so quick... we would never make such an impulsive decision about an animal with extensive medical needs and an uncertain future. But we agreed on this adoption extremely quickly, even though we knew that we wouldn't be able to actually meet or touch this guy until the papers were signed. It was a HUGE risk! And SO worth it! Scruffy's story is pretty incredible: he was surrendered by his owner to a shelter in Los Angeles because he had lost function of the entire back half of his body (legs, bladder control, tail wag, etc). The shelter found a veterinarian who was able to quickly diagnose him with a severely herniated vertebral disc - the contents of the disc were pushing on the spinal cord, causing the neurologic deficits. As if this story wasn't already incredible... a local animal welfare organization donated the money for Scruffy's corrective surgery! After surgery, Scruffy spent a few nights in the hospital and then went back to the animal shelter for recovery and the desperate hope of finding an adoptive family. That's when we saw the Facebook post. Scruffy had all the medical support he needed, but he still lacked the family who could take him home, do his therapy, carry him around, love him and support him (emotionally and physically), and bring him to vet appointments. The timing was perfect for us - one of us was working full time on the homestead and the other was on a self-imposed sabbatical from work, leaving PLENTY of time for animal care. The biggest part of Scruffy's care was related to his mobility: he required FULL TIME crate rest for 6 straight weeks, with breaks allowed out of the crate ONLY for peeing & pooping and for this three-times-per-day physical therapy. He had to eat, sleep, and snuggle from inside of his crate, which was very frustrating and awkward at times. We QUICKLY changed from a crate to a wagon so that he could have a lot more visibility, mobility, and social interaction. Scruffy required a few medications, and he was a pretty picky eater for a while, so administering meds was not as easy as just dropping it into his food! Another huge and unanticipated feature of his recovery was his anxiety. We have no idea what life was like for Scruffy before he was surrendered, how he was treated when he lost function in his back legs, and for how long he had been struggling before getting the help he needed. Any number of factors probably contributed to Scruffy being very upset any time he was left alone. Even walking around a corner for a moment made him cry. With much love and snuggles, Scruffy's anxiety is much Much MUCH better! Scruffy's crate rest and dedication to his PT paid off - right on track, he started twitching his back legs, then flexing the muscles, then bearing weight, taking tiny steps, then bigger steps! His first "real" steps were on the kitchen floor of a neighbor's house - I guess a tempting piece of garlic bread is a good incentive to walk across the room! Scruffy is a huge part of our lives. He is an inspiring, happy, snuggly, loving family member. It is truly hard to remember what life was like before we adopted him! We take him with us anywhere he's allowed. We are so incredibly proud of his progress, his bravery, and his fighting spirit. Also very thankful for his snuggles and cute face.

  • Daisy & Amanda: an incredible mother-daughter rescue story

    Daisy and Amanda are a mother-daughter pair of miniature horses. We came upon them while searching for donkeys, actually, but the moment we met them we knew they would be a perfect fit for our animal family. After acquiring dozens of birds, we thought that some hoofed animals might be a helpful and fun addition to the rancho. Our initial plan was to get donkeys - rescues of course! We found a lovely little rescue called Fairy Tale farms, who advertised some rescued donkeys available. We made the short drive to the farm and found that there was only one donkey available (a couple of other pairs had been spoken for just prior to our arrival!) and we really didn't feel comfortable taking a single animal. We know how much the social interactions of daily life are important to these creatures, so we really wanted a pair or a trio. ​ "We don't have a pair of donkeys available, but we do have this mother-daughter pair of miniature horses..." Two years prior, Daisy and dozens of other horses were aboard a truck headed to a slaughterhouse, when the truck was intercepted (peacefully and legally!) by a rescue group. When Daisy arrived at Fairy Tale farms two things became immediately clear: She was blind in her left eye (apparently a veterinary mishap) She was PREGNANT! Amanda was born at the rescue, and bonded closely with her mother. Daisy and Amanda never left each other's sides. Amanda essentially functioned as the eyes for her half-blind mama. Many animals form bonded pairs but this was a very Very VERY tight bond. For YEARS this pair was passed up by potential adoptive families due to concerns about Daisy's vision issues and Amanda's clinginess to her mama... but these features did not deter us. In fact, their bond, the unique features, their story of perseverance and love was truly inspiring. We knew immediately upon meeting them that they would live happily ever after with us.

  • June: sweet little hen whose legs just stopped working

    June is a fabulous little hen! This special girl came to us via a post on one of the chicken-keeping groups on Facebook. The post indicated that June was am overall healthy bird but with severe mobility issues, causing her to be bullied by the rest of the flock. Her family had to move her into an isolated area in order to keep her safe, and they didn't feel that living alone was a fair or satisfying way for a chicken to live. June's mom wondered - could anyone provide a safe home for this hen with extremely limited mobility? Enter Rancho Roben Rescues! We have experience caring for chickens with mobility issues, so June seemed like a perfect fit for us. We picked her up, gave her a name, and brought her to her new forever home. June's first bath: June's new digs: June left us, for unknown reasons, in October 2022. Like so many chickens, she just fell asleep and didn't wake up. We believe that June felt safe, content, and was not scared. We are so thankful that, despite her limitations, June lived a good life.

  • Tiger: the tiniest kitten!

    In early January 2021, we took a drive down to the animal shelter in San Martin to see who might need a home. Sitting behind the front desk was a woman holding a tiny little thing... Me: "What is that?! A chipmunk?!" Her: "No, no," she replied. "It's a kitten. Found by the side of the road. He's about 4 days old. We're looking for a foster family." Us, in unison: "We'll take him!" We loaded the car with ourselves, the tiny kitten (who had already been named Tiger), and his BIG bag of supplies - when you foster an animal, the shelter provides all of the food, bedding, medical care, etc. We would be his home, but technically the shelter still manages his care. We knew from the start that our plan would be to adopt him out to a loving family... but it would be WEEKS before he'd be independent and functional enough to be adoptable. We buckled up for a long ride of excitement, frustration, sleepless nights, and endless adorableness. Tiger started out with bottle feedings (every 1-2 hours x 24 hours per day!!) but we quickly weaned him to solid foods. You really have to teach the cat how to put the food into their mouth! We had MANY cute and snuggly moments with the tiny kitten: Tiger went from being barely-recognizable as a cat to a loving and cuddly house pet within a few short weeks. He quickly made himself comfortable on our heads, shoulders, and inside of our hoodie pockets... but he never fully warmed up with our other cat, Cooper (or, perhaps more accurately, Cooper never really warmed up to Tiger). We really enjoyed the experience of raising a tiny animal, and we reminded ourselves every day that he would eventually leave us for another family. Imagine our DELIGHT and EXCITEMENT when a dear friend (who we see on a very regular basis) told us he wanted to adopt Tiger into his family! ​ The house felt a little bit empty after Tiger moved into his forever home 75 miles north... but he's certainly filling up his new house with a lot of adorable moments.

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