|A TYPICAL WEEK OF EXPENSES AT HAPPY TRAILS
by Annette Fisher, Executive Director
|NOTE: This article was written during the Summer months, but all information is still factual and up-to-date.|
Many wonderful Happy Trails supporters generously donate to help support the farm animal rescue efforts here at the sanctuary. Though I’m sure that everyone has a basic idea of how our funds are spent, I’d like to highlight some typical as well as not-so-typical expenses that we deal with on a daily basis.
Our grain costs last week came to $187. It varies from week to week depending on if we received any grain donations or not.
A load of hay came in at $3.75 a bale, and we got sixty bales — $225 worth. With our pastures eaten down and the amount of horses here at this time, we are going through about ten bales per day, so that is not quite a week’s worth of hay to us.
We need to keep up with bedding for everyone, from the piggies to the horses to the ducks to the sheep. We had been using strictly straw, which we’ve found on an average of $3.50 a bale. A load of about 40 bales of straw this past week cost us $140. Our stalls in the horse barn are 12’x12’, so they take a little more bedding than the smaller stalls that many people have. We would like to switch over to bags of sawdust shavings for the horse barn, but it’s actually even more expensive than straw, with an average price of about $3.75 to $3.99 per bag. We tried getting a load of sawdust once, but that wasn’t realistic either, not having any safe or dry area in which to store such a large amount of sawdust.
The above list is for basic food and bedding expenses. Those figures don’t count the medical issues from last week.
Royal, a handsome Standardbred gelding who was once treated once for EPM, a neurological disease affecting stability and balance, had another episode with reoccurring symptoms. His 28 day paste medication alone was $550.
Barney, another Standardbred gelding, was given the typical thorough check-up and health evaluation upon being accepted into our program, which was $150.
A mom Standardbred and her baby, who was born with a congenital birth defect (a deformed front hoof and ankle), was accepted into the Happy Trails rescue program, but not after a complete examination which came to a total of $550.
Hoover the new mini-pig needed neutered — $135.
The rooster hurt his eye in a bar fight (read – through the fence) with the other rooster — Opthalmalic Terramycin was $8 a tube.
All the horses were due for their six-week hoof trimming. Draft horses cost a little more, and four draft horses at $35 each cost $140. Twelve regular horses at $20 each to trim, cost Happy Trails $240.
The goats and sheep were due for Vitamin B-12 shots. Luckily we had those on hand – no out of pocket expenses this time.
We ran out of fly spray — two gallons of Bronco at TSC was about $14 each.
The one group of horses kicked in half the one metal gate out in the pasture — read $45 for a new, cheapest we could find, metal 12’ panel gate.
And that’s just for one week.
The week before the Summer picnic, we had more gravel delivered to help complete the truck turn-around in front of the horse barn to make loading and unloading safer for the horses as well as the people and trucks involved in transport. Gravel itself was $375, with another $75 to have it spread and put in place.
Some of the projects that we are still hoping to accomplish include: having a cement floor laid for the one piggy shelter that often floods when it rains — quoted price: $550. Having stall mats installed in all the horse stalls to help save on soggy bedding and help prevent pawing and digging of the stalls — quoted price per stall – $150 (there are 14 stalls). Getting a few final loads of gravel dumped to finish off the turn-around area next to the horse barn — average cost per load: $180.
Our expenses vary weekly due to unexpected circumstances or emergency rescues or what happens to need repaired that week. Certain items that we constantly need to purchase are grain, hay, straw and medications. Hopefully this will at least give you an overall idea of how funds are used to contribute to the direct care of the rescued farm animals.