Equines and Birds of Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary
Chris has always loved donkeys, and shortly after we opened CCFS, we had the opportunity to provide a home to two donkeys. This started Chris' "donkey problem," in which he perks up, wide-eyed, any time he hears of a donkey needing rescue. If it were up to him, we would have 100 donkeys.
Our aim at CCFS was to stick to cows, pigs, and donkeys, since we figured we knew those species pretty well and could provide them with quality care. But then we bought Critter Hills, and found that a horse and a small flock of chickens had been left behind. Suddenly, we had to learn about horse and chicken care, too!
Whisper and Jack
Whisper and Jack were a breeding pair of mini-donkeys whose owner left them behind when they were no longer good for breeding. They were taken in by Koreymonde Capuchin Rescue, but the rescue didn’t have a good space for donkeys. So, they were brought to CCFS to have plenty of space to roam. Jack is friendly, but Whisper often looks at us like we’re clearly inferior (she’s probably right).
Mighty and Blaze
This naughty--but affectionate--duo of best buddy donkeys enjoy vexing cows wherever they go at Critter Creek. Mighty was rescued with Hazel the cow's crew as part of a neglect/cruelty case. He has clearly recovered, as there are no signs of his past poor health. It’s worth repeating that he’s naughty—indeed, he is the naughtiest critter at all of Critter Creek. But he’s somehow also sweet, and of course adorable.
Blaze was found by the SF SPCA as a malnourished stray by the local fire station (hence his name). Clearly he isn’t malnourished any longer, with his growing potbelly. He’s extremely friendly and also has an awesome naughty streak. He has been known to follow guests and even bite them on the shirt (or butts) if they don't pet him.
Gladys and Periwinkle
Gladys and Periwinkle were rescued by the SF SPCA as part of a giant hoarding/cruelty case. They were being kept with more than 200 other animals on just over 2 acres of dirt. Due to their previous living conditions, they were ecstatic when they arrived at Critter Hills and saw all the grass, space, hills, and ponds. Both donkeys arrived pregnant, so we should have baby donkeys soon.
Gladys is very friendly and quite chatty, especially when she thinks there are treats nearby. Peri is somewhat more reserved, but is coming out of her shell more and more. As with everything, cookies help. A lot.
Although Gladys is talkative, she has nothing on chatty Petunia. If you hear a donkey braying at Critter Hills, chances are it's Petunia, Peri's young adult daughter who was rescued from the same cruelty case. Sweet Petunia is very affectionate and can often be heard protesting that we don't live in the pasture with her. Or maybe she is protesting that she doesn't live in the house with us?
When we first bought Critter Hills, Chris met an elderly resident donkey with bad hooves. Apparently, she told him she wanted to stay with us (Chris has a donkey problem, remember?). We were thankfully able to negotiate Maebell's release and are getting her hooves progressively better. She is the sweetest, gentlest donkey and just wants affection for as long as you will offer it.
Cody is a 31 year-old horse who was abandoned on the Critter Hills property after the previous property owner moved. Cody hasn't been socialized very much, and is blind in his left eye, so he's sometimes a little jumpy and doesn't have the best manners. Still, for an old, ignored horse he's surprisingly friendly and has a feisty streak!
Critter Hills Chickens
Along with Cody, a flock of chickens were also abandoned on the Critter Hills property. Also like Cody, these chickens are elderly at around 12-15 years old. They don't appear to have ever been treated as pets, and so aren't very trusting of notbirds. With some patience, they have been willing to at least come eat treats next to us, and are progressively less afraid. The five birds are: Peg, Louise, Hawkeye, Margaret, and Mildred.