Alexandra's Animals: A Growing Problem

Alexandra Bastedo, actress and custodian of the ABC Animal Sanctuary near Pulborough, tells us about the latest arrivals

Second guessing what animals will do is always interesting. Recently we took in three micropigs whose owners had moved to New Zealand and one – quite unexpectedly – produced nine piglets.

Not only that but as we were not prepared for that eventuality she picked the oldest pig sty in which to have them which was in imminent danger of falling down.

Shored up by our volunteers it served the purpose and a door was added for fox protection as they were so minute. However with torrential rain it quickly became a quagmire and we resolved to move them from their hovel as soon as possible.

We erected anti- fox electric sheep netting around the adjacent enclosure and installed a new pig ark donated by a kind volunteer. However such was the piglets’ enthusiasm at their new found freedom that they swiftly became entangled in the holes of the netting and we had to think again.

We have now installed wooden  boards all the way round on the inside of the fencing and the enclosure resembles a ramshackle fortress, but at least the lively piglets are able to play and chase each other in safety . We are still looking for homes for five of the nine but they will need to be protected until they are a little larger.

As if that were not enough, the Wiltshire Longhorn and Jacob sheep we were asked to take in will soon be producing lambs and foxes are rife in the field where they are kept. They too will have to come to the sanctuary  to our large anti-fox enclosure for their own protection and we are having to erect two temporary shelters to get them through the worst of the winter. Even that 12 foot high enclosure is now swathed in electric fencing after a young fox succeeded in climbing over it and decimated the chicken population. So keeping one step ahead of the animals is a constant preoccupation.

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New arrivals always change the dynamic of the animal population. On one occasion Maddy our lovely grey pony (with half a tongue) was so terrified at the arrival of the flame spitting green-eyed monsters in the next paddock that she refused to return to her stable for three days.

Finally when we were able to introduce her properly to the benign creatures in the form of goats next door she stopped snorting, rearing and bucking and peace reigned at the sanctuary once more.

Unfortunately because of the volume of older equines we have taken in recently we really need to rehome (on permanent loan) some of the younger ones who have the possibility of a more active life.

To that end we are looking for a lovely riding home for Marty our gentle rescued cob (14.3 hands) and George the beautiful dappled grey Welsh pony(12 hands) who is very biddable and sweet but will need some training.

We also have lovely cats of all colours and kinds for rehoming along with sheep, pigs and ferrets. There are constant demands on the sanctuary with new animals, feed bills, vet bills, and housing and fencing.

If you can help with donations, sponsoring, adopting or rehoming an animal or volunteering in the new year please contact us at  or PO Box 2195, West Chiltington, Pulborough, Sussex RH20 2XB or call 07967046068 or 01798812508.

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