Farm giving unwanted livestock a chance

·3 min read

A small farm located south of Strathmore is providing sanctuary to hundreds of abused, neglected and unwanted animals.

Misfit Farms started because its owner, Savannah Ross, “really wanted to get out of the city.

“My plan when I first came here was to have a few small farm animals for ourselves, but I’m a bit of a sucker and I have a soft heart,” said Ross.

The numbers grew from there. Currently, there are about 300 animals at the farm. “We have llamas, quail, chickens, ducks, geese, goats and potbellies (pigs),” she said.

The farm is not a registered charity or official animal rescue, and does not adopt out animals or charge fees for rehoming. It also does not rescue cats or dogs, but partners with some rescues that will take larger animals.

“We don’t take cows and horses here, so I send them off to my foster home,” said Ross.

Many of the animals there would not win best-in-show, she added.

“We have a lot of animals that are handicapped, some are blind, missing a wing, missing a leg. A lot of them are just unproductive – small farmers just can’t afford to keep animals that are not producing, so typically they end up getting killed.”

But that doesn’t mean they are not valuable.

“I just love being around them and can tell that they are thriving in this environment,” said Ross. “They let you give back in a way that you’re not really getting any kind of recognition – the animals don’t say thank you every morning when you’re out there feeding them.”

The animals are fed through a “loop program” where once a week, groceries from Save On Foods are transported to the farm.

“We get half a truckload, which takes us about 10 hours to go through it all,” she said.

These donations allow the animals to eat things other than commercial feed. “They get to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, which they really love.”

Ross said she appreciates the donations because they would be able to keep fewer animals without them. “It’s a very expensive project; there is no funding and we’re not part of any kind of rescue organization. It’s all dependent on the generosity of others, and we’ve had some lovely people donate a lot of items, like hay and bedding,” she said.

Previously, the farm provided learning opportunities for families. “We really love to be able to put together a program to educate children on ways to care for animals and give them an opportunity to connect with them.”

The farm has been challenged by COVID-19, noted Ross. “Obviously, it’s a lot of work, and because of the pandemic, we haven’t had any volunteers here for the last year.” Donations have also been down, she added.

Misfit Farm is planning a membership campaign so they can continue to welcome animals. The campaign will allow people to visit the farm on family days and sponsor some animals. “We’re going to offer opportunities for people to just get a little bit more involved.”

Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times