Pensioner Paul

Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I’m sixty-four

Paul McCartney

Ever since becoming aware of our new arrival’s story, The Beatle’s song ‘When I’m Sixty Four’, ran in my head. I was not surprised today, as I manoeuvred the horse float into position to collect him, to see the house number ’64’ opposite.

In our district is the stock truck route from the Ballarat Saleyards to the largest abattoir in central Victoria. On certain days of the week, huge B doubles hurtle along the highways, swinging wide on corners, crammed full of sheep. Even as I stepped from my vehicle this afternoon, a truck drove past, with a sheep wildly struggling on the top deck, two thirds of his body protruding up from the sheep surrounding him or her.  I could see sheep on their sides, legs protruding as the truck sped past.

Hundreds of sheep being taken to a dreadful death…while we gathered to save the life of just one.

On the weekend I was advised of a social media post regarding a ram who had appeared in a local town. This town is directly on the stock truck route. Emaciated and clearly aged, the ram was marked for death on his back. This dear old soul, having been of commercial use until now, had been loaded on a truck and  sent for slaughter.

Glenlyon ram

Although he did not know it his guardian angel now came to his aid. He came off the truck en route …and luckily near people who would care for him until a place of safety could be found. His tags were traced to his breeder, but his subsequent owner did not step forward to claim him. It is likely he had been on sold to the abattoir.

Paul 5b

His tags show him to be 11 years old……a good age for a sheep…but he was not allowed to live out his days, instead he was subject to terror and fear.

Thankfully, Paul, as he is now called, instead has come to us. We have him in a shelter at present. He appears in reasonable health, although he needs to gain some weight and strength. All being well, he will have a small operation, so he can join the special needs flock.

A huge thank you to those who took him into care and kept him safe.

Will we still need you? Will we still feed you…..yes, Paul, yes…….

Paul 2b












Lambs are for loving…….

“The Emperor wishes me to send my innocent little lamb to the slaughter. ”
― S.J. Kincaid

According to Jan O’Connell in her blog, ‘The Australian Food History Timeline’, in 2005 in response to declining lamb sales, the Australian  Meat and Livestock Corporation recruited former Australian Rules footballer and media personality Sam Kekovich to be their “Lambassador“. Ms O’Connell states, ‘ The first 90-second diatribe condemned vegetarians as un-Australian. Annual rants have continued to promote lamb for Australia Day, resulting in a spike in lamb sales in the week leading up to the national holiday. In my youth, Australia Day used to be a pretty tame affair, mainly taken up with naturalisation ceremonies, flag-raising and speeches. There was the odd re-enactment of the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson and, of course, there was a public holiday, but I don’t remember lamb being on the menu.’

Some weeks ago we received a call from a contact located in the west of Victoria. A number of sheep, part of a flock being loaded on a transport destined for the abattoir, were ‘left over’ (ie they could not be squeezed onto the already heavily laden truck). By way of being an inconvenience, their lives were saved. Fortunately there was someone nearby who could take them, and through them, we were contacted. Although we have taken in so many sheep this season, and our paddock feed is drying up…we were their lifeline  and so we agreed to give the five young wethers a safe destination.

Transport was not available until this week, and poignantly, as thousands of other young sheep faced fear, terror and slaughter, these five sheep arrived to safety, to live out their natural lives together.

Although fearful after their journey, already they are responding to us (with Weetabix as always our helper), and starting to settle.

Being Australian, being a ‘good’ Australian, does not need us to embrace the slaughter of innocent animals.  Our lambs are for loving…….





One lucky sheep

No one gets justice. People only get good luck or bad luck

Orson Welles


‘What about me…arrival number three?’
Sorry, we were getting to you.
Arrival number three for 2018 is the very handsome David. I feel we should have named him Phil…for ‘Lucky Phil’ because he is one very lucky sheep.
Bred, born and raised to be sold for slaughter, all was going to plan. David, with hundreds of his flock, had been rounded up, yarded, and sent to the sale yards. There they were bought by a meat processor for slaughter.
So again, he was rounded up and pushed up the ramps onto the B double truck. His journey would end by being off loaded into the yards at the abattoir, and in the next day or so, pushed through the door to the slaughter floor, where his short life would end, to provide meat.
David got lucky..very very lucky.
The door had not been secured properly. Not long into his final journey, the force of the other hapless sheep pushed David out of the door and onto the highway. There, stunned, he paused as the truck kept driving.
A passing motorist saw what had happened and, being in the line of work that knew what to do, stopped to help the sheep and secure him, contacting authorities to collect him.
He was impounded and traced through his NLIS tag, but no one wanted to claim him. We put in a successful tender …so David now is more than a commodity, he has a name , not just a number. He is loved.
…and the reward…in less than a week after arrival…after all that he has been through…he allowed me to scratch the top of his woolly head tonight, even though he was free to move away.
So welcome David, we are lucky to care for you


David the sheep

Blind love

“I wish for all of us the blindness of love that makes us see no faults in the other.”
Kamand Kojouri

Many years ago, I received a call. Did I know of a home for a ewe? She had been rescued as a lamb, raised as a member of the household, but her carer could look after her no longer.

It was lucky that I did have such a home available. A friend had a pet sheep, and she needed a companion. So Blossom, as the ewe is named, made her way to a new home and lots of love and care.

Her companion died at an advanced age, and when her carer went on holidays, Blossom would stay with us.

Sadly however, Blossom’s carer became gravely ill and the time came when Blossom came to live with us permanently. She joined the flock however was always keen to come into the house, as she had done as a young sheep at her first home.

Then one day I noticed Blossom walk into a tree. Examination showed she had developed cataracts, and sadly, unlike in humans, this is not a condition that can be treated surgically.

So Blossom moved into our special care yard, with a shelter for nights and extreme weather, and is hand fed.

She has a variety of companions, depending on who is in the care yard as well.

Blossom is now at an advanced age so we make sure she has gentle friends.

Recently two young lambs joined us. Quincy had been found alone in a paddock, with no mother in sight. The farmer decided to surrender him into care. On arrival to the sanctuary he was found to have a condition that reduced his sight…and this was likely the reason he had become separated from his mother as the flock moved on. Luckily this little man had landed on his hooves at a sanctuary that could and did, provide him with the necessary surgery to correct his loss of vision.

Quincy and his friend, Smudge, came to us and moved in with Blossom until they are older an able to join the main flock.

Over the weeks I had noticed that Smudge would go on adventures, but Quincy always stayed close to Blossom.

Blossom has lost her sight and can never regain it. Quincy lost his sight and his Mum, but his sight is now back.

Somehow I feel Quincy is preparing to be Blossom’s eyes, while she provides him with a quiet safe presence, just like a Mum.

Bless them both.










She who dares to be different …Wilma

“Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.”
Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

I remember clearly an on line discussion regarding sheep. A farmer posting stated that sheep did not show intelligence, that proof of this was how hard it could be to ‘herd’ a flock of sheep into a yard.

To me this shows quite the opposite. It shows that the sheep are VERY aware that they are in danger, that the yard holds the fear of the unknown, of loss of freedom, and the risk of being subject to the will of another.

When Wilma saw her flock friends being herded into yards she made a decision, one that would save her life. She refused to go with the flock. Against all normal instincts that there is safety in numbers, Wilma decided to go it alone and take a risk.

From behind the trees she watched her flock family driven off, never to return…. and alone she roamed the bush block.

There was some luck on Wilma’s side. Her ‘owner’ did not want to capture her and make another trip to the abattoir; the property is to be sold. Permission was given…if we could catch her, we could have her.

When I first saw Wilma she darted off for cover, vulnerable away from her flock, terrified.

Her next encounter with humans was to see a yard put up in the bush, with some tasty lucerne hay put in. Whether or not she was tempted we do not know.

Yesterday the master plan was put into action. Our float was taken to the block,  and there, with  the generous assistance of Bill and his two experienced working dogs, Wilma was robbed of her hard won freedom.

It is always hard to witness the fear and terror as an animal tries to escape, and willing them to understand that their very life and safety is at stake.

After 20 minutes, Wilma was ’rounded up’ and secured in a horse float, where she spent the night.

Wilma 2Wilma

Today she made the journey to Honey’s Pledge and was released into a yard, with a small flock of sheep adjacent.

Wilma is heavy with fleece but given the cold weather and onset of winter, she will not be shorn until Spring. She will live in the yards for some time until we can gain her trust and reassure her that life here is safe.

A new flock and a new life.


A little one lost…..

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep…………

Meet Peggy.

Peggy was spotted by a kindly member of the community in an adjacent garden. Neighbours were canvassed but no one was missing a sheep.

Peggy had what appeared to be an injured leg and some injuries to her face.

Despite the garden being unfenced Peggy stayed put, and the reason…she had found a friendly face.

We found this so poignant…..lost and lonely…Peggy made ‘friends’ with a familiar figure. Apparently she even slept snuggled up to her friend, a fibreglass sheep.

Peggy Peggy 1

With no one coming forward to claim Peggy, we offered to provide her sanctuary and treatment for her injuries.

Using our portable yards, the HP team quietly assembled an open ended corral around the fibreglass friend. Then standing with our eyes lowered we waited, and in just a few minutes Peggy ran to join her friend in the yard and we secured her.

2015-05-08_13-09-45_338 2015-05-08_13-10-39_67 2015-05-08_14-18-28_161

Gently we carried her to the horse float. We felt sad at leaving her ‘friend’ and comfort behind but joyous that as soon as possible Peggy would re reunited with real sheep.

Peggy was transported directly to a vet who diagnosed injuries to her eye and mouth from a likely dog attack, as well as a badly infected front foot.

Peggy is having treatment for her eye and foot and is snug and dry in the horse float.

Once her hoof has healed she will be transferred to the stables and then to our sheep yards.

Where sheep may safely graze…..the continuing story

“Birds of the same feathers flock together, and when they flock together they fly so high.”
Cecil Thounaojam

On February 13 we collected seven sheep from the local pound. That day three more sheep arrived at the pound from the same property..sheep from the same flock who had strayed.

In  due course these three also made their way to Honey’s Pledge.

All have been shorn and are out of quarantine, settling in to their new life.

Recently I felt the need to check the local pound and saw…three more sheep. On making enquiries I was told these were from the same flock.

We were not surprised that these three have not been claimed and, after the necessary formalities, today we collected them from the pound for their journey to safety.

With the splendid set of horns on one, as we expected one of our new charges is a ram.

Our first priority is to have the three ‘crutched’. It is far too late in the year to remove their fleece but we have to remove the extensive soiled fleece from their rears.

Clearly these sheep have not been shorn for some time. We are hoping that this may have prevented the ram from enabling more little sheep to come into this world, but only time will tell.

After crutching, our lovely ram will be having some surgery to transform him to a ‘wether’. ‘Spring’ may require her horns to be trimmed as they appear very close to her eyes.

We are hoping that no sheep remain on the property they originally escaped from, or if so, that there are no more rams and so the flow of rescues will cease.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hay appeal

2012-05-26_15-32-10_350 934166_441360769291660_768872590_n

We have two HP horses, Banjo and Jimmy,  being returned to us this week.

This is at a time when we are needing to feed out the horses here for the next 6 weeks until another pasture area becomes available.

Having two horses arrive back, plus with the additional sheep we have taken in recently, means we are having to provide a lot of fodder.

Can you help us over the next few weeks with the purchasing of lucerne squares (for the sheep) and round bales (for the horses and cattle)?

$10 will purchase a bale of lucerne and $60 a round bale

Your help at this time will be greatly appreciated.

Account details

Honeys Pledge Inc


BSB            033688

Account    503538

Please reference your donation with your name, and use the contact form to advise us of your donation so a receipt can be issued.

If you cannot access internet banking, donations can be sent to Honey’s Pledge Inc. PO Box 94, DAYLESFORD, VIC. 3460.

Honey’s Pledge Inc has Deductible Gift status.

Where sheep may safely graze

Sheep may safely graze
Woolly lambs are gamboling by the streams
Sheep may safely graze
All the lost children will be found in time
Sheep may safely graze, my boy
Close your eyes, your daddy is by your side

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

We are often asked where our rescue sheep come from. Apart from orphan lambs and surrenders, many sheep are from local council ”pounds’..

When an animal deemed as ‘livestock’ is found on the roads, is abandoned on a property, or on another land holders land, the local council is empowered to ‘impound’ the animal/s.

If no owner comes forward, after a statutory period, the animals are disposed of by the council

One means is by tender, where members of the public can place a sealed bid, to purchase the animals.

A few weeks ago a supporter alerted us to there being seven sheep in our local pound, soon to be sold through tender. The seven were listed as 5 ewes and 2 rams. As we are aware that such animals are often purchased to be on sold to the sale yards or abattoir for a profit, we were keen to put in a bid to secure a safe future.

Funds being low, we were thrilled to have support for a fund raiser to enable us to put in a bid for the sheep

We put in our tender and then had a tense wait to find out if we were successful. Thankfully we were and a few days ago these seven lucky sheep arrived. One small ewe had already been shorn as she had had horrendous fly strike on arrival at the pound, and we thank the shire for taking prompt action, as such severe flystrike would have led to her death.

On the day our seven were collected the shire contractor had collected yet another three of five more sheep from the same property. These are now in the pound and the same process will apply.

The seven sheep are of mixed breeds, some Suffolks, a couple of Dorset crosses and a magnificent Border Leicester. We shedded them in the stables to get the accustomed to us hand feeding them, and to ensure they stayed dry prior to shearing. Very glad we did as we had a torrential downpour.

Yesterday our fantastic shearer made a special trip over to shear the six sheep. At the same time all were drenched for parasites and also treated for nasal discharge.

They are getting used to us and the Border Leicester, ‘Beau’, is especially friendly, leading us to believe he was a pet at some stage.

After a time in quarantine they will join one of the main flocks.

And the other good news….at shearing we confirmed the group is made up of four wethers (male sheep who have been castrated) and three ewes, saving us the needs to castrate any rams, and hopefully none of the ewes are pregnant!

So now we will need to wait and hope we can save their friends.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




A not-so-special sheep

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.
– His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Snowy Autumn Leaf was not unique. He was no different to any other sheep.

What was different was that his life, though cut short, was a life of love, freedom, caring and affection.

That was not to be the case. Snowy was bred for profit, to be slaughtered, but he got lucky.

And we reaped the reward.

Follow the link and meet Snowy.