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Get introduced to our animals

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Living with an animal is like music to the soul. So my life could really be described as a symphony. Tallara Park is home to many animals. Some of them have huge egos while others are quiet and unassuming. One thing is certain, they are all individuals and have their own unique personalities.

If you want to get introduced to our animals please read about them here »



Three pardons for a pig – Part 2

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It was the fear that started it. I didn’t want him to be afraid of me. That may sound strange because I was planning to kill the little chap anyway but I like to think that the animals I do kill have a happy life. They are free to enjoy their environment and they have shelter and good feed.

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Three pardons for a pig – Part 1

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I have been meaning to put this up for a while but time is so hard to find these days…

Last year I entered a writing competition run by Voiceless to advance understanding of animal sentience and the ethical treatment of animals. My entry focused on Duncan the pig who we had adopted the previous year. I was thinking there might be 50 or 60 entries but there were over 350 and sadly my entry did not gain a place.

But I think it is a good story and I’m sure many people would be interested to hear “the full story” of how Duncan came to live with us. There are three sections and I will post them in three different entries:

The first section is partly fictitious. Neither Ian or I have any idea how Duncan came to be wandering around in the bush that day. So I took the liberty of making up what I thought had happened…I hope you enjoy my imaginings. The story becomes fact at the point where the people capture Duncan. Yes, he was actually captured with a Mars bar. God bless him.

The second section is the one that I think you will find the most interesting. It outlines how Ian and Duncan’s relationship gradually developed and the main events that led to Duncan’s life being spared. I for one had never been exposed to the thought processes that lead someone to kill animals for food and then consciously decide not to kill an animal. I found it absolutely fascinating. In retrospect, maybe I could have elaborated on the ‘killing mindset’ more but at the time it just didn’t happen.

The third section involves Duncan’s arrival here at Tallara Park which I have written about before but for continuity sake, will include here.

So read on… enjoy ….. but just for one moment, consider. That if someone like Ian who was a pig hunter and quite okay with killing animals for his own consumption, was so affected by getting to know Duncan that he totally changed his outlook and was unable to kill him – what would do if you were in the same situation?  I know that this is impossible – most of you would never get the opportunity to really form a bond with such an animal … and meat in its polystyrene packing is so removed from the actual being that once owned its flesh that it has been made almost impossible to make a connection.

But please … try to put the two together.

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The past few weeks have been quiet – unusually quiet for me. That’s not to say that there isn’t anything to do – quite the opposite. It’s just that I have been forced to take it easy.

Like many other people I have injured my back. Two of my discs have herniated and are compressing a nerve in my leg. Once the actual diagnosis was made and appropriate painkillers prescribed, my life became a bit easier and my spirits lifted considerably. Before that I was depressed, mega depressed. The constant pain was just so wearing and even the simplest activities were so difficult – even putting my shoes and socks on my left leg was impossible. I was so thankful to have Kelsea to help me with those chores but then she broke her arm, poor baby and I was back to square one.

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Duncan’s decided to stay

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Duncan’s dad came home recently from a trip to the Northern Territory.  Duncan came to stay with us because there are not many places where you can board a 180kg pig.
As you may remember Duncan’s life has been punctuated by a series of ‘fortunate’ incidents. He somehow managed to escape from wherever he was born and was found wandering in the bush near Kurrajong Heights as a piglet. He was then given to Ian who decided to fatten him up for last year’s Christmas dinner. But Ian discovered that Duncan’s friendship was far more valuable than his flesh, so Christmas came and went and Duncan remained. Duncan doted on Ian, much like a dog and became depressed whenever he was left alone. He lived a charmed life becoming a very spoilt only pig. But (to cut a long story short), Ian and his wife had been planning a long trip and had begun to fret about what to do with Duncan knowing that he didn’t even like being left for a few hours. So Ian asked me could he come and stay at our place with my two pigs Patch and Simon. On our first meeting Ian expressed concern about Duncan’s loneliness and we decided to leave the arrangement open so that if he was happy, he could stay on. 

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The Hannibal Lector mask

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You have to be cruel to be kind. Easy words to say but very hard to put into practice when you love someone very much.

Today I bought a grazing muzzle for our gorgeous Kitty who is on the verge of foundering. She would, like most Shetland ponies, literally eat herself to death if given the chance. Founder or Equine laminitis is a vascular disease associated with the hoof’s laminae. The laminae secure the coffin bone to the hoof wall. Inflammation interferes with the wall/bone bond. In advanced laminitis, the coffin bone becomes detached from the horny wall and may rotate or sink. Laminitis is a very serious problem for horses and some breeds – like Kitty and probably Monty being a cross Clydesdale, are predisposed to it.

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Hair today, gone tomorrow

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 Spring is the season of new life, of lengthening days and lifting moods… and hair.

At our place there is an abundance of hair. As the weather begins to warm up, the animals shed their thick coats which have insulated them from the freezing conditions over winter. Left to their own devises they eventually lose their hair but I like to give them a helping hand, simply because it makes them feel so good to get rid of it. You can tell when an animal enjoys something – they have very expressive faces. They also move their body appreciatively to your brush strokes, arching their back and twisting into different positions to show you the parts which need more attention. And when it’s over they roll and shake and then look at you and in their own special language say ‘thank-you’.

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Chickens’ feet and music for pigs

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Something happened today which was very funny and I thought I’d share it with you. A couple of the chickens have got mites in their feet. These mites burrow underneath the scales and cause great discomfort. The easiest way I’ve found to get rid of them is to soak the hens’ feet in vegetable oil. The oil coats their feet and suffocates the mites. It is also soothing for the chickens as the mites cause their feet to become dry and scaly. Anyway we had just finished our foot soaking routine when Alana turned to me, pointed to the container of oil and said “Are you going to use that for our dinner?” (She had obviously seen me get it out of the pantry and pour it into a container). The thought of taking the oil, complete with dirt and scales and probably a few dead mites and using it to fry up a batch of chips was so revolting it cracked me up. “No” I said, “I’m going to throw it on the fire pile”. “Oh good” she replied with relieved expression on her face. Wow, I realised that the world must be a really scary place when you’re a child!

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Meet Monty

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It wasn’t love at first sight when I first met Monty, I think it took about four minutes.

I looked into his eyes and knew I was the presence of greatness. Only a few times in my life have I felt such immediate trust and understanding with an animal. Usually it is a process that takes days or sometimes weeks. But as I stood there I got the uncanny feeling that I was an open book and he was reading the pages. It didn’t take long (pretty short book obviously). After about a minute he accepted me and then I felt his trust. He radiated confidence and a down to earth goodness and I knew I was lucky to have met him.

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Feeding time again!

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Everyday over winter and part of autumn and spring, I have the same routine. At 7am and 4pm I feed up. It doesn’t matter whether it’s pouring rain, the wind is howling, I’m sick or tired, it is something that must be done. I don’t really think about it, it is as much a part of my life as brushing my teeth or getting dressed. Even as a child I had a multitude of animals and Mum always used to remark to her friends that “it keeps her off the street” when they expressed disbelief at how she coped with me and all my ‘friends’. In the last post I talked about some of the hurdles that I’ve faced with feeding the pigs so I thought I continue on in the same vein and give you an insight into the general feeding regime for all the animals.

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Humane Society International Australia

Humane Society International (HSI) envisions a world in which people change their interaction with other animals and their environments, evolving from exploitation and harm to respect and compassion.


Voiceless is an independent non-profit think tank dedicated to alleviating the suffering of animals in Australia.

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