Urgent hay appeal as charity’s horses hit hard by wild weather

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Redwings is appealing for extra support following poor weather, lower yields and increasing prices.
Redwings is appealing for extra support following poor weather, and lower yields and increasing prices of hay. © Redwings

British equine charity Redwings is making an urgent winter appeal for hay after its stores were depleted following heavy rain and flooding at Christmas, and then a dump of snow.

An extra 600 tonnes of hay has been found to help feed more than 1000 horses and donkeys at its sites but the charity needs help with the extra cost.

Many of the charity’s horses are heavy-footed cobs which means the rain and snow make foraging even more vital.

The recent wet conditions meant that Redwings used more of its hay supplies than usual to ensure its rescued residents have been kept well fed. “The extra spend has put pressure on tightened budgets which have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus lockdowns,” the charity said.

Last year it was dry and Redwings produced less of its own hay, and the hay it had to buy cost even more than usual, which added to the current situation.

Rachel Angell, the Head of Norfolk Equine Operations, said conditions had been particularly difficult at the Norfolk sanctuary sites where the clay soil has left fields waterlogged for longer, delaying the arrival of the spring grass and forcing staff to use more hay to make sure the horses stay healthy.

“With so many horses to look after on a daily basis, we plan our supplies carefully for each winter, but the recent incredibly poor weather, lower yields and increasing prices have created a perfect storm where we find ourselves appealing for extra support,” she said.

• A gift of £25 will buy enough hay to feed a Redwings resident for two weeks. Donations can be made on the hay appeal page or call 01508 481000.

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