Redwings Horse Sanctuary has launched an urgent appeal after being faced with a £100,000 hay bill to feed its rescued horses, ponies and donkeys this winter.
The charity, which is based at Aylsham and has centres across the UK, cares for 1,500 equines and is running short of hay because of the extreme weather conditions.
After heavy rain and flooding at Christmas, followed by last week’s snow and subsequent thaw, the sanctuary has had to use much more of its hay supplies than usual to ensure its rescued residents have been well fed.
Yields from its own harvest last year were down 30pc due to the very wet start to the growing season, and a national hay shortage has pushed up prices by as much as 40pc.
With the charity 100pc funded by donations from the public, the extra spend has put further pressure on the sanctuary’s funds, which have been significantly impacted by the coronavirus lockdowns.
Rachel Angell, head of Norfolk equine operations, said: “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.
“Conditions have been particularly difficult at our Norfolk sanctuary sites where the clay soil has left fields waterlogged for longer, delaying the arrival of the spring grass and forcing us to use more hay to make sure our horses stay healthy.
“Luckily we were able to find a supplier who could provide the right quantity and quality of hay but, with the pandemic having placed significant pressure on our budgets, we urge anyone who can to consider a donation to ensure we can purchase any further hay we may need and continue to provide specialist care for our rescued horses, now and into the future.”
To donate, please call 01508 481000 or click here.