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Urgent appeal to help cover £100,000 hay costs for rescued horses

A welfare charity has launched an urgent appeal for donations to help cover the extra £100,000 it has had to spend on hay this winter.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary said it has been forced to spend the extra to feed its 1,500 equids as extreme wet weather meant the charity was facing a hay shortage.

“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 residents have been kept well fed,” said a Redwings spokesman.

“Unfortunately yields from our own harvest last year were down 30% due to the very wet start to the growing season, and a national hay shortage has pushed up prices by as much as 40% from some suppliers.”

The spokesman said as the charity is fully funded by public donations, the extra spend has put pressure on the sanctuary’s “already tightened” budgets.

“With so many horses to look after 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,” said Rachel Angell, head of the charity’s Norfolk equine operations.

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“Conditions have been particularly difficult at our Norfolk 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.”

Rachel added that Redwings has found a supplier who can provide the right quality and quantity of hay, but said the pandemic has placed significant pressure on finances.

“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,” said Rachel.

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