Goat coats, methane and lots of straw: How an animal sanctuary keeps its inhabitants warm in winter | Local News

Heartland Goat

Jen Korz, CEO of Heartland Farm Sanctuary, gets some love from Sunflower, a Lamancha goat, with Sunflower’s daughter, Ash, on the right. Their “goat coat” is one of many tools used to keep 80 of the ranch’s animals warm during the cold Wisconsin winter.


When temperatures drop at the Heartland Ranch Preserve in Verona, it’s easy to walk across a haystack and not think about it.

But poke that haystack, and the three pigs huddled under the blankets emerge, curious to see if they’ll find a snack before nestling back under the straw against the winter chill.

Real-life ‘pigs in a blanket’, they are among about 80 animals being prepared for the upcoming cold weather at the sanctuary, which provides intensive care for farm animals rescued in conjunction with educational and therapeutic programs for people, to create empathy and compassion.

The blankets were sewn by volunteers of the First Unitarian Society in Madison. Other pigs are fitted with special earmuffs to keep their long, drooping ears warm and dry, with additional accommodations designed to protect emus, ducks, llamas and other animals .

“While pets curl up in circles or by fires, the season poses a unique challenge for farm animals confined to sanctuaries,” said Jen Korz, the firm’s chief executive officer. exist like Heartland.

Pig heart

Pigs huddle under blankets in a barn at the Heartland Ranch Sanctuary in Verona. The reserve’s pigs can use up to five blankets and plenty of straw in the winter.


“Farm animals have similar needs,” says Korz. “They need access to shelter. They need quality food. They need social connections, and they need shelter.”


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