Making sure that animals are well-fed is one way of showing how we appreciate and care for them. In this way, they get the proper nutrition they need daily to recuperate and thrive. Proper nutrition is the foundation for maintaining good health and our body’s ability to heal. The animals at Shy Wolf receive species-appropriate diets and supplements, especially as they age.
Feeding animals the right kind of food comes with its share of challenges. Processed food is common among domesticated pets as it is very easy to prepare – in fact, it does not need any preparation at all. Although these kinds of animal food are made to contain the nutrition that animals need, at the end of the day, they have undergone so many processes that the amino acids, enzymes, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins get destroyed. To compensate for the loss of these vital nutrients, synthetic nutrients are added along with a mix of chemicals, artificial flavoring, and preservatives.
Wild animals are either given a raw diet in the form of whole dead animals complete with the bone (calcium), fur (roughage), skin, and organ meats (high in the essential vitamins and minerals) or the B.A.R.F (Bones And Raw Foods) diet which is similar to a raw diet, but also includes raw fruits and vegetables that are safe for animals. These fruits and vegetables can even be blended and turned into ice cubes that the animals can enjoy on a hot, sunny day. For meat, they can be given deer, elk, chicken, fish, rabbits, beef, lamb, or even goat.
Before deciding what diet to follow, make sure to check with a veterinarian, especially with wolfdogs whose wolf content may affect their dietary needs. Wolves, dingoes, and other primitive canines do not always digest the carbohydrates and fillers commonly used in processed dog food, like soy and corn. They may not have the necessary enzymes adapted through domestication, as in dingoes, or be highly sensitive or allergic to the component.
At Shy Wolf Sanctuary, our resident animals are fed species-specific diets. For the carnivores, the main protein is chicken which is supplemented with beef, pork, and fish. We feed over 400 pounds of meat per feeding preparation, all carefully cut and weighed by staff and volunteers to meet every individual animal’s needs. One wolfdog, Haku, needs a special kibble and medications due to his unique digestive needs and health condition.
To save money, the sanctuary orders chicken quarters by the case in bulk with enough supplies to last for three months. That is 180 cases totaling 4,000 to 6,000 pounds! There are also some occasional donations of supplemental meats which include beef, pork, fish, or venison from local hunters. All of these meats are then cut by volunteers, sectioned into portions, and stored in a walk-in freezer.
In order to properly store all of this meat, Shy Wolf Sanctuary has numerous stand-alone freezers, refrigerators, and even a walk-in freezer. We are always waiting with bated breath to see which one will need to be replaced or repaired. Currently, our walk-in freezer needs to get some maintenance and we need two new upright freezers. Per estimate, the cost for repairs and new units would be around $3,500.
Shy Wolf Sanctuary has many generous benefactors that care deeply for the welfare of our resident animals, as w ell as the animals we rescue and rehome. These freezers are an essential part of our operations, helping Shy Wolf’s animals recover from their injuries and thrive in their packs. Our organization is prepared with an Emergency Fund for unexpected repairs and replacement of mechanical equipment for ongoing care of our animals. Your support in replenishing these funds will help us stay prepared for any potential emergencies that may arise.
Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education and Experience Center was founded in 1993. Incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in January 2001, Shy Wolf strives to educate people about captive-bred exotic animal rescue while helping animals in need. Shy Wolf Sanctuary has rescued over 1300 animals and provided valuable educational experiences to tens of thousands of human visitors from around the world. ShyWolfSanctuary.org.