Maple Farm Animal Sanctuary - Mendon MASS
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Welcome Spanky and Brady

MFS has added two more animals to our herd: goats Spanky and Brady!

Spanky (above left) and Brady (above right) are Nigerian Pygmy cross goats who were being raised by a breeder to be sold for meat. A woman happened to see them shortly after they were put up for sale at just one year of age each. The two goats were clearly terrified as they stood together in a tiny cage, and the woman just knew she could not go home without them.

The woman later contacted MFS, and we were happy to offer the goats a home in December 2018. When they arrived, we could tell that they had not been fed properly, and we immediately provided them nutritious food, gave them their vaccinations, and—because they are both males—had them neutered.

Both Spanky and Brady are quite shy because they have not received much attention from people or other animals, but we are confident they will come out of their shells once they get to know MFS volunteers and the many animals in our big goat barn. At just a little over one years old each, they are also the youngest animals at MFS, which means we will be able to provide them with a safe and loving home for many more years to come!

Above: Brady

Above: Spanky

Vegan Holiday Cookie Recipes from MFS

‘Tis the season for holiday baking, and MFS is here to share with you our favorite vegan holiday cookie recipes, and other festive treats. Check out these tried-and-tested vegan holiday cookie recipes from MFS volunteers as well as our friends over at Positive Change for Animals.

Naturally Vegan Cookies and Treats

Candied Pecans from

“These candied nuts are so simple to make, but delicious to taste. I’ve made them with pecans and walnuts, but any variety of nut would work. Just bake and enjoy!”

— Events Volunteer Debbi

Classic Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies from My Darling Vegan

“This is my favorite holiday cookie recipe because you can't go wrong with a classic! With this recipe, you don't have to buy any off-the-wall ingredients or make any complicated swaps to end up with a perfect little chocolatey cookie.”

— Marketing Advisor Laura

Easy Vegan Gingerbread Cookies from Allrecipes

“Most gingerbreads I have come across are already vegan - great, I can taste the dough before cooking with no worries! This recipe is one I really like.”

— MFS Board Member Karen

Laura's Vegan Ninja Bread Cookies

“These are gingerbread cookies with a kick!”

— Positive Change for Animals member Laura

Michael’s Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

“These peanut butter cookies have pleased many friends and family members over the years. They are easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, if they last that long.”

— Barn Volunteer Michael

Vegan Cookie Dough Truffles from Chef Chloe

“My mom made these for me a few years ago and each year since then I’ve begged her to make them again. These are the perfect holiday treat for anyone who loves eating both cookie dough and chocolate!”

— Communications Director Jen

Vegan Magic Cookie Bars from Wanderlust Kitchen

“These bars don't ever last a whole weekend at my house. They're super easy and quick to make and you can't tell they're dairy free!”

— Tour Guide Assistant Melissa

Vegan Old-fashioned Soft Pumpkin Cookies from Genius Kitchen

“The spices, applesauce, and pumpkin in these cookies and the rustic shape reminds me of my childhood and cookies my grandmother made. She used vegetable shortening and applesauce for baking instead of eggs.”

— Tour Director Marlene

Vegan Thumbprint Cookies from Loving It Vegan

“This is an easy thumb print vegan cookie recipe. Everyone always loves these cookies, especially at Christmas. This recipe is easy, delicious, and fun to make!  ”

— Barn Program Coordinator Pam

Veganized Versions of Holiday Cookie Favorites

Flourless Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free)

“I love these cookies!! Minimal ingredients, GF, and easy to make!”

— Produce Pick-Up Volunteer Sue

Snowball Cookies from Land O'Lakes

“Snowball cookies are a Christmas staple. For this recipe, you can just substitute vegan butter for the regular butter. I’ll be baking up a batch very soon myself!”

— Barn Program Coordinator Pam

Vegan Eggnog Sugar Cookies

"This recipe was super easy to veganize by switching out the butter with Earth Balance and eggs with egg replacer. The best part is that they taste just like eggnog, although even folks who don't like eggnog think they are delicious!"

— Design Volunteer Laurie

MFS 2018 Holiday Card

Send a holiday card to a friend who loves animals as much as you do!

This holiday season, give a gift that gives back: a festive holiday card that will bring joy to your recipient and a lifetime of loving care for rescued farm animals.

For a limited time only, when you make a gift of $40 or more to Maple Farm Sanctuary, we will mail a personalized holiday card to a recipient of your choice.

Just imagine your recipient's expression when they open the envelope to see a photo of Boo Boo, a playful cow who was badly neglected until MFS stepped in to save him. The back and inside of the card also feature photos of our two new alpacas, Winslow and Merlin, and our feisty pig Jack.

**To ensure that your card arrives before Christmas, please make your gift by Wednesday, December 19.**

Order Your Card Now

Favorite Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes from MFS

Still looking for that perfect dish for your vegan Thanksgiving celebration? You’ve come to the right place! We’ve assembled a list of our volunteers' favorite vegan Thanksgiving recipes.

Starters and Sides

Butternut Squash Farinata from the Washington Post

“I think I have made this recipe every Thanksgiving since going vegan. I find it to be a nice alternative to the usual mashed sweet potato side. It's got lots of autumnal flavors packed in and it's dead simple to make. You can also dip it into your soup and/or gravy, not that I would know anything about that!”

— Tour Guide Assistant Charles

Michael’s Vegan Thanksgiving Stuffing

“My vegan Thanksgiving stuffing is really tasty! I also use a copycat spice recipe along with it.”

— Barn Volunteer Michael

Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup from By Chloe

“This soup is amazing and easy! It’s got a lot of flavor and is loved by vegans and non-vegans alike. Be sure to include the croutons as it rounds out the dish. Enjoy!”

— Produce Pick-Up Volunteer Sue

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Butternut Squash from Skinnytaste

“The crunch of Brussel sprouts and the smoothness of butternut squash topped with cranberries and toasted pecan make this the perfect fall dish. It’s a hit with everyone who tastes it!”

— Event Assistant Debbi

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Cranberries from Whole Foods

"I've been using this recipe for several years now and my family absolutely loves it. There is something about the combination of roasted butternut squash and cranberries that is so perfect for Thanksgiving. I actually make a huge batch so I can eat it for several days after."

— Tour Guide Assistant Wendy

Simple Vegan Dinner Rolls from Minimalist Baker

“This is our favorite holiday recipe. While there are some 'accidentally vegan' yeast rolls widely available at the market, these ones have way less ingredients and taste even better! I think the fact that we start eating them once a week as soon as the first day of fall hits speaks to their deliciousness.”

— Marketing Advisor Laura

Vegan Cornbread from Isa Chandra

“I’ve been making this vegan cornbread for years and all my veg and non-veg family members love it! It’s my go-to recipe for Thanksgiving and other get-togethers because it is very quick and easy to make. It also calls for maple syrup instead of sugar, which makes it nice and moist.”

— Communications Director Jen

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket (carrot dogs) from 86 Eats

“One of our family’s favorite appetizers for the holidays is pigs in a blanket. To veganize them, I roast baby carrots in the oven with some garlic powder salt and pepper. Then wrap in vegan crescent dough and bake until golden brown. I serve them with dipping sauces like just ranch, barbecue, mustard, or whatever you like. We call them ‘bunnies in a blanket.’ This is a similar recipe, but uses a fancy marinade for the carrots. I don’t think it’s necessary, but probably would be delicious!”

—Tour Guide Assistant Nikki

Main Courses

1-Hour Vegan Pot Pies from Minimalist Baker

“I love this recipe. I also add canned diced potatoes and vegan chik'n. And I use Pillsbury crescent rolls for the top. It's super easy and delicious!”

— Barn Volunteer Chrissy

1-Hour Shephard’s Pie from Minimalist Baker

“This Vegan Shepherd’s Pie is the perfect comfort food dish for Thanksgiving. It's so simple to make (only 9 ingredients!) and you can make it your own by switching up the herbs or by adjusting the mashed potatoes to your liking with non-dairy milk and/or nutritional yeast.”

— Designer Laurie

Country “Meatloaf” with Golden Gravy from NYT Cooking

“I usually make this vegan meatloaf along with some stuffing and sweet potato casserole.”

— Barn Volunteer Everly

Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta Recipe from Sweet Love & Ginger

— Recommended in "A Tour Guide’s Guide to a Kinder Thanksgiving"

Jess’ Mexican Macaroni

“I was a vegetarian for 20 years before I went vegan and so this is totally a family favorite. It's very easily adapted for vegans!”

— Barn Volunteer and Tour Guide Jess

Stuffed Orange and Red Bell Peppers from Ageless Vegan

“This recipe comes from the new cookbook Ageless Vegan (page 186). It is absolutely phenomenal and I intend to make it part of my main dish. Happy Thanksgiving!”

— Barn Volunteer Amanda


Amazing Pumpkin Pie by Laura Barlow, Rhode Island Vegan Awareness

"Pumpkin pie is the best ending to a festive Thanksgiving dinner!"

— Barn Volunteer Megan

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream from May I Have that Recipe?

— Recommended in "A Tour Guide’s Guide to a Kinder Thanksgiving"


The Wonderful World of Turkeys

Thanksgiving is always a bittersweet holiday at MFS. While it gives us an opportunity to showcase our amazing turkey residents, we cannot help but grieve the loss of the estimated 46 million* turkeys slaughtered each year for this one day alone.

Our three rescued turkeys, Garner, General, and Gwendolyn, serve as wonderful ambassadors for turkeys who suffer terrible fates at factory farms every day of the year. They help visitors understand that every turkey is a unique and special being who is deserving of love and compassion.

Check out the stories and photos below to learn more about the turkeys at MFS and their turkey brethren. We’d also be grateful if you would help contribute to their care by making a gift to our 2018 Winter Hay Fundraiser. Thank you so much for your support!

Garner & General

A fellow farm animal advocate spotted Garner and General wandering down the street near a butcher shop and brought them to MFS in early October of this year. Had they not been rescued, Garner and General would almost certainly have ended up on someone’s table this Thanksgiving.

Garner is the larger and more confident of the pair. We have to keep an eye on him at mealtimes to make sure he doesn’t hog the food bowl. General loves people, and has been know to plant himself in front of the volunteers who clean the big barn hallway to get their attention!

Above: Both General and Garner (pictured) are males, or toms, and they can often be spotted strutting, puffing out their feathers, and making the distinctive turkey gobble sound.

Above: Toms look very different when they are not puffed up. Their feathers smooth over and their snoods (the fleshy areas hanging over their beaks) and wattles (the fleshy areas around their necks) become smaller and less bright.

Above: As General demonstrates, turkeys lack external ear structures but hear from holes in the sides of their heads. While their "ears" may look unimpressive, like other prey species, turkeys have exceptionally good hearing.

Above: With eyes on the sides of their heads, turkeys like Garner have a 360-field of vision...unless their snoods get in the way that is.


Gwendolyn (Gwen) came to MFS the day after Thanksgiving in 2016 after a miraculous change of heart. A hunter, who went into the woods to shoot a wild turkey for his Thanksgiving meal, found Gwen instead. She had likely escaped from a nearby farm and was injured. The hunter took pity on Gwen and decided to bring her to MFS, where we treated her injuries and gave her a loving home.

Above: All male turkeys have beards, but only a small percentage of females do, including Gwen! Turkey beards are actually fibrous feathers that resemble black bristles and hang down from their chests and away from their plumage.

Above: Gwen’s wild turkey relatives like to sleep in trees, but Gwen will sleep pretty much anywhere, including atop a fresh bale of hay or on a warm spot on the floor—she also falls asleep on the feet of volunteers when they pet her.

Above: Like most turkeys, Gwen is very social and forms bonds with other animals and people. She loves tagging along on MFS tours and will even take the lead if our tour guides let her!

*“Thanksgiving’s Toll on Turkeys,” from Farm Sanctuary.

MFS Welcomes Two New Turkeys

Just a month and a half before Thanksgiving, MFS welcomed two new feathered friends into our flock: two adorable turkeys!

A fellow farm animal advocate spotted the turkeys wandering down the street from a butcher shop and helped them complete their escape by taking them home. She tried to house them in a chicken coop but realized the large birds needed more space, so she reached out to MFS, and we were happy to give them a new and permanent home.

The two male turkeys Garbo and General, were dropped off in early October and are adjusting well to life at MSF. Both are a little bit skinny and malnourished but are happily chowing down on grain. When the turkeys arrived we introduced them to our resident turkey Gwen, who first puffed out her feathers—and then ran away, but the three have gradually been getting to know each other.

Volunteer Jess also serenaded the two turkeys (with the help of some roosters who provided background vocals) with her MFS-modified version of “A Place in the Choir,” as shown below:

Nov 2018 Update: A previous version of this story identified one of the turkeys as a female named Greta, but we later determined that both turkeys are in fact male, and the the turkey was given the more fitting name of Garbo!

MFS Takes in a Second Alpaca

MFS has rescued our second-ever alpaca! In late July, we welcomed Winslow into our herd after his five companions passed away from neglect.

More recently, we took in Merlin, a gentle elder alpaca who lived at a horse farm for many years. Merlin was in need of a new home because his long-term companion passed away from old age, and we were thrilled to be able to bring Winslow and Merlin today.

When Merlin first arrived, he and Winslow squabbled for just a few minutes before settling down, and now the two are inseparable—whether they are sleeping together in their cozy stall at night, munching on grass, or just taking it easy soaking up some sun:


MFS Welcomes Mario the Goat

Just a few days after welcoming a new alpaca, MFS has taken in another rescued animal: a goat named Mario.

Mario was living with two other goats in a run-down shelter in someone’s backyard when the shelter was broken into and knocked over by a bear. All three goats escaped into the woods, but sadly, Mario’s companions were never found. MFS was glad to welcome Mario into our herd and give him and safe and loving home.

Mario is already making quite the name for himself at MFS. He is Pygmy goat, which means he is on the smaller side, but he doesn’t hesitate to stand up to our larger goats. In fact, during his first night at MFS he head-butted Chivo, the bossiest goat at MFS! He is also extremely friendly and will march up to all barn visitors and wait to be petted.

Help Support Mario! While he is adjusting well to his new home, Mario will need some veterinary care and lots of nutritious food, as he is too thin for his size and was not properly vaccinated at his previous home. Please make a gift to help support Mario's care!

MFS Rescues Neglected Alpaca

Around 9:00pm on Tuesday, July 24, a van pulled up to MFS and dropped off a very special new resident: Winslow the alpaca!

Winslow, the first ever alpaca to call MFS home, is around thirteen years old and has a very sad backstory. He and five other llamas lived at a small farm in Martha’s Vineyard where they were badly neglected. They were fed improperly, often left without water, and not given appropriate veterinary care. Tragically, all five of Winslow’s companions passed away over the winter due to this neglect.

A veterinary student who lived in the area drove by and saw Winslow standing all by himself. The student found that Winslow had a high temperature of 104 degrees, and his fleece was so matted that she took pity on him and did the best she could to cut it with scissors. She was amazed by how calm Winslow was as she cut the fleece, and it seemed as if he knew that someone had finally come to help him. The student pleaded with the farm’s owner to give up Winslow, and after several months he finally agreed to release him to MFS.

Winslow did remarkably well on his journey to MFS, which entailed a long trip in a van and a ferry ride. On the night he arrived, he happily ate some nutritious hay and a treat of chopped carrots.

Winslow is very easygoing and gentle, especially for an alpaca! We are giving him time to adjust to MFS and letting him stay in a cozy stall in our pole barn where he can see llamas Milkweed and Pedro at night. During the day, MFS founder Cheri takes Winslow on walks around the sanctuary, and we plan to soon allow him to spend his days in our front pasture, where he can further bond with Milkweed and Pedro as well as Heritage the llama and Boo Boo the cow.

Help Care for Winslow! MFS must provide Winslow with veterinary care, vaccinations, and lots of nutritious food to ensure that he is healthy. If you are able to, please make a donation to help support Winslow's care.

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