Heartland Farm Sanctuary

People helping animals. Animals helping people.

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Farm Sanctuary in Wisconsin

Farm Animals Need Love, Too!

Imagine for a moment you are in your car driving in the country, when you notice a dog wandering across the road. He’s not wearing any ID tags, and there aren’t any houses nearby that may know the pooch. What would you do? At this point, many folks would load the dog into their car, and bring him or her to the local animal shelter. You know that the kind folks at the shelter will take good care of him until he is adopted by a loving family. Now, what if that dog was instead a 300 pound sheep (with horns, mind you), or a 1,200 pound dairy cow? Homeless farm animals aren’t usually something people think much about. May be an image of 2 people, food and outdoors

However, each year many Wisconsin farm animals do find themselves in need of shelter due to a variety of reasons. A farmer, facing financial hardship, may move from their farm and leave behind an animal or two to fend for itself. A city person may decide that hobby farm (and rooster crowing every morning) wasn’t such a great idea. Still other farm animals become victims of abuse or neglect.

Unfortunately, most “cat and dog” animal shelters are not equipped to handle farm animals. And there just aren’t many folks eager to adopt a full-grown cow or pig. Sadly, most homeless farm animals face a very grim future. We are working to change that.

A Safe Haven for Farm Animals

Rescued pig Maxwell smiles into the camera dreamily, partly submerged in a big mud pit.

Heartland Farm Sanctuary is located in a historic 18,000 square foot barn, located on 14 acres of scenic rolling hills, forests, and prairies. There’s plenty of room to roam on this homestead! Our farm animal shelter offers rescue, care, rehabilitation services, and lifetime sanctuary to farm animals in need. When possible, we place animals in loving, permanent homes. And we serve as a resource for shelters and county agencies around the state who request our assistance with farm animal abandonment and cruelty cases.

And did you know that Heartland is one of Wisconsin’s ONLY shelters devoted exclusively to farm animals? Heartland is currently home to over 80 rescued farm animals. From pigs to chickens, we provide lifelong loving care – mucking out stalls, chopping up fresh veggies, stuffing hay racks, cleaning waters – is all part of the daily routine. And because many of our animals suffered from neglect and abuse, there are often special health care needs for many of our residents, along with regular hoof trimmings and grooming, among other care needs. We have a big chore list each day, but thanks to our dedicated shelter staff and volunteers, our animal friends are enjoying life to its fullest –and isn’t that something to cluck about?!

Volunteer Opportunities

Heartland Farm Sanctuary is currently recruiting volunteers 16 and older who support our mission, to provide care for farm animals in need, nurture people through the human-animal bond, and foster respect and kindness toward animals and each other, to participate in our volunteer program. See below for our current opportunities.

Collage of five images; first is staff member Michelle giving the lady turkeys a foot soak outside of the barn; second image is volunteer Julie pouring a fresh bowl of water next to rescued pig Cupcake; third is volunteer David taking a break from bucket duty to cuddle rescued goose Gracie; fourth is volunteer Gary holding an armful of fresh straw, and last image is volunteer Kavita mucking a barn stall.


  • Barn Chores & Animal CareBarn chores are done twice a day, 365 days a year. Tasks include feeding and watering animals, cleaning pens, sweeping floors, doing dishes, preparing produce for 90+ animals, helping move the animals outside (for AM) and inside (for PM), and socializing/grooming/interacting with the animals. Morning shifts are from 9 AM – 12 PM and weekday evening shifts are from 4:30 – 7:30 PM. Weekend evening shifts are from 4 – 7 PM. Animal care volunteers must be able to lift at least 50 lbs! Questions? Email Tracy at HeartlandFarmTracy@gmail.com  You can find more about the volunteer application process here.
  • Assistant Camp CounselorWe are looking for assistant counselors to help at our awesome weekly day camp. If you are 16 or older, able to commit to one or more weeks of 7-8 hour days, and love hanging out with friendly farm animals and kids, please contact our Camp Director, Sunshine Stokes, for more information at Sunshine.Stokes@HeartlandFarmSanctuary.org. Assistant counselors spend time helping kids with animal care chores, art/craft projects, games of all sorts, gardening and animal time just to name a few of the responsibilities.
  • GroundskeepingIf you love working outside and have experience with outdoor work, we need YOU! With direction, you will help with mowing, weed-whacking, removal of invasive species, tree trimming, raking and animal pasture maintenance. Winter grounds work includes shoveling, salting and snow-blowing. While working on our unique Driftless Area property, you will meet many of our rescued animals and help keep their home beautiful!
  • GardeningIf you enjoy spending time in vegetable gardens, Heartland has five brand new, empty raised beds and six galvanized steel water troughs (already filled with a soil mix) that could use your help! We need hands every step of the way, from amending the soil to planting and mulching to watering, weeding, maintaining and harvesting! Your volunteer time could be one time or weekly or anything in between! For more information, please contact Stephanie at Stephanie.Weis@HeartlandFarmSanctuary.org.
  • Construction/Repair WorkJoin our biweekly Sunday maintenance crew to help with small repairs, barn cleaning, and fence repair. You will see many of Heartland’s animals during your shift, and know that you are helping make their home safe and happy! Some experience with tools is helpful. If you have strong construction skills, inquire about working directly with our project coordinator on large projects such as building animal structures, putting up fencing, maintaining equipment and restoring our historic barn.
  • AdministrativeWe always need help with office tasks (filing, data entry, research, etc.) and grant writing! You can also fundraise for Heartland: Grab a bunch of friends and plan your own fundraising event (birthday donations, walk for the animals, bake sale, party, you get the idea).

May be an image of animal and grass

To learn more about volunteering, please email Tracy at HeartlandFarmTracy@gmail.com

Did you know?

The Dane County TimeBank is a community of people who help each other by sharing their abilities, talents and experiences.  When you provide a service for another TimeBankmember you earn one TimeBank Hour for each hour of help given. You can then exchange each TimeBank Hour you earn for an hour of service from anyone else in the network. The possibilities are endless, but exchanges include such things as pet care, gardening, transportation, computer help, tutoring, music and art lessons, and so much more! 

We each have talents and skills that someone else values. By sharing them, we can create community one hour at a time. Since Heartland Farm Sanctuary is a member of the Dane County TimeBank, any of our volunteers who join the TimeBank can now earn hours for helping us out! Learn more about the Dane County TimeBank by visiting www.danecountytimebank.org.  If you are interested in signing up to receive the benefits of Timebank, please contact TimeBank at join@danecountytimebank.org