I must admit when I arrived at Oinking Acres Farm Rescue & Sanctuary, I didn't know what to expect.
It didn't take long for me to figure out that this amazing little farm on the outskirts of Brownsburg at 8420 E. County Road 650 East exists as a true labor of love for a young woman who quite literally just graduated from high school, but has a level of maturity and work ethic beyond her years.
Olivia Head with the help of her mother, sister and a few volunteers has turned Oinking Acres into a regional rescue center for farm animals. While her purpose and passion focuses on rescuing, rehabilitating and finding a new home for each and every animal that joins her Oinking Acres family, the business itself also has become a bit of a destination for animal lovers and city slickers who want an authentic farm experience.
Oinking Acres History
Olivia grew up with two pigs of her own and by her teen-age years she served as a volunteer for another non-profit rescue. She didn't realize how much a pig rescue was needed until she began fostering animals when she was just 14.
By 2017, she had become so passionate about it, she felt it was time someone stepped up and did something, so she opened Oinking Acres.
Her business now has anywhere from 40-80 pigs at a time, but that isn't all. She will accept just about any type of farm animal that needs rescued.
Space & Funding Issues
While she wishes she could take in every animal offered to her, Olivia has come to the realization that she simply can't rescue them all.
She possesses limited space, resources and volunteers at the farm with a barn on a couple of acres of land. She has big plans to do more if she can raise the necessary funds.
Her dream addition would be another building for the animals with running water, heat, air, electric and other amenities to make it easier to care for the animals and provide a more comfortable environment for them, especially during the winter months.
She has begun to create an event space in the upstairs portion of the barn that she hopes she can rent out to raise money. She also has begun to offer pig yoga or poga, and she sells cute wooden pigs to raise additional funds.
More Help Needed
About 99 percent of the pigs she takes in come from humane societies and animal shelters, but despite her best efforts she can't keep up with the demand. She receives hundreds of requests annually to take in pigs and other farm animals that she just doesn't have the room or manpower to fulfill.
In 2020 alone, the farm accepted about 85 pigs but turned down many more. Olivia said about 75 percent of the pigs in need have either been neglected, abused or the owners didn't know how to properly care for them.
When I was there, in addition to all the pigs, which were mostly the potbellied variety, the farm also housed goats, chickens, ducks, cats and even a donkey, horse and peacock. About 20 of the farm's residents are unadoptable for various reasons.
But don't be mistaken, despite her love for each and every animal that comes through her barn doors, Olivia's No. 1 goal is to find a new forever home for them.
Misconceptions About Pigs
She also has attempted through this mission to dispel the label that pigs are dirty, dumb animals. Olivia will be the first to tell you that pigs, particularly potbellied pigs, are smarter than dogs, better pets than dogs and should be considered a domesticated animal alongside dogs and cats.
If they are taken care of properly, they don't smell; they aren't dirty and in many ways they are similar to dogs in personality and in the way they crave affection from their owners.
About 75 percent of the pigs get adopted from Oinking Acres to a typical farm situation. The rest go to families to be raised indoors as pets.
Oinking Acres maintains a thorough application process for adoptions, especially when it comes to their pigs. They do a home inspection and get all the approvals necessary from the potential adopter before even letting them look at potential adoptable pigs.
She said the biggest hurdle when it comes to adoption is people's skepticism that pigs can be pets. She is attempting to change that perception because she has no real agenda other than saving the animals and providing them with a good home.
Tours, Open Houses & Other Events
The farm doesn't have traditional public hours. Any families or groups who wish to tour the farm must make an appointment. They ask for a $10 donation per tour, but of course will happily accept more. To schedule a visit, click here.
The farm does have select open houses and events throughout the year to raise money and awareness for the cause. To keep up with their events and other activities, you can follow their Facebook page by clicking here.