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Peoria Field Feeding

Feeding Peoria Field





To arrange a tour, hopefully a Saturday, please email with your preferred date to visit, the number in your party and whether anyone will need the service of a golf cart. Unfortunately, we are not wheelchair accessible. We will respond with a confirmation on the date you have selected.

We love having visitors but due to limited staff time, we prefer that all tours be scheduled on Saturdays. Exceptions can be made for visitors from out of state. During the winter and spring months our tours are set up for Saturdays at 10:00am. During the warmer months tours are set up for Saturdays at 9:00am.

We are closed for tours from mid May to mid September due to the intense heat when temperatures can range from 100-115 degrees. Again, exceptions can be made for out of town visitors, but be aware that the heat makes it very uncomfortable plus the pigs are hiding in the shade and are seldom out during the hot times of the day.

Pig face

Please click on “Contact Us” or click here for Directions to Ironwood. Please do not depend on your GPS or mapping services as some of the roads are inaccessible or unsafe. This is a rural area with dirt roads, some of which are not county maintained. Our directions will put you on the safest routes.

A tour of the sanctuary is a 1 to 2 hour walking tour through the various fields. You will be out in the sun for the entirety of the tour. Please consider the following to make your visit pleasant:

*Wear comfortable walking shoes.

*Wear a hat.

*Wear sunscreen.

*Bring a water bottle. Refills are available.

Remember to plan ahead and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. We are happy to have the opportunity to share the sanctuary and our pigs with you!

Mission Statement

Pig face

The Ironwood Pig Sanctuary is dedicated to eliminating the suffering of pot bellied pigs in Arizona and surrounding states by promoting spaying and neutering, assisting owners and other sanctuaries, and providing a permanent home in a safe, nurturing environment for those that are abandoned, abused, neglected, or unwanted.

We are home to almost 600 pot bellied pigs.

Do You Want To Donate?

The Ironwood Pig Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and any donation is tax-deductable. It just takes a few minutes to make a secure donation by PayPal using your credit card. Click the donate button to make a donation. You do not need a PayPal account.

1) Select the amount of your donation and how you want to pay either by means of your PayPal account or your Credit Card then go to the next page.

2) If you want to make a donation in the name of another person, for a special reason like a birthday or anniversary or for a special purchase such as a 2017 calendar just describe what you want on the PayPal form by clicking on the "Add Special Instructions to the Seller" and describe what you want with names and addresses if needed.

3) If you want to sponsor a pig or make a monthly sustainer donation please go to the SUPPORT page for more ways to support your Sanctuary such as sponsoring a pig, being a sustainer or double or triple your donation by using your company's matching gift program.

Summer Is Here!!!

Summer is here across the country. The Midwest is still receiving serious storms so take special care with your outdoor animals. Make sure you have a dry, cozy, warm, shelter, some shade and plenty of water for all of your pets. Even in the summer it can be cold at night so make sure your critter has a good shelter.

Best Friends' Article on the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary

Best Friends, in their News and Features page have written an article about the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary. Click on the image to the left to read the article.

Introductory Video of the Sanctuary.

Click on the link below to view an introductory video of the Sanctuary. Click the lower right hand corner of the video for full screen. Depress the escape key to return from full screen.

From the President

May, 2017

Dear Supporter,

June 10 will mark the 16th year since we took Claire and Popeye in as our first pigs at Ironwood. By the end of the month fourteen more had joined our family. Two of those are still with us, Flapjack living in Hospice and Collie, featured on the back cover. Our Anniversary issue is usually one of celebration and a look back at our development and our dear friends we have grown old with.

But this year is different. Ironwood has experienced an illness among the pigs since the middle of January for which I do not have the words to describe the emotional pain and physical exhaustion we have lived with these past four months. To date over 300 pigs have been sick and 18 have died.

I want to share this with you because so many of you have known every detail of the lives of our pigs over so many years and what goes on here at Ironwood through the many stories you have read and pictures you have seen in our newsletters. Even though you may not have been aware of this illness, your support has made it possible for us to save many lives that otherwise would surely have been lost. Our veterinary bills, medicines, nationwide testing to identify the cause of the illness and staff time have all combined to consume a huge amount of our resources. You have been our lifeline to fight this illness and deserve to know the details.

The illness started on January 10th with diarrhea in one of the pigs in the holding pens and spread quickly to several of the other pigs in the pens. Culture results were negative for pathogens and parasites and the pigs usually recovered within a few days. Soon it spread to the west side of the sanctuary and began rapidly escalating through the herds. So many pigs were becoming sick each day that we were soon out of pens to put them in. We rapidly made a new field where many of our recent arrivals could be placed in order to make room in the holding pens for our sick pigs. Of course the new field required more staff time watching pigs and breaking up fights while they became accustomed to one another.

By Feburary 11th the illness was beginning to show up on the East side of the sanctuary and within two short days Thomas was the first of our pigs to succumb to the disease. We took him to the University of Arizona for a necropsy and extensive testing was done but no infectious agent could be found. Specimens were sent to Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory from both Thomas and Bonnie who had also succumbed to the disease. In both cases thorough testing including Virology Electron Microscopy did not produce a cause for this illness.

As the disease progressed Dr. Glock, a veterinarian at the University of Arizona Diagnostic Lab, came out of retirement to help. He sent four samples to Iowa State University for additional testing. Again extensive testing was done for viral, bacterial and parasitic organisms but all the tests came back negative. Our vets, Dr. Page, Dr. Staten and Dr. Grimbleby were of course doing all they could to save the ones we took to them. We were trying different treatment plans for the symptoms, not knowing what exactly we were treating them for. We prepared a spread sheet with the data of the pigs who became ill, their location in the sanctuary and information on their condition. Dr. Page and Dr. Glock visited the sanctuary and examined some of the ill pigs, the stools and the grain, but again no real conclusion could be made. A vitamin B3 deficiency was suspected since the symptoms of a deficiency are very much the same as what the pigs are experiencing. But that does not seem likely either since of the 73 pigs we have on Vitamin B pills for other reasons, 61% of them became ill. We also sent Dr. Carr, a swine expert, the results of our testing to see if there was any advice he could offer that would be helpful. Logic tells us it is caused by an infectious agent of some kind since it spread from one field to another and as one became sick in a field many others followed. For weeks two staff people picked up diarrhea and sprayed the areas with bleach.

Of the 18 that have died from this condition seven of them were very old and had other health issues that would have taken their lives soon, but eleven were young to middle aged pigs that were otherwise healthy and could have enjoyed several more years here at Ironwood. Of the over 300 that have been sick, some have gotten sick again and some have not completely recovered. Big holes have been left in their fields where those who passed away once roamed happily and each time I go to one of their fields to feed I am reminded of the loss of these dear lives. The diagnosis from the necropsies preformed was necrotizing enterocolitis and a definitive cause could not be determined. As of the time of this writing we are working hard to recover those who are still sick. Thankfully new cases have almost come to an end these past couple of weeks.

This quote from Evelyn of Mulberry Hills Farm Sanctuary expresses my feelings. “The sense of helplessness can easily become overwhelming because we care for them as our children and feel as responsible as parents. Our greatest strength and weakness is our empathy because it drives us to step up when others don’t care, but it also causes deep emotional pain and grief when it seems we have done everything humanly possible and it still isn’t enough.”

Last evening I drove home with the last two remaining pigs from Adobe Veterinary Center that were there for treatment. They are not yet well but now there is hope that they will recover. As I drove down our lane in the fading light of day and looked over at the fields I felt a sense of hope that peace may soon come once again to this beautiful place called Ironwood. I hope soon our doors may open again to welcome pigs in need of a safe place to call home.


Mary Schanz

President & Co-Founder

Ganesha Receiving Nutrition From Mary

Penny Getting Meds From Taryn

Dr. Page & Dr. Glock


Ironwood Pig Sanctuary, PO Box 35490, Tucson, AZ 85740-5490
Please e-mail when you want to visit for confirmation on the day and time and for directions to the sanctuary since we are in a remote location and GPS and mapping programs are not accurate. We generally do tours Saturday mornings at 10am in the winter and 9am in the summer. However, we generally do not do tours during our hottest months of June, July and August. We do not do tours every Saturday so you need to get a confirmation for your visit. Sometimes we can do tours on other days for out of town visitors and for other circumstances.


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