Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare is a 42-acre Rescue Centre and Animal Sanctuary in the heart of the Sussex countryside. We rescue, rehabilitate, rehome and provide a life time of sanctuary to over 2,000 animals per year. The centre is open to visitors year-round from 10 am till 4 pm apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.
At Raystede we care for a hugely diverse range of species including dogs, cats, small animals, horses, ponies, donkeys, exotic birds, goats, alpacas, sheep and tortoises. Most of our animals are available for rehoming but there are a select few that remain at the centre for life due to the complexity and cost of meeting their needs.
We have an extensive education program with free onsite activities for children during school holidays and outreach with members of the team visiting schools to discuss all aspects of animal welfare. We also host school groups on site, welcoming children with behavioural challenges and special needs groups. We believe that the education of tomorrow’s pet owners is absolutely essential to improve the standards of care nationwide and to help people to enjoy the best possible relationship with their animals.
The rescuing and rehoming of ex commercial hens is a massive part of our work. Over the Spring and Summer months we work with charities including British Hen Welfare Trust and Fresh Start for Hens to save on average 100 hens per month from slaughter. These hens have come to the end of their laying career at the age of 18 months in commercial farms which would normally be a death sentence. We are able to offer them a place of safety in our large sanctuary and rehome them in pairs and groups to members of the public. In addition, we take on turkeys, ducks and other domestic birds that individuals are struggling to cope with.
One of the biggest growth areas we have seen is requests to take on cockerels, often the result of school hatching projects that find themselves homeless and unwanted when they have outgrown their purpose. We are currently building a new enclosure devoted solely for keeping cockerels due to the demand.
The centre costs over £8,000 per day to run. We are constantly striving to improve our facilities in line with current research and provide the highest welfare standards for the animals in our care. We are currently looking at refurbishing our goat enclosure, redesign our Rodent Room and replace the entirety of our equine fencing. We are always delighted to welcome corporates and businesses for a behind the scenes tour to learn more about our work and meet some of our four legged and feathered residents.