Brookfield farm is a very happy place at the moment because we have three new foals with two more on the way.
First to arrive was Honey's foal on Easter Sunday who has been named Christian. He is a beautiful white and brown coloured little boy. Honey was a very protective mum, so the first few days we couldn't make much fuss of them both. Honey was best kept nice and quiet to get used to her new arrival, we just popped our heads over the door to give her a ginger biscuit or just to talk to her telling her how clever she is. After a while she would come over to have her back scratched.
It's been a couple of weeks now and Honey is a lot more relaxed, letting us have a little cuddle and also put a head collar on her foal to lead them up to the paddock.
Rosie's foal was born the day after Christian, and yes, it was another boy who has been named Audie. Rosie and her friend Melissa, who is also expecting came to the sanctuary almost a year ago. Not knowing they were in foal because it was so early in their pregnancies it never was picked up on any test they had when they first arrived. Rosie and Melissa were sent to another farm and settled in to Sanctuary life. Being a bit over weight they both were put on a diet which they were doing very well with until Rosie's tummy started growing. The staff on the farm had their suspicions and got their vet to do some tests on both of the girls. With the results back it was confirmed that they were both in foal. This is when they were bought up to our maternity unit. Melissa has a bit longer to go, maybe around May time.
It's very difficult to say when they're ready to foal as a donkey's pregnancy can be between ten and fourteen months. Our poor boss Andy has had many many sleepless nights as they need lots of checks and the foals can come at any time.
Audie and his mum Rosie are very different to Honey and Christian as they are so much more relaxed with us. Poor Rosie has got Trouble with a capital T. Audie is a very cheeky little foal. For one thing he was born almost twice the size as little Christian. Right from day one Rosie let us in to make a fuss of Audie. When we first took them up to the paddock little Audie would follow us and try to take hold of anything his little mouth could get in it. Luckily for us it was either a coat or jumper and with no teeth he couldn't do any damage. The boys are now taken to the paddocks being lead, as they are both a bit more boisterous they need to be kept under control.
Foal number three was born in the early hours of the 21st April, another long sleepless night for Andy. Lilly gave birth to a beautiful petite little girl (which we were pleased about as we haven't had many girls). She has a lovely soft and fluffy coat. She is very much like her mum in looks and is a very gentle little girl. She has not been named yet but we hope she has a pretty name as she is such a lovely little thing.
Poor Lilly looked like she was going to pop before giving birth. She had a lovely big bag of milk ready for her new born, although she made us wait as she wasn't going to give birth until she was well and truly ready. Their first day was a very wet and windy day, so they had to spend the whole day in their stable, all warm and cosy. Since then they haven't been able to get out in the paddock like the boys did as the weather has been so bad.
Lilly's little girl is a bit of a speed demon and being a delicate little girl we're worried she will slip when she's letting off a bit of steam.
We hope you have enjoyed reading about our foals and were delighted that Christian and Audie were named by two of our loyal supporters.
We will keep you up to date with their progress and also on Melissa and Sweety's pregnancies.
No breeding policy
The Donkey Sanctuary does have a no breeding policy but if a donkey comes into our care that is already pregnant, then the foal is also given sanctuary for life.
4 May 2012 - Sadly since this blog was written, we are sorry to say that Sweety lost her foal. Sweety herself is well and our veterinary team will be checking over the next few days while the Brookfield grooms will be giving Sweety plenty of TLC.