On Monday of this week we wrote about a donkey called Con who celebrated her 30th anniversary of Sanctuary life. Curiosity got the better of me so I delved into our records to find out who else has been at the Sanctuary that length of time and found Tufty, a 38 year old donkey who has been with us for 29 years, living at Town Barton Farm lying on the edge of Dartmoor National Park.
Tufty came into our care exactly 29 years to this day (25th May) and is well into her retirement years. A question many people ask is how long does a donkey live for. It was commonly believed that the natural life span of a donkey in the UK was over 40 years of age. Some donkeys do live to 40 and beyond, but many show signs of old age in their early twenties. Looking back over our records, we would now estimate that the average life expectancy is just over 30 years of age.
As you can see from the picture, Tufty is quite an inquisitive donkey and is happily living out her retirement years!
If you own an elderly donkey, here are some tips to help you and your older donkey enjoy many happy years together!
- Vigilance - be on the look out for small changes in normal behaviour patterns, which can be the first sign of problems.
- Environment - it's important to anticipate the needs of the ageing donkey before they arise.
- Water - ensuring good water intake is one of the most important elements of keeping your older donkey healthy.
- Care - extra grooming and keeping feet low to the ground when being picked out will help keep your donkey comfortable.
- Rugs - be prepared, ensure your rug is clean and well maintained before the cold weather sets in.
- Companionship - meeting the needs of all your donkeys.
- Feet and teeth - older donkeys may need more regular professional care to maintain a good quality of life.
- Mental simulation - use it or lose it, even older donkeys like to think, so provide for their mental wellbeing.