Visitors to the Sanctuary might see sheep in some of our fields. These belong to local farmers and spend time on our land by reciprocal arrangment. The farmers' sheep eat our nice grass and the sheep keep the grass eaten down on land that is either unsuitable for the donkeys or too steep for the tractors to be able to swipe off the bracken and rough grass.
We also rotate the sheep into the donkey paddocks as part of our grassland management programme as the sheep break the life cycle of the parasitic worms whose eggs and larvae lay on the grass. If ingested by a donkey, the worm eggs hatch and reproduce inside the donkey causing damage to their internal organs and eventually are passed out in the faeces ending up on the grass to be eaten by another unsuspecting donkey. The sheep eat the worm eggs but their stomachs are not a suitable habitat for the worms to develop and breed so their life cycle is broken.
In addition to using sheep we break the worm's life cycle by picking up the droppings containing any worm eggs or lavae from the pasture. We also pick up a sample of dung from each donkey on a monthly basis which is analysed by our laboratory where they count the number of eggs per gram and, if necessary, we give the donkey worming paste to kill the worms.