Rhubarb came into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary in May last year with her friends Custard, Apple and Pie, after they were found living in an unsuitable environment and suffering from overgrown hooves.
Rhubarb required remedial farriery to address her long and misshapen hooves but she soon felt more comfortable and settled in her new home at our temporary holding base.
Following a series of veterinary checks and tests, Rhubarb was declared healthy - but she was also found to be carrying a foal! The gestation period of a donkey can vary from 11-14.5 months and Rhubarb certainly kept us waiting to meet the new arrival.
"Rhubarb seemed to get bigger every day but somehow she still managed to get down for a roll in the mud - usually just after we had given her a good groom!" Kayleigh Dixon, Groom
Finally in November surrounded by storm Barney - Rhubarb gave birth to a beautiful foal who was called Beattie, meaning "Bringer of Joy."
"Beattie was a brave and curious foal, she was keen to see what life had to offer. She made many friends both here at the holding base, including my granddaughter and online with Sanctuary supporters. The grooms were over the moon when a video they had taken of Beattie playing in the puddles reached 75,000 views on Facebook. Beattie was the first donkey foal we have had born on the farm, so she will always be very special to us and a part of our history. We all feel very attached to her and although she has moved onto Sanctuary life in Devon we still keep up to date on how she is doing and hope to get to Devon to visit her soon." Chris Gray, Holding Base Manager.
Sadly when Beattie was just 6 weeks old, her grooms noticed that she was quiet and not her usual self. Beattie and Rhubarb were referred to Rainbow Veterinary Hospital where she received around the clock care. Thankfully after a tense week of waiting, Beattie was well enough to come home and the pair were reunited with their friends. Thanks to some creative carpentry, Beattie had her own bespoke feeding station built into her stable, allowing her access to specialist foal feed without Rhubarb being able to reach it.
To our delight Beattie recovered well and the pair were declared fit enough to make the journey down to Sidmouth with the rest of their friends, arriving at The Donkey Sanctuary in February 2016.
"Rhubarb and Beattie have settled in really well, they are both really lovely donkeys. They have finished their short time in our new arrivals unit and have now joined another six donkeys (three mums, three foals). They all get on well and Beattie enjoys playing with Lucky and Oreo both of which are similar ages." Donkey Sanctuary Farm Supervisor, Alison Cook.
It will soon be time for Beattie to be weaned from Rhubarb and I for one am keen to see what the next year brings for them both. In the meantime I have put together a short video celebrating their life in the Sanctuary so far - happy viewing.