Got a question to ask? Here are the answers to some of our most popular questions we get asked.


Q: How can I donate?
A: The Donkey Sanctuary receives no government funding, so your donations are absolutely vital to our work. You can donate to The Donkey Sanctuary online or by cheque (made payable to “The Donkey Sanctuary”).

Q: If I donate, where does my money go?
A: When you donate, your money helps us to look after over 6,000 donkeys living in our ten sanctuaries across the UK and the rest of Europe, and provide those in need with all the help they need. Without you help, donkeys like Tommy and Timmy would be subjected to a lifetime of cruelty. Your money will also help to fund various projects that help to improve the lives of donkeys and people worldwide, as well as vitally important work like our Under the Skin campaign. If you would like more in-depth information about how our donations are spent, please take a look at our report and accounts.

Adopt a donkey

Q: How do I adopt a donkey?
A: Adopting a donkey is a fantastic way to help support our donkeys. It couldn’t be more simple - you can adopt a donkey online.

Q: What’s included in the adoption pack?
A: Your adoption pack will contain two beautiful portraits of your brand new friend, four postcards, a certificate and a membership card.

Q: Will my adoption pack differ if I buy it from one of your shops?
A: If you choose to take the adoption pack away with you on the day, it will be exactly the same as those ordered online, however we will be unable to personalise your certificate. If this is an issue, our shops can arrange for your personalised pack to be sent through the post.

Q: Can I adopt a specific donkey?
A: There are 22 wonderful donkeys across the UK available for you to adopt. We have the perfect match for you or a loved one – there are shy ones, fun-loving ones, brave ones and gentle donkeys, all waiting for you to adopt. Why not take a look at our adoption list?

Q: How much does it cost to adopt a donkey?
A: It costs just £3 a month or £36 for the year to adopt a donkey. The average cost of keeping a donkey is now a staggering £2,000 a year. Your money will be used to help with feed, bedding and medical bills among the many other costs of providing a safe home for our donkeys.

Q: Can I visit my donkey?
A: No. Due to Covid-19 all our sites are temporarily closed, meaning you are unable to visit your adoption donkey at this time. Please rest assured that our donkeys continue to receive the highest level of care.

Q: How long will my adoption pack take to arrive?
A: We know you’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of your adoption pack, but please allow up to 14 days for UK delivery. International deliveries may take longer. In the meantime, why not take a look at the Adopt a Donkey Facebook page?

Q: Has my payment gone through?
A: If you adopted online, you should have received an email confirming payment. Do get in touch if you have any issues – you can complete our online contact form or call our team on 01395 573133 between 8:30am and 4:30pm on weekdays.

Q: Can more than one person adopt each donkey?
A: Due to the nature of our adoption scheme, it’s important to allow multiple people to adopt each donkey. The scheme is a vital way of raising funds to support the donkeys in our care, as well as our work and projects worldwide. Restricting adoptions to one adopter per donkey would vastly affect the amount of money we could raise through the scheme, and would also weaken the experience of those who have chosen to adopt.

Q: How is my donkey?
A: You can find regular updates on all our adoption donkeys over on our Adopt a Donkey Facebook and Twitter pages. Make sure you also keep an eye out for the next issue of Stable News, our adoption newsletter.

Q: Can I adopt from abroad?
A: Yes. We welcome adopters from all over the world to our wonderful adoption family. If you adopt online, your adoption pack will be sent directly to your address.

Q: Can I adopt in a foreign currency?
A: Yes. If adopting from a foreign bank account, the equivalent adoption fee will be taken at current exchange rates. However, please note that you can only adopt by Direct Debit from a UK bank account.

Q: I’m adopting as a gift – can the initial adoption pack be sent to me?
A: Yes. You will have the option to buy as a gift when you adopt online. Just follow the instructions once you add your donkey to the basket, and we’ll make sure you receive the adoption pack ready to wrap. All future correspondence will then be sent to the adopter’s address.

Q: Can I adopt during my visit to The Donkey Sanctuary?
A: No. Due to Covid-19 all our sites are temporarily closed to the public, meaning you are unable to adopt a donkey in person at this time.

Q: Can I see my donkey on a webcam?
A: There are eight webcams available to watch across our main sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon. You might be able to spot Ruby and Bonnie in Main Barn, Timothy, Walter, Hannah and Cocoa in Shelter 1, Ashley and Zena in Shelter 4 and Millie in Shelter 6.

Visit us

Q: Where are you based?
A: Our headquarters are based in Sidmouth, Devon with other sanctuaries in Belfast, Birmingham, Ivybridge, Leeds and Manchester. For those further afield, we also have sanctuaries open to the public in Ireland, Italy and Spain.

Q: When will you be reopening?

A: The Donkey Sanctuary Sidmouth plans to reopen to the public on Monday 17 May 2021. Please note that this date is subject to change in line with any updated guidelines from the government.

Q: Do I need to pre-book my visit?

A: No, we are confident we can facilitate a safe and enjoyable experience based our capacity and the number of visitors we expect to have, but please check our website and social media pages for the latest information and updates.

Q: Are you restricting the numbers of visitors on site?

A: We will be monitoring and managing the number of visitors coming to the sanctuary on entry to the car parks, but with greater access to the wider sanctuary increasing our capacity, we are confident we can facilitate a safe and enjoyable experience based on the number of visitors we expect to have.

Procedures are in place to manage visitor flow and react if crowding becomes an issue. Rest assured your safety and the safety of our staff and donkeys is our priority.

Q: What are your new opening hours?

A: We plan to open the sanctuary every day from 9am – 5pm, but please check our website for the latest information and updates.

Q: Will I still be able to see the donkeys when I visit?

A: Yes, and we plan to reopen the wider walks around the sanctuary providing plenty of opportunities to interact with the resident donkeys. Please DO NOT feed the donkeys, their diets are carefully managed by our staff to ensure they receive the appropriate food.

Q: What are you doing to keep staff and visitors safe?

A: We have introduced a number of new hand hygiene stations / sanitiser points. Our staff will be wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment.

Tables in The Kitchen and picnic benches have been reconfigured to ensure distance between seated parties. Please do not move tables or share tables with anyone not in your group.

We have installed hygiene screens at the tills in The Kitchen and gift shop.

We have introduced enhanced cleaning procedures throughout the day, which seek to disinfect high frequency touch points.

We have marked out parking bays so you can park and disembark safely.

Q: Do I need to wear a face covering?

A: As per government regulations, you will be required to wear a face covering indoors, including the Gift Shop, The Kitchen (not when seated at your table) and toilets, unless you are exempt from doing so. There are some circumstances, for health, age or equality reasons, where people are not expected to wear face coverings. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others.

Q: Can people catch coronavirus from donkeys?

A: There is no evidence that people can catch coronavirus from donkeys.

Q: Can donkeys catch coronavirus from people?

A: There is no evidence that donkeys can catch coronavirus from people.

Q: Which indoor and outdoor areas will be open?

A: The Kitchen, Gift Shop and more of the indoor attractions will be open, as well as greater access to the wider walks around the Sanctuary providing plenty of opportunities to interact with the resident donkeys. The Play Area will also be open, but The Maze and Hermitage Woods will remain closed at this time.

Full details will be announced in due course, so please keep an eye on our website for the latest information and updates.

Q: Will you be running an activity trail for families?

A: Yes, we will be running an activity trail for families to enjoy while visiting and the full details will be announced on our website very soon.

Q: Can I bring my dog?

A: Yes, dogs are welcome at the sanctuary but they must be kept on a lead at all times. Please note, dogs are welcome in the restaurant but they must be kept under your table and out of the walkway at all times.

Q: Will you be accepting cash?

A: Yes, although cards are the safest payment method for you and our staff.

Q: Will you be resuming donkey experiences when you reopen?

A: Due to the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, we do not plan to resume donkey experiences for the foreseeable future. We understand this is disappointing, but the safety of our visitors, staff and donkeys is our top priority.

Q: Will your other centres reopen to the public on Monday 17 May?

A: No. We will be providing an update on opening our other public-facing centres across the UK, Ireland and Europe soon, so please keep an eye on our website for updates.

Donkey care

Q: How do I look after my donkey?
A: You can find plenty of important information you’ll need about looking after your donkey in our Donkey Care Handbook. Factsheets about various areas of donkey care are also available online. If you have a specific enquiry, please complete our online contact form . If your enquiry is urgent, please contact your vet.

Q: What should I feed my donkey?
A: Advice on donkey nutrition is available in our Donkey Care Handbook. Nutrition and feeding information is also available online.

Q: Can you advise me on my donkey’s health?
A: If you have concerns over your donkey’s health, always consult your vet. If you would like some advice over a non-urgent matter, please complete our online contact form.

Q: How much land do I need to keep a pair of donkeys?
A: We would recommend that you need a minimum of one acre of land to keep a pair of donkeys.

Q: How much does it cost to keep a pair of donkeys?
A: The average cost of keeping a pair of donkeys could be in the region of £2,000 per year. Elderly donkeys or those with health problems could cost considerably more. We recommend that new donkey owners attend our Introduction to Donkey Care training course to learn more about the responsibilities that come with owning a donkey. For more information, please take a look at our cost of owning a donkey guide.

Q: How can I prepare for the winter?
A: It’s important to prepare and plan ahead for the winter. As a donkey’s coat is not waterproof, proper shelter must be provided. It’s best to remember that winter care is about helping your donkey withstand the lower temperature and stay healthy, rather than shutting them away completely. Advice on how to properly care for your donkey through the colder months of the year is available on our winter care factsheet.

Q: Should my donkey wear a rug?
A: Young and healthy donkeys are unlikely to need a rug in the winter as their coat will naturally thicken as daylight hours shorten. Old or sick donkeys, however, may struggle to maintain body heat during the colder months, and a rug as well as other measures should be considered. You can find more information on our winter care factsheet.

Q: Can you recommend a rug supplier?
A: For advice on where to buy any of your donkey supplies or equipment, it’s best to contact us.


Q: Can I relinquish my donkey?
A: If you currently own or care for donkeys or mules and are having problems, please contact our welfare team who will be happy to discuss your circumstances and how we might be able to help. In an emergency, our duty donkey welfare adviser can be contacted out of office hours on 01395 573043.

Q: Can I have an update on my relinquished donkey?
A: If you would like an update on your relinquished donkey during the new arrivals period, please call our admissions team on 01395 578222, or email

Once this period is complete and you have been notified that your donkey has moved to one of our farms, please contact our farms admin team on 01395 578222 for any updates.

Q: Can I visit my relinquished donkey?
A: You are more than welcome to visit donkeys by appointment once they have completed their settling in period and moved away from the new arrivals unit. You can arrange your visit by calling our farms admin team on 01395 578222.

Q: Can I report a donkey in distress?
A: If you are concerned about the welfare of a donkey in the UK, please contact our welfare team or call 01395 578222.


Q: Can I rehome a pair of donkeys?
A: If you feel that you could provide a loving home for a pair of rescue donkeys and have at least an acre of land to spare, take a look at our Rehoming Scheme for more information.

Q: Do you have any vacancies?
A: If you are interested in joining us, check our current vacancies online.

Q: Do you offer work experience?
A: Yes. Take a look at our work experience page for more information.

Q: Can I volunteer?
A: We’re always looking for enthusiastic people to contribute to our work. As long as you’re over 16, passionate about donkeys and have regular free time you can offer us, we’d love to hear from you. Take a look at our volunteer opportunities.

Q: Can I organise a fundraiser?
A: Yes. To get started with your fundraiser, please register your details with our team. Once completed, you’ll be able to download our fundraising pack, full of useful ideas and information to make your fundraiser one to remember.

Q: Do you accept food donations?
A: No. Due to Covid-19 all our sites are temporarily closed to the public, meaning any apples, carrots or ginger biscuits for our donkeys cannot be dropped off at any of our locations.

Q: Do you accept used postage stamps?
A: Yes. If you would like to send us your used postage stamps, pop them in an envelope addressed to: The Donkey Sanctuary (Used Stamps), Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 0NU.

Q: Do you have an online gift shop?
A: Yes. Take a look at our fabulous range of donkey gifts for all the family in our online gift shop.

Q: Do you ship abroad?
A: Yes, although a postage charge of £10 will be added for gift shop orders shipped to Europe, and a £20 charge for orders shipped to the rest of the world.

Q: What do the donkeys’ collars indicate?
A: Our different coloured donkey collars indicate the gender of our donkeys and whether they require any additional care. For more information, take a look at our handy collar guide.

Q: What is The Donkey Sanctuary’s policy on breeding?
A: We have a strict no breeding policy at The Donkey Sanctuary. If it is safe to do so, all stallions that come into our care are castrated before being allowed to live alongside mares. However, as we will never turn away a donkey in need of a home, we do take pregnant mares and foals into our care.

Q: Why can’t I see any donkeys on the webcam?
A: Most of our webcams only overlook part of our donkeys’ paddocks, so the donkeys won’t always be in frame. Keep a look out though – they’re not always so camera shy!

Q: Why isn’t the webcam working?
A: Until recently, Flash was the main means of delivering live video over the web into your browser. As is always the case with technology, eventually things move on and Flash is no longer the go-to multimedia app for the web – the world has already begun moving to HTML5, a new standard for web pages, interactivity and video playback.

We have put together a webcam troubleshooting page which hopefully will help our webcam visitors in resolving the issue they are having where their PCs, tablets and mobile devices are not seeing any of the webcams.

(Updated: 07/04/21 08:46 GMT)