Zena was born at The Donkey Sanctuary in 2009 after her mother, Flora, gave birth prematurely. It wasn't long before our staff realised something was wrong for this little foal was very quiet and and she wasn't able to stand up or walk.
During the first week of her life, our vets worked around the clock to help Zena stand up and reach her mother's udder for milk. Even other members of staff volunteered their help to cover late night shifts and very early mornings as we all pulled together to feed this adorable little foal every two hours.
It's very important that a foal receives its vital colostrum from its mother. Sometiems Zena wouldn't suckle so we had to combine bottle feeding with trying to encourage her to feed from her mother. Helping Zena to stand was a very good form of physiotherapy and eventually with the daily physio and feeding, little Zena became strong enough to suckle from her mother and start taking small steps on her own.
Hand rearing a foal requires a great deal of commitment in both time and resources, but our veterinary hospital specialise in donkey care and welfare and we consider ourselves a centre of excellence.
Six years on, Zena is a picture of health and beauty.
If it hadn't been for the intervention of our staff, Zena would probably not be with us today.