Our group of 11 Mediterranean miniature donkeys now have an area of sand to enjoy alongside their paddock.

Following trials at one of our farms, the sand has proven to be a success as it offers a year-round exercise area, providing enhanced enrichment and the perfect environment for keeping the donkeys’ hooves in good clean condition.

Donkeys trace their origins back to the Asian and African continents, where sand forms part of the natural terrain. It has good abrasive properties, supporting horn growth in the foot and providing natural abrasion to the sole and hoof wall. Its drying properties can also help prevent hoof lesions.

Providing varied terrain is also important from a grazing management perspective. Donkeys will gain weight on grass, so providing them with a sand school enables them to have fun and exercise while helping them keep a healthy weight.

Not only does the sand help with our donkeys’ health, it is much more sustainable and cost effective in the long term. Bark needs to be maintained and periodically replaced as when it becomes wet it can over time; turn to mulch, resulting in foot issues if donkeys are stood on it for long periods

The group of miniature donkeys, who live in the aptly named ‘Beach Boxes’, are enjoying their new area. It gives them a place to roll and play as we head into the winter months, and the weather starts to restrict access to their grazing.

More of our donkeys will soon be able to enjoy the benefits of the sand, as staff are beginning to replace the bark with the new material on many areas at the Sidmouth sanctuary.

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