Boomer has been a resident at our Ivybridge sanctuary since it opened in 2007 and has been winning hearts ever since. Read on to learn about his birthday celebrations!

Boomer's story

A familiar face to the many people who have visited the Ivybridge sanctuary over the years, Boomer is an important part of the team. He participates in the donkey-assisted activity programme in more normal times, helping vulnerable children and adults across the community.

Known for his love of a cup of tea, Boomer is a firm favourite with staff, volunteers and visitors alike. Naomi Kinsman, Ivybridge’s Centre Coordinator, says: “He is such a character and keeps us all on our toes. He loves being around people and will give us a friendly nudge when he feels he doesn’t have our full attention.

“He also enjoys herbal tea, which is one form of enrichment we offer our donkeys here at Ivybridge. We offer them buckets of water with flavoured teas, this allows the donkeys a variety of smells and flavours, providing them with mental stimulation.”

Boomer was relinquished into our care from his home in Yorkshire after his owner could no longer care for him. He was brought to The Donkey Sanctuary’s international headquarters in Sidmouth, before joining the herd at Ivybridge.

Boomer was a regular visitor to the area before the centre opened. He was part of a team that would visit local schools promoting the work of The Donkey Sanctuary. As our work has progressed over the years, so has Boomer’s role, leading to his present participation in the donkey-assisted activity programme.

30 is a grand age for any donkey, many living into their late twenties, although it is by no means unusual. One of our oldest donkeys lived into their mid-50s, meaning Boomer may have many more years ahead of him!

Boomer enjoying his birthday cake!

Why does Boomer drink herbal tea?

Adding herbal teas to flavour drinking water is one method we use to engage our donkeys' senses and excitement. In their natural environment, donkeys will spend up to 16 hours a day searching for food and water.

This search helps to keep them mentally stimulated and fit and is something we need to be mindful of when considering what's best for our donkeys. Adding herbal tea to their drinking water is just one way to change how their food is delivered, enriching their environment and stimulating their senses.

The goal is to increase behavioural diversity and provide donkeys with daily challenges, improving their ability to make their own choices.

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