A lonely donkey has found a new loving home with one of our Senior Donkey Welfare Advisers and her two donkeys in Leicestershire.
Bubbles was part of a group of 14 donkeys rescued from a site near Carlisle. While he was being cared for at a holding base, our teams identified him as not having a bonded companion.
Although he spent his days grazing alongside various group members, Bubbles did not have that one special friend he spent time with.
We strive to preserve and promote friendship groups and pairs of donkeys, and Bubbles’ case was no different.
After learning about Bubbles’ situation, our Senior Donkey Welfare Adviser Georgia McCormick stepped forward to suggest he might be a good fit to join her pair of geldings, Big Ben and Billy.
The pair live with Georgia and have been with her for more than two years. They were rescued from a farm in Blackpool, where they lived and worked as Blackpool beach donkeys.
Big Ben and Billy had lived in a big herd and were used to sharing their space and food with quite a few donkeys, so Bubbles was seen as a good match for the duo as he had also lived in a similar environment.
In August 2021, Bubbles made his way to Leicestershire to meet Big Ben, Billy, Georgia and her family.
Georgia says: “I was really excited about Bubbles arriving and had set up the environment so Bubbles could meet Big Ben and Billy over a fence line initially.
“Bubbles was keen to come out of the transporter and immediately went over to say hello to the other donkeys after having a good roll. Big Ben and Billy were clearly very interested in the new addition and were displaying lots of excitement by walking up and down and taking in his new scent.”
In the month following Bubbles’ arrival at Georgia’s home, he settled down very well with his new family.
He is comfortable sharing space, food and attention with his new companions and accompanies Big Ben and Billy on country walks.
Georgia adds: “I have been so impressed with how well Bubbles has settled in and have seen them all mutually groom one another, which is so nice to see.
“The dynamic is different as a three, but I feel it gives them more opportunity to do the things they want to do. Sometimes, Big Ben will choose to graze, but Billy and Bubbles stay in the yard to play. Other times all three will spend time in their shelter eating straw. Now they all have not one special friend, but two.
“They appear to be settled as a trio, and I’m pleased I was able to allow him to settle slowly and offer him options to feel comfortable.
“We have plenty of different places to forage on offer, including a choice of logs to chew on and different water buckets placed around the yard, some flavoured with mint and fruit.
“On the track grazing system, I have created larger passing places, so the donkeys have the space they sometimes need. There is reduced competition for food, water, and enrichment by giving them these options, thus making them feel more comfortable when eating and resting.
“I have enjoyed every minute of settling Bubbles in and can’t wait to see the trio bond even further over the next few months and years.”