Mabel, 41, and Neddy, 31, both live in Cuckoo Barn at Woods Farm. Today we catch up with Nicki Hart, one of our wonderful farm grooms, who has been looking after our Cuckoo Barn herd for the last 10 years.
How did Mabel and Neddy become friends?
The pair have been at Woods Farm for over a decade now. About four years ago, Mabel lost her son Sam, and we were all very worried about how she would cope. Neddy noticed that Mabel was grieving and stood by her side. They have been inseparable ever since and are enjoying a new lease of life. Mabel has become a real inquisitive character and loves a cuddle.
Since becoming friends, how have they developed?
They are a pair of characters together. They were both very quiet donkeys before they became a pair. They bring out each other's playful side and can be very funny to watch sometimes. They sometimes have disagreements but are still very much in love.
As two of our older donkeys, Mabel and Neddy live with some of our other elderly residents. What care considerations do we make for them?
All the donkeys that live in Cuckoo Barn have bedded rubber mats with a thick layer of shavings on top. This helps with mobility issues such as arthritis, as it is easier to walk on. They also have heat lamps in the winter and are given warm water to drink, which they love and will form an orderly queue for.
As most elderly donkeys have dental issues, ranging from worn to missing teeth, we feed them a special chop rather than them having to struggle to chew hay and straw.
How do you feel about looking after our Cuckoo Barn herd?
I feel very privileged to have looked after this gorgeous group of donkeys for many years. I love seeing their faces first thing in the morning, and there is always a chorus of loud excited brays. You get to know them exceptionally well and them you.