Farm staff and volunteers at The Donkey Sanctuary have recently welcomed a brand new arrival after an expectant mare gave birth. Rescued mare Fudge delivered her beautiful skewbald foal, now named Coby, at Paccombe Farm on a sunny afternoon in June.
Staff had been keeping a close eye on Fudge and checking her at regular intervals, and could tell the time was close when she began to produce milk from her udders. As she began the process of foaling, farm manager Neil Coles and vet Abigail Sefton were on hand to make sure everything went smoothly.
Abigail said: “We've been monitoring Fudge since she arrived pregnant quite a few months ago with monthly ultrasound checks to monitor the progress of herfoetus. Because she arrived pregnant, we didn't have any indication of when she would foal, so the farm staff at Paccombe Farm were instrumental in keeping a close eye on her while we waited. Fudge started foaling during the middle of the day, which is quite unusual, and a nice opportunity for the farm staff to see the birthing process.”
Fudge did require some assistance when her foal became stuck in a difficult position, and she allowed Abigail and Neil to give her some much needed help meaning she could make a safe delivery. The grooms at Paccombe Farm have worked so hard to help gain Fudge’s trust while she’s been in their care, and if it were not for their efforts it would have been very difficult to assist Fudge, and her and her foal could have had a very different outcome.
Abigail adds: “I was called right away, which was useful as Fudge needed some help getting the foal out. He's a big, strong boy, and Fudge is quite a small, young donkey, so it was a very tight fit. I have to admit that I thought she would foal several months ago, so we've been anticipating this baby for quite a while! Even though Fudge is a young, inexperienced mother, she bonded with her baby straight away, and has been very loving and protective. It's been wonderful seeing them together.”
Little Coby was on his feet within 25 minutes, looking bright and healthy, and suckling from his mother within an hour. A few days on, he’s confidently racing around his paddock in the sunshine – with Fudge always close by. Neil described Fudge as a very good mother. He said: “Fudge has taken to motherhood so well. She’s always looking out for Coby. When he lays down to rest, she’ll give him a little nudge to check he’s ok every few minutes. It’s wonderful to watch them together”.
Fudge and Coby will remain at Paccombe Farm (which is not open to the public) whilst Coby is still young. Once he is ready to be weaned, staff will decide which farm both mother and foal are best suited to depending on their needs – they may even be able to join our rehoming scheme.