We ensure that all of our donkeys receive the very best care, regardless of their age. Read on to find out how we look after our herd elders.

When donkeys come into our care, we make a commitment to look after them for the rest of their lives, which means there are many elderly residents on our farms that need an extra bit of TLC.

How old is 'old' for a donkey?

While donkeys can live to 40 and beyond, many start to show signs of ageing from their early 20s. 

We consider any donkey over the age of 20 to be elderly and think about extra measures they require to ensure we meet their welfare needs.

What do you need to look out for in older donkeys?

Many health conditions can affect ageing donkeys, each requiring extra care. Mobility issues are quite common, particularly arthritis of the neck, spine and limbs.

Poor teeth are another common problem for elderly donkeys. These donkeys are fed short-chop food instead of straw, which is easier to chew and digest.

How do you meet the welfare needs of an older donkey?

When older donkeys can no longer keep up with the young, fit donkeys charging around steep fields, we move them to a more suitable location where life's pace is a lot slower.

Some of our 'oldies' barns have soft wood-chip bedding, which is easier to walk through than straw, as well as being extra comfy and warm.

Patch at Trow
Patch's sandwich with medication
Bianca makes a sandwich for Patch's medication
Patch is one of our older donkeys and requires anti-inflammatory medicine. A jam sandwich usually does the trick!

Do you have any top tips for looking after elderly donkeys?

We have a couple! Thirty-five-year-old Patch was a working beach donkey for many years and suffers from arthritis. He needs to take daily anti-inflammatory medicine, so we disguise these in a tasty jam sandwich for him.

Another donkey, Paddy, suffers from sore gums. Our grooms know when there's a problem thanks to ‘the carrot test’ – if he struggles to bite through a carrot, then they can give him the help he needs.

If you're interested in what else goes into looking after elderly donkeys, you may find our information on caring for older donkeys useful.

Your loving support helps us care for donkeys into old age.