Sadly for one little foal born at the Sanctuary on Tuesday 20th October 2009, his mother tragically died giving birth. We are now hand-rearing Ashley as a suitable foster mare could not be found. Just like Zena (born prematurely on 9th September 2009), the little foal is going to need expert 24/7 veterinary care as well as round the clock feeding by members of staff who have volunteered their free time to help.
In the first few hours of Ashley's life, he received as much colostrum as possible from his mum and thinking that was not going to be sufficient hyperimmune plasma (plasma containing extremely high levels of antibodies) was given intravenously. Colostrum is the very first milk produced by a mother after she gives birth which supplies the foal with vital antibodies.
We also have to thank Annie Brown for bringing in a supply of colostrum that she had milked from one of her own horse mares after her foal sadly died. Little did Annie know at the time that she would be coming to the rescue of an orphaned foal here at the Sanctuary.
Help bottle feed
Our veterinary team began a two-hourly bottle feeding regime and this week, Ashley will move on to feeds at four hourly intervals. Staff are working to a rota to help with the feeds which could continue for a further six to 10 weeks.
Hand rearing a foal requires a great deal of commitment in both time and resources, but we specialise in donkey care and welfare and consider ourselves a centre of excellence.
No breeding policy
It's quite a rare occasion for a foal to be born at the Sanctuary as we have a no breeding policy. This has been an exceptional year with mares coming into our care who were already in foal. Not only their mothers, but each foal is guaranteed sanctuary for life.