Two of our foster donkeys are making a fantastic difference to the lives of city kids- on a farm north of Dartmoor where children from cities go to experience countryside life.
Nedin and Applejack were fostered to the Devon branch of Farms for City Children- a scheme which takes school groups from big cities like London and Birmingham to working farms to help out for a week.
Each day the kids feed, groom and turn out the donkeys as part of a dawn-til-dusk farm schedule which includes milking cows, collecting eggs and tending crops.
Since arriving in October the donkey duo have already proved to be a huge success, says Stuart Coles, Deputy Farm Manager of the site at Nethercott, Hatherleigh.
“They’re absolutely fantastic. We’re absolutely thrilled. They fit the bill perfectly, they’re great with the children- they do everything we want them to do.
“The children really love the donkeys. Sometimes you find the ones who aren’t academic really come out of themselves and have a real bond with the donkeys which you wouldn’t expect. It’s really great. They’re a really important part of the farm and we wouldn’t be without them.”
Many of the 'city kids' are nervous around animals. For some it may be their first trip to a farm, to the countryside or away from home.
With this in mind Applejack and Nedin were specially selected by The Donkey Sanctuary because of their sweet and placid nature. And the farm staff were put through a bespoke training course in donkey care before the donkeys arrived.
The time spent carefully matching the donkeys with the home has really paid off and the donkeys, together with a Shetland pony called Spice and a former show pony called Tawny now form an irreplaceable equine “dream team” the farm would not be without.
We look forward to hearing more about how Nedin and Applejack get on in the future.
For more information on our foster scheme visit www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/foster-a-donkey