In 2019 a group of fourteen donkeys from Co. Cork came into our care. Parsley was one of the youngest donkeys in this group. Unused to being handled, he was nervous and frightened.
Parsley was thin and his lice infested coat was dirty and matted. The New Arrivals team knew they needed to treat Parsley urgently. Given that Parsley was a wild foal - due to lack of human contact before his rescue - he was sedated in order for his coat to be fully clipped.
This experience in itself was stressful for both Parsley and his mother Daffodil, who was fiercely protective of her foal. Nevertheless, the team treated the pair with all their kindness and patience, knowing the clip would ease Parsley's suffering greatly and enable them to treat his skin conditions.
Knowing that Parsley would soon need to be weaned from his mother, his grooms made plans to familiarise him with human presence and gain his trust.
With Daffodil and Parsley separated but within close proximity, his weaning process began. Through the team's patience and expertise, Daffodil's nervous and protective nature started to become less of a factor in building trust with Parsley.
Thankfully, a breakthrough was made in Parsley's progress; finally, he made a friend that would help him connect to his human rescuers. This connection, though, was not initially with any of his handlers.
A friend for Parsley
BeeBee, a hinny foal, had also not been given the best start in life. Abandoned outside the Open Farm at just a few days old, she was too small to be put in with a large group of foals. New Arrivals Supervisor, Dawn O'Connor had an idea that would transform both of their lives - to put timid Parsley in with the small, non-threatening BeeBee. At first Parsley was scared of the foal and shied away - but staff were there to monitor them to make sure no harm came to either.
Soon, the pair's relationship blossomed. Parsley's trust in BeeBee also opened the door to him gaining trust in the humans that cared for them both, too.
Within a few weeks of becoming friends with BeeBee, Parsley became vastly more comfortable with his grooms - seeking out attention from them in the form of scratches, and happily letting them pick up his feet. He has also shown fantastic improvements in his basic handling, being good to lead and "excellent" to catch: an impressive feat for a neglected foal who had no previous exposure to humans.
Since those early days Parsley has moved from New Arrivals to the Buffalo Shed Group on Hannigans Farm with his friend BeeBee and some other young donkeys.