When we received a request from a donkey owner, desperate for help, asking if we could take in his two donkeys, we responded with advice and support.
The stallion donkeys called Ned and Jack had belonged to the owner’s late father and had roamed dairy farmland with cattle for over ten years. The donkeys were unused to being handled and when their hooves were trimmed twice a year, it was always a stressful experience.
In recent times, due to fencing at the farm deteriorating, the donkeys had repeatedly escaped onto roads and nearby properties causing damage. As a last resort to try to prevent the donkeys from escaping, the owner confined the animals to a boat shed and he was afraid to let them out.
As supporting donkeys in the community is a vital service we provide, we were eager to help. Donkey Welfare Adviser, Clare Crowther visited the donkey owner and met Ned and Jack who were sharing a shed with a boat and some old farm machinery. Both animals were extremely nervous of human contact and would run from one end of the shed to the other, kicking out defensively if approached. Their body condition was good but their hooves were overdue a trim. The owner spoke of how farriers had trimmed the donkeys’ hooves but had found the stallions difficult to handle and were reluctant to return.
Clare quickly saw how caring for Jack and Ned had become an overwhelming burden and she was determined to improve their welfare by providing the support the donkey owner needed to care for his animals. The donkeys were being fed a diet of oats and vegetables so Clare advised about nutrition and the importance of worming the animals. The donkey owner agreed to provide barley straw so Ned and Jack would have access to appropriate forage at all times.
A plan of action to improve the donkeys’ living conditions was quickly agreed upon. An area of pasture, close to the house was selected to be cleared of hazards and fenced securely as a paddock. With access to a yard and shelter, the donkeys wouldn’t be outside in bad weather and would have an area of concrete to help improve the health of their hooves. The owner was determined to make certain the donkeys would not escape again and worked to fence off the area securely, giving Ned and Jack a safe space to live in.
Crucially, Clare arranged for an experienced farrier who enjoys working with donkeys to trim Ned and Jacks’ hooves. With two assistants accompanying him, the donkeys were calmly and safely caught. Happily, as Ned and Jack were handled gently, they relaxed and the farrier trimmed their hooves with ease. The donkey owner was delighted and will continue to use this farrier in the future.
Clare arranged for a local equine vet to castrate the donkeys and shortly, an equine dental technician will visit to check Ned and Jacks’ teeth for the first time.
Over the autumn months, Ned and Jack settled into their new paddock and shelter near the house. Instead of wandering through several acres without regular human contact, they began living alongside and interacting with people. As a result, both donkeys are more friendly and don’t run away when they are approached.
Clare said: “Ned and Jacks’ welfare needs are being met in terms of environment and diet and they are safe in their securely fenced paddock. By living alongside and having positive interactions with people, the donkeys are quickly gaining confidence and are more friendly. I am delighted that we have been able to support this donkey owner and that he has the knowledge and confidence to care for Ned and Jack into the future.”
Thanks to your generosity, we have helped donkeys like Ned and Jack remain in their home. We are here to support donkey owners to take responsibility for the welfare of their animals. Can you donate today to help us continue our vital work in the community?
HOW TO DONATE
Please click on the donation button below. Alternatively, call our team on +353 (0)22 48398 to donate over the phone. Thank you.