A herd of British donkeys had a spring in their step recently, as they were let out into their summer grazing fields for the first time this year.
Donkey-facing staff at the international animal welfare charity, The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon have been working hard to make sure the resident donkeys continue to receive the highest level of care during these challenging times.
Last weekend’s sunshine was the perfect time to open the gates and let them run free. The donkeys needed no encouragement to kick up their heels, roll and run as they let off steam and enjoyed the lush green grass.
“Our donkeys have been restricted to their yards, barns and stables for many weeks, due to the heavy rain and wet ground. But now we can start to let them out in the fresh air and enjoy the summer grazing,” said Maxine Carter, Farm Manager at The Donkey Sanctuary.
“For as long as the ground and gateways remain dry, we will be letting our donkeys out for an hour a day. We will introduce the donkeys to grass gradually and increase the time over the next few weeks; until eventually they have the freedom to choose whether to be inside or out.”
Carter said introducing them gradually to turnout was much better for their digestive system. “Having been on a high fibre diet of straw, haylage and hay since October, giving them too much grass for long periods of time could bring on all sorts of health problems, such as colic and laminitis.”
To ensure The Donkey Sanctuary can continue to provide the everyday care for their resident donkeys and mules the charity is deploying office-based staff who are equine trained to support donkey-facing workers. From Data Scientists to Visitor Services Assistants to HR professionals and Researchers, they are all playing their part in providing the highest level of care. The charity also has further teams preparing for training so they are ready to be deployed should they be needed.
The Donkey Sanctuary has 7000 donkeys and mules in its care across the UK and Europe. Check out their webcams to see what’s happening.