Quick action by groom saves the day – and the foal

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Abbie's new foal enjoys a zoom around her field.
Abbie’s new foal enjoys a zoom around her field. © The Donkey Sanctuary

Good timing and quick action helped a donkey mare safely deliver her foal after one of its front legs became stuck during birth at a British charity last week.

Abbie was due to foal at international animal welfare charity The Donkey Sanctuary. When groom Lisa Coles checked on her, she quickly realised that one of the foal’s front legs was stuck. Lisa could see that Abbie was struggling and knew that she had to do something fast to help her.

Lisa gently held the foal and was able to free its leg, helping Abbie to deliver her baby safely last Tuesday night (June 8) at Paccombe Farm, near Sidmouth, Devon.

After being checked over by one of The Donkey Sanctuary’s vets, both mother and daughter were given a clean bill of health. The pair were out in the sunshine the following day, where the fluffy grey youngster, who is yet to be named, could begin to explore her new surroundings.

Neil ColesFarm Manager at The Donkey Sanctuary said: “Lisa did brilliantly and helped Abbie deliver the foal safely. She acted quickly when time was of the essence, and without her actions, Abbie could have got into real difficulty.” 

Abbie was in foal when she was relinquished into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary in September 2020. She was discovered running free with her previous foal, Timmy, alongside the busy A47 near Norwich.

They were separated from the fast-moving traffic by just a thin hedge and could have easily found themselves in a very dangerous situation and posed a real risk to drivers if they’d escaped onto the busy dual carriageway.

Lisa Cole with the foal she helped deliver.
Lisa Cole with the foal she helped deliver. © The Donkey Sanctuary

When Abbie’s foal is old enough, she will be introduced to other donkeys of a similar age. It is hoped that one day she will be found a new home on the charity’s Rehoming Scheme with her own Donkey Guardian.

The Donkey Sanctuary has a no-breeding policy. Foals born at the sanctuary are born to mares that have arrived already in foal.

Abbie and her new foal, who is yet to be named.
Abbie and her new foal, who is yet to be named. © The Donkey Sanctuary

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