The Donkey Sanctuary is celebrating the arrival of the smallest miniature foal to be born into its care.
Weighing just fourteen kilograms and standing at just knee height the tiny fluffy brown and white colt is a real beauty. At just a few days old he is already racing around the paddock keeping his proud mum busy but has yet to be named.
Vet Elena Barrio who has been at The Donkey Sanctuary for nine years says: “As his mum is a miniature donkey he’s one of the smallest foals we’ve ever had. About the size of a dog. To give you an idea he’s about 14kg as opposed to about 50kg for an average thoroughbred horse foal. “He’s such a beauty and so delicate- small but perfectly formed. Perfectly healthy. No wonder his mum is so proud of him!”
The colt who has tiny hooves and a fluffy white forelock, is the 14th foal to be born at The Donkey Sanctuary this year as the charity experiences a baby boom. The number of foals born this year has already outstripped the whole of last year. During April three were born in just one week. This brings this year’s births to more than double the figure for 2010, when just six were born.
This baby boom is the result of the high number of rescued mares being taken in by the charity, particularly in cases of abandonment from Northern Ireland . The new foal’s mother, Summer, aged 3, was relinquished to the charity in June this year from an overstocked farm in Oldham . She was already pregnant.
Visitors might be lucky to see her little bundle of joy at the Sidmouth site – out grazing in a paddock two down from the maze. Sometimes mother and son are inside their stable getting to know each other. But when they are outdoors members of the public are welcome to view them from outside the railings. If they are out of sight there are plenty of other activities and things to see at the Sanctuary besides, such as donkey grooming, nature walks and education activities.
The Donkey Sanctuary has a no breeding policy so any foals born are born to mares who were already in foal when they were taken in or rescued.