The PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary

Donkey Tails Blog

Donkey Tails blog is a well written, informative and very interesting blog by volunteer Vivian about PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary and their animals at the wonderful donkey sanctuary in the Roseneath Ontario area. 

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Posted by PrimRose on October 1, 2020 at 6:15 AM

Carlos is a hinny (donkey mom, horse dad) who has been at the sanctuary for a few years. His previous situation must have been very frightening for him as he remains very cautious around humans today. It’s best not to look Carlos in the eyes and he has a very large personal space that nobody should enter or he walks away. If the person is carrying a halteror lead line that is the absolute worst thing and he runs away, very frightened and worried. Carlos has had various friends over the years and often chose large mules as his protectors. Jessie mule was a favourite friend but she has gone over the rainbow bridge and Carlos has found new friends. It is very important when equines bond to let the surviving partner smell the body once the animal passes away as this gives them closure. Otherwise they can die of a broken heart. Carlos has made a new friend : Blitz miniature horse. As I was grooming Blitz, Carlos figures keeping Star and Moon between us was the best, while still keeping a close eye on me!! Star is in front, Moon behind and Carlos watches me in this photo.





Posted by PrimRose on September 24, 2020 at 8:20 AM

Gordon is a hinny which means he had a donkey for a mother and a horse for a father. He has a slight cross on his back but when he brays there is definitely some horse neighing there too. When I started volunteering at the sanctuary 9 years ago Gordon was curious but very skittish around people. He has come a long way in settling down around people and sometimes even lets people pet him. He and his pals Austin and Wilson mules were separated from the donkeys for a few years as they were not good at sharing hay with the donkeys. Gordon and friends have become much better at sharing and are now in with the donkeys. Gordon is still very curious and loves to know what is going, he follows the tractor or people around to see what they’re doing. Once we built a snowman with equine treats for eyes, Wilson and Austin were afraid but Gordon walked over and ate the eyes! Gordon’s best friend is Wilson, they love to play together and play fight too: rearing, kicking and nipping. Here is Gordon likely looking for the tractor to deliver hay!


Sara and Jack

Posted by PrimRose on September 18, 2020 at 8:25 AM

Sara, miniature donkey and Jack, large standard donkey are best friends. They came to the sanctuary together when their owners had to sell the

farm. Sara is a quiet Jennie but knows how to push in front of Jack if she wants grooming or a good scratch. Jack was a bit pushy when he came to the sanctuary but has settled down and waits his turn for hay and grooming although he does line up to remind you not to forget him. Sara and Jack are always together and show how donkeys need another donkey as a companion and how very loyal they are. Separating a bonded pair is very negative for both animals and they can literally die of a broken heart. Here is Sara posing for a photo and Jack giving his cutest, I amstarving, don’t me forget me if you have a treat face!


Sara posing

Jack giving his cutest, I am starving, don’t me forget me if you have a treat face!


Posted by PrimRose on September 10, 2020 at 7:25 AM

This is Lily a standard donkey and daughter of Sara Rose who has gone over the rainbow bridge. A standard donkey is usually 92-123 cm in height in between a miniature and mammoth donkey. Standard donkeys have been used as beasts of burden and pulling carts. As Lily gets older she’s starting to look more and more like her mother. She has a broad back and is dark brown. Lily has a wonderful personality: she is friendly and loves being groomed. She follows along when she wants something usually an ear scratch until she gets one. Lily has in interesting habit when getting groomed: she preens her neck away from the brush and looks over her shoulder. Today she was hanging out with the miniature donkeys: Amelia Bedelia and Rosie. When they went down to the hay bale to join Charlie, Lily went along! In both photos Lily must be listening to something behind her!



Posted by PrimRose on September 4, 2020 at 7:35 AM

Aggie is a mammoth donkey who lives at the sanctuary with her best friend Finegan. To be classified as mammoth a jennet(female donkey) must

be at least 13.2 hands high(137 cm). Mammoth donkeys were bred to be tall and strong to do agricultural work in the past. They were bred by mating several large European breeds such as Poitou and the Catalan donkeys. More recently mammoths have been used to drag selectively logged trees from forests. As both these tasks are not done using animals these days mammoth donkeys are becoming rare. Aggie is a gentle giant. She loves being groomed and while waiting for breakfast she follows along to make sure she is not forgotten. She has a very loud bray to make sure her call for breakfast is heard! Another way she makes sure she is not forgotten is to stand right in front of you, forget personal space and social distancing! Aggie has one of sweetest gentlest personalities at the sanctuary!




Posted by PrimRose on August 30, 2020 at 7:00 PM

Olivia a new foal at the sanctuary is well cared for and loved by her mother Maggie. Female donkeys, called jennets or jennies, carry a foal for 12 months. Foals nurse for 4-6 months and then are naturally weaned by the mother. At 2-4 weeks foals already start sampling hay, grass and straw. It is fascinating to watch Olivia and Maggie. If Maggie is eating and Olivia tries to nurse, often she will raise her leg as if saying “wait”. When she has finished eating she lets Olivia nurse. As Maggie wanders around the paddock nibbling on grass and hay. Olivia follows along doing the same. While Maggie is eating hay Olivia bounces around the paddock. She plays, dances, trots, bucks, kicking up her heels! Olivia is a joy to watch. Here is Maggie giving Olivia a nuzzle!


Moon and Star and Ears Flattened

Posted by PrimRose on July 17, 2020 at 7:25 PM

What do people think when an equine flattens its ears? Most feel fear and that it is a warning of aggression. With bared teeth, swishing tail and aggressive body posture this could be the case. If one truly understands an equine it is often in jest, a playful warning with little aggression intended. In all cases in the 9 years I’ve volunteered with the donkeys flattened ears have been the latter reason. In this photo Moon and Star, who are best friends and always together, are both flattening their ears and it is at each other. The reason is both want to be first to get petted and scratched. Donkeys use their ears to communicate, listen and to show other feelings. Both ears flat to the sides means they’re resting. One ear forward and one back can mean they’re listening to sounds from both directions or they’re curious. Their ears also help to keep them cool. Donkeys can hear other’s braying up to 100 km away! Very handy in the desert where donkeys originated. Humans certainly can not hear other humans from that distance!! But then your ears are certainly lacking in size as compared to a donkey!


Zebras (well not quite)

Posted by PrimRose on May 12, 2020 at 7:25 AM

North American donkeys originated in Africa and were brought here as work animals: beasts of burden, carrying and pulling crops, different materials and people. Donkeys are extremely loyal causing some to use them as guard animals which is not necessarily the ideal use. While donkeys will fight a predator to death to protect their own as well as other herd animals they are best off with other donkeys and make wonderful pets and companions to other equines. Some are used as pack animals as well. There are some pure donkey breeds however most North American donkeys are a genetic mixture. Included in the donkey family tree and also originating in Africa is the zebra. Some donkeys still show that genetic remnant having leg stripes. In the picture below in Finnigan on the left with Sandy and her daughter Grace. The leg stripes on the mother/daughter pair are quite distinct and almost match! Finnigan does not have nearly as much stripe!



Posted by PrimRose on May 6, 2020 at 6:55 PM

Blitz is a miniature horse who lives at the sanctuary with his best friend Canterbury Blue. Blitz is very quiet and calm, nothing much bothers him, he is happy eating hay and grazing and hanging out with Canterbury Blue. He has the biggest mane and forelock and has a lot of bad hair days!

This is Canterbury Blue and being a mare she is a bit of a diva. She can clear the donkeys and mules from the hay bale with a look. Sometimes just for fun she will nip Blitz and he will take it all in stride. What a gentleman!

 Here they are hanging out at the hay bale on a warm sunny day!


Vanna White Goat

Posted by PrimRose on April 18, 2020 at 7:05 AM

Vanna White was a goat that lived at the sanctuary for many years, first sharing a stall with her good friend Christina Rose sheep, who has gone over the rainbow bridge, then with Preston goat. Vanna was also known as Shadow as she loved to follow people around but in my experiences with Vanna she had more of a “Vanna White” personality. Vanna had so much character she was quite sure that some of the volunteers ( me included )were meant for play time perhaps she thought we were fellow goats. Although no heads were quite as hard as hers!

On visiting days Vanna would come out of her shelter to greet the visitors when called. She would swagger out and come over to the fence to have her cheek scratched although this could also include a nip. Just to show how hard her head was she would rub and butt the fence. Look out if your fingers were in the way! The windows in the shelter meant she could keep an eye on visitors and any hay that was being delivered to her feed box.

She and Preston goat became good friends although she was known to become jealous if she felt Preston had been pet or scratched too long and it was her turn. At times Vanna and Preston would play goat games such as head butting and rearing up to play. Although Preston was much younger, taller and feistier, Vanna never stepped down and gave it her best.

Rest In Peace Vanna we will all miss you terribly. Vivian


Vanna and Preston