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. 

view:  full / summary


Posted by PrimRose on May 15, 2018 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

North American donkeys are all descendants of the African Wild Ass. There are 2 subspecies: the Nubian Wild Ass and the Somali Wild Ass. The Nubian Asses are extinct. The Somali Asses are critically endangered. A few are found in zoos around the world and in small numbers in countries in Africa such as Eritrea and Ethiopia. I like to explain this ancestry in the tours I give (Sundays from 1-4pm). The proof is shown here on Oliver’s leg: there are remnants of the stripe that is very noticeable on the leg of the Somali Wild Ass in the photo below.

Oliver’s rear leg

Somali Wild Ass


Daisies for Donkeys

Posted by PrimRose on May 6, 2018 at 7:40 PM Comments comments (0)

The sanctuary had another very successful annual event. Donkey related crafts and daisies were sold to raise money for Donkey care, feed, barn, fence and shelter repairs.

These are the daisies graciously supplied to us by Quinn's Blooms & Greenery. They sold that went very quickly.

There were also baked goods, lemonade, Coffee and apple cider to try. These amazing treats looked like cheeseburgers but were actually cupcakes, brownies and icing . Yum!! Thanks to all the visitors who came to view the amazing animals at the sanctuary and for their kind donations. Thank you to PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary volunteers, we couldn't have done this without you!


Donkeys and Grief

Posted by PrimRose on April 30, 2018 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

This is Sadie a miniature donkey who was recently welcomed to PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary. Her equine friend at the farm she came from passed away and it was felt that other donkey companionship might be good for her at the sanctuary. She is still finding her way and seems despondent at times.

Donkeys are very loyal animals and when they lose a beloved company it is important the donkey is allowed to sniff their companion after they have passed away. If the donkey does not have this closure they can continue to grieve indefinitely and may never recover.

With the patient loving care Sadie receives at the sanctuary I am sure she will begin to mend.




Volunteer Projects at the Sanctuary

Posted by PrimRose on April 24, 2018 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Sheila is always looking for volunteers at the sanctuary. In particular need right now is Saturday mucking out, please email Sheila if you can help. There are many different volunteer opportunities at the farm. Mucking out, giving tours on Thursdays and Sundays, grooming, helping during feeding time and replenishing water are frequent duties. There are volunteers who bake,paint, crochet or take photos of the donkeys. Onevent days there are volunteers who make coffee/tea or help with set up and take down. There are volunteers who repair fences and fix gates or walls of the barn. The barn is frequently painted. There are volunteers who make runs to the dump or drive the trailer to pick up rescued donkeys.This photo shows a project recently completed by volunteer Elliot. This is a hay rack with a roof to keep the rain/snow off the hay as this can cause the hay to rot.

Here's the link to more information on volunteering at PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary:

If you'd like to help, please visit the sanctuary on one of our open days Thursdays or Sundays 1-4pm and speak to Sheila who is the owner of the sanctuary. Alternately you may send an email to [email protected]


Portraits and Personality

Posted by PrimRose on April 17, 2018 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (0)

It is interesting to observe the donkeys and mules; their personalities and behaviour are quite different. This series of equine photos also demonstrates their personalities. This is Austin, he is a mule having a donkey for a father and a horse for a mother. He looks positively regal in this picture. Austin is cautious with strangers and prefers not to be pet which can seem standoffish. After he lost his good friend Sheema he did enjoy neck scratches. When good friends Wilson and Gordon get frisky he walks away and avoids any trouble.

This is Wilson hinny. He had a donkey for a mother and horse for a father. Hinnies are physically different then mules in that there is a slight cross on their back. The dark line on Wilson’s spine can be seen in this photo. Wilson can also seem standoffish similar to Austin. He prefers not to be pet and can be cautious around new people. Wilson is territorial and can be bossy with donkeys which is why he is kept separate from the donkeys. Here he is with his mouth full as is usually the case, ears perked and nostrils flared. He is checking if there are treats around.

This is Gordon also a hinny. His personality is similar to Wilson’s: prefers not to be touched, territorial and cautious around strangers. However Gordon is quite curious and smart. One day a gate was left open and instead of going to eat the hay on the porch he stood at the window of the house to see what Sheila was doing. When Gordon gets his photo taken he always acts nonchalant or maybe slightly embarrassed: lookingcasually right and left.

And then there are the donkeys! Donkeys are similar to dogs: they follow you around, are loyal, love a good scratch and treat and are smart and curious. It is often difficult to get a good photo as they stand so close and follow as you back up to get a good shot. Here is Charlie mini donkey doing exactly that as I try to get a good shot!

I also tried crouching but that brought Charlie too close for a photo.



Why Do Donkeys Roll

Posted by PrimRose on April 9, 2018 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Donkeys roll in the dirt for different reasons and during different seasons. It is interesting to watch. In the early spring donkeys roll to fluff their coats which helps with insulation when nights are still cold. In late spring donkeys roll to help with shedding of their winter coat. In summer donkeys roll in dust and mud to keep the flies at bay. Donkeys will also roll if there is any itchy spot on their coats as the mud can be soothing. Often donkeys will prepare a spot to roll by pawing with their hoof to loosen the dirt. They often take turns using the same area. Usually the donkeys prefer not to be groomed right after rolling as this negates the purpose of the mud. Of course donkeys roll just for the fun of it as well!


You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

Donkey Ears

Posted by PrimRose on April 3, 2018 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Donkey hearing is quite similar to other equines but due to ear size donkeys can pick up sounds from quite far away. Interestingly the ears can move separately from each other.

Indiana Jones is listening to me as well as something in the opposite direction with the other ear.

Jenny is listening behind her.

Here Jenny is listening behind her as well as off to the side.

Virgil has got his full attention on me and is listening very intently. Probably hoping to hear that it is dinner time and he better hurry to the barn. He has learned that he has to eat before his good friend Finegan who eats as fast as he can and then finishes off Virgil’s dinner. When donkeys are resting both ears often relax and point to the side. When both ears are pointed to the back and down tight to the head the donkey is giving a warning he is unhappy and it is best to steer clear. Something we rarely see at the sanctuary!


Mutual Grooming

Posted by PrimRose on March 26, 2018 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

It is quite interesting to watch two donkeys decide to mutually groom each other. They stand ever so slightly side by side and then muzzle along the other donkey’s side as if trying to find and agree on which is the right spot. Meanwhile at the exact same time the other donkey is doing the same nuzzling on the other side. Somehow they communicate that this is the right spot and they begin grooming at the same time, nibbling with their teeth. This goes on for a few minutes. Favourite spots are along the neck, withers or shoulders. If you are looking to get into a donkey’s good books, scratching those areas mentioned above or the base of the tail or the cheeks of the rump are great places to start. Some donkeys like to have the inside of their ears gently stroked. Here is Joey and Jenny grooming each other.


Donkey Grooming

Posted by PrimRose on March 20, 2018 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

This is a very informative video by the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada on donkey grooming.


You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.