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 December 4, 2018 at 6:40 AM

This is Marble an elderly donkey at the sanctuary. Marble has few teeth left which is how a donkey’s age is determined but it is thought Marble is well into his forties. Marble enjoys the company of Sheyore and the visitors. Feeding time is another favourite as it is near impossible to get nutrition from hay without the ability to chew so Marble gets a large bowl of mush ( horse pellets and water) for meals.

Marble has springhalt which means the very high lifting of the hind hooves/legs when walking. In Marble’s case it is neurological, he can’t sense if his hooves have struck the ground therefore causing the hoof/leg lifting.

Other causes are eating a poisonous plant called false dandelion and sometimes the cause can not be determined.

There are no ill effects but it makes for an uneven gait.

Please click on this link to see Marble in his new blue winter coat going in search of his next meal!



Posted by PrimRose on November 27, 2018 at 6:40 AM

Tommy was a mammoth donkey who was 22 years old. He was such a sweet gentle boy. It seems mammoth donkeys are the gentle giants of the donkey world. Did he love the Jennets (female donkeys) at the sanctuary! Tommy had severe arthritis in his front knees that initially made it difficult for him to walk. Sheila got this under control with medication and Tommy began to roam. It seemed he would be at one end of the farm then suddenly at the other end checking out the girls! A particular favourite of Tommy’s was Sally who, everyone who has been to the sanctuary knows, is Oliver’s mother. Oliver was constantly moving between Sally and Tommy. He was not impressed!

Tommy has since passed away, he was greatly loved and now missed by all of us.



Posted by PrimRose on November 18, 2018 at 6:55 AM

Virgil was a mule (donkey for father, horse for a mother). It is possible the mother was a Shetland pony as Virgil had white socks. Virgil has passed away but there are many memories about him as he had quite a personality. Six years ago Virgil was with the other mules and hinny: Austin, Wilson and Gordon. They were not always kind to Virgil so he was moved in with the other donkeys and mules. Virgil could clear the hay bale with a look so he was first in line but slowly he began to share. He would often do mutual grooming with Finegan and others. Virgil was abused before he came to the sanctuary and he was very cautious with people. If it was dinner time though caution was thrown to the wind as far as coming close to people. Virgil quickly learned that Finegan would eat as quickly as possible so he could finish Virgil’s dinner. Then Virgil would allow us close to him to hold his bowl away from Finegan. One Sunday a muskrat appeared at the sanctuary Virgil was sure the muskrat was a threat and chased him away. On tours we always spoke about Virgil and he would stand just out of reach so he could not be pet. The donkeys are much more accommodating to petting then the mules are.

Virgil was such a handsome boy and had the most soulful eyes and we miss him terribly at the sanctuary.



Posted by PrimRose on November 14, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Mocha is a beautiful cat who was at the sanctuary too briefly. Sheila found Mocha in the house under a couch and not moving except for her eyes which were very fearful. Mocha was paralyzed. Sheila held Mocha until she passed away and thought she had a stroke. I looked up cat strokes and found very little research has been done on this. There is some thought that cats have similar strokes to humans: hemorrhagic where a blood vessel bursts or ischemic where there is a clot. Sadly there is little that can be done when a cat has a stroke. During Mocha’s brief time at the sanctuary she was loved and cared for. 



Aggie and Finegan

Posted by PrimRose on November 5, 2018 at 6:05 AM

This is Aggie mammoth donkey and Finigan small standard (or large miniature) donkey, her “adopted” son. Aggie, Saffron, Braylee and Finigan who are a pace (group of donkeys) were at the sanctuary a few years ago until going to a foster farm, have now returned. Aggie is a friendly, curious gentle donkey who loves being groomed and pet and also loves Finigan. She treats Finigan like her son: they are often close to each other and Finigan easily walks under Aggie’s head. However biologically they are not related. The description of a donkey based on size is miniature donkey being less then 91 centimetres at the withers, standard 92-122 centimetres at the withers and mammoth over 122 centimetres. Someday I’ll bring a tape measure and determine if Finigan is actually a large miniature or small standard. Both Finigan and Aggie love to come to the fence (as do other donkeys) to greet visitors on Thursdays and Sundays from 1-4pm.



Posted by PrimRose on October 30, 2018 at 6:40 AM

This is Sadie donkey she came to the sanctuary this past winter with Patrick Belgian horse. Sadie and Patrick were working animals used to haul logs from the forest. They both had their hooves trimmed improperly, before coming to PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary. Patrick was 400 pounds underweight and passed away. Sadie is at the sanctuary enjoying the extra care and peacefulness there. Here she is eyeing a cat in the hay!


Sara Rose and Lily

Posted by PrimRose on October 21, 2018 at 9:10 AM

Sara Rose and her daughter Lily are in the barn for Sara’s dinner. Sara is the oldest donkey at the sanctuary at 47 years old. Sara’s teeth have worn down due to her age and she gets a bowl of equine pellets to boost her nutrition. Sara was quite old to have a foal at 41 years old. As jennies (female donkeys) continue to go into heat their entire lives it is up to the owner to control reproduction. Lily is now 6 years old, always with her mother and quite a favourite at the sanctuary. She loves being groomed and having her neck scratched. Come visit Sara and Lily at the sanctuary from 1-4pm Thursdays and Sundays year round.


Poisonous Plants for Donkeys

Posted by PrimRose on October 2, 2018 at 5:10 PM

There are many trees, plants and vegetables that are poisonous fordonkeys. Here are a few of the more common plants. A very thorough list can be found at the article is called Safe Plants for Donkeys. Poisonous plants include nightshade, buttercup, columbine, foxglove, hellebore, ivy, lily of the valley, monkshood,and ragwort. Poisonous trees include yew, black walnut, peach, plum, oak, red maple and buckthorn. Poisonous vegetables include cabbage, kale and turnip.It is important to inspect Donkey paddocks to see if any of these plants are growing there. Also remember donkeys can lean over the fence and nibble on what is growing in the ditches. When grazing or food is sparse donkeys are more likely to inadvertently eat something poisonous. As the weather is getting wetter it is important to inspect the hay bales for mold and rot often found on the inside. Eating bad hay can cause poisoning and blindness. Here is volunteer Dave clearing out old hay, moving it to the compost pile and putting in fresh hay.

Thank you to Amy Swift at Donkey Time to allow me to refer to her excellent article on plants that are poisonous for donkeys for this blog.

The miniature horses, mule and hinnies are eating fresh hay.


Donkey Hooves

Posted by PrimRose on September 19, 2018 at 7:05 AM

Donkey hooves are constantly growing just like human finger nails. The trimming needs to be done every 8-10 weeks. If they are not trimmed by a qualified Farrier they continue to grow until the animal goes lame. North American donkeys originated in Africa where the ground is rockier naturally wearing down the hooves. The soft pastures most donkeys are kept in here do not wear down the hooves at all. One of the first signs of Donkey neglect is long hooves and limping, eventually the hooves will grow and curl upward looking like Aladdin’s lamp and the animal will be constantly lying down. After trimming the animals are often still in pain until the leg bones realign back to natural and they begin to stand and walk again. At the sanctuary hoof trimming is a regular occurrence. This is a piece of trimmed hoof, by the small size likely a miniature donkey!


How to Trailer A Donkey

Posted by PrimRose on September 10, 2018 at 6:30 AM

If your donkey has not traveled in a trailer the best way to get them ready for the trip is to park the trailer in a field where they graze. By putting hay in the trailer for a few days allowing them to naturally enter the trailer of their own accord will make it easier on the day of departure and make it non threatening to be in the trailer. If a donkey is elderly and the trip is long it is best to consult the vet who will decide if the donkey is able to stand and balance for a long period of time.