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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Poisonous Plants for Donkeys

Posted by PrimRose on October 2, 2018 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

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 Comments comments (1)

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 Comments comments (0)

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.


Sidney Having a Bath

Posted by PrimRose on September 4, 2018 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

This is Sidney a very friendly cat at the sanctuary having a bath. Cats are well designed for giving themselves baths: they have barbed tongues, they apply saliva to their front paws and can use their claws to help remove dirt. If you watch a cat bath most follow the same pattern: licking a paw and washing from back to front. Here Sidney washes behind his ear and towards his nose. Sidney loves meeting visitors from 1-4pm Thursdays and Sundays.


Donkey Dentistry

Posted by PrimRose on August 28, 2018 at 6:15 AM Comments comments (0)

North American donkeys originated in Egypt where the natural food eaten was coarser and more woody, naturally wearing down donkey teeth. Since being domesticated donkey diet has changed to softer less coarse food such as hay and grass meaning donkey teeth growth needs to be checked by the vet yearly. Donkey teeth are always growing and must be floated or filed down to prevent periodontal disease. Signs are holding the head up unnaturally when eating, dropping food out of the mouth, uneven teeth, losing weight, and poor condition of the coat. Donkey teeth can continue to grow into the gums causing pain and difficulty eating. Donkey instinct is to chew on wooden fences and gates! This is Sandy who was recently welcomed to the sanctuary along with her daughter Grace, Joker and Jill. When donkeys first arrive the vet comes to check their health. It was determined that Sandy and Grace’s teeth had not been floated recently and dental care was needed. Here is Sandy after having her teeth floated, waiting for the sedation to wear off.




Pigs at the Sanctuary

Posted by PrimRose on August 21, 2018 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

This is Dave a Vietnamese potbelly pig. He lives at the sanctuary with his mother Charlotte. Some one was doing a cat rescue and found these 2 pigs living in someone’s basement. Sheila agreed to adopt them. They had to be put on a strict diet as their bellies dragged on the ground when they arrived. They have lost weight but being on a diet might explain why their personalities are grumpy especially Dave who bullies his mother when food is involved. Neither pig enjoys the cold: they share a shelter covered in comforters. The heat also seems difficult for them: even though they have an outside run they are often in the barn on sweltering summer days. Dave is quite a conversationalist. He usually answers to his name and although it sounds like complaining or talking back he is quite vocal. Vietnamese pot belly pigs have been used for food but these were originally adopted as pets. They were likely quite cute when piglets but have now grown to healthy full sized pigs. They can live 10-12 years and weigh as much as 250 pounds. Come talk to Dave and meet his mother Charlotte any Thursday or Sunday from 1-4pm.


Why Some Equines Stick Out Their Tongues

Posted by PrimRose on August 14, 2018 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Some of the equines at the sanctuary stick out their tongues after drinking water. It is because their lips don’t seal well and it is hard to keep the last bit of water in their mouths to swallow later without using the puffy wet seal of the tongue. If you offer them hay from your hand the last of the water dribbles out. This is Wilson and Gordon both hinnies. Hinnies have a donkey for a mother and a horse for a father. There is a slight cross on their backs along the spine and across the shoulders. Mules’ parentage is the opposite and there is no cross. This was a very hot day and both hinnies were drinking a lot of water and using their tongues to hold the water in. Perhaps to have some for later.


Who Rules the Roost?

Posted by PrimRose on August 8, 2018 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

This is Canterbury Blue miniature horse.

This is Wilson and Gordon hinny.

When I started volunteering 5 years ago Wilson and Gordon were with the donkeys along with Austin mule. They did not share the hay and often chased and nipped the donkeys. Three years ago they were put in their own paddock. When Canterbury Blue and her partner Blitz were rescued the best place was with Wilson, Austin and Gordon. The hierarchy has totally changed and Canterbury Blue is the boss. All it takes is a look and Austin, Wilson and Gordon move away! Generally they get along well together and love meeting our visitors on Thursdays and Sundays from 1-4 pm.



Posted by PrimRose on July 31, 2018 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (1)

Sheyore is an elderly donkey who lives at the sanctuary. Her teeth are worn down to the gum so it is difficult to tell her age but the vet says she is in her forties. She gets a big bowl of nutritious fit and fibre that has been made mushy by adding boiling water morning and late afternoon. With no teeth it is difficult to chew hay and grass and get enough to nutrition. Sheyore has a sway back likely caused by genetics. Equines with sway backs should not be bred as this trait can worsen causing back pain. Her great long ears help her hear everything that is going on in the barn. Donkey ears can move independently so they can hear in two different directions at once. Sheyore loves being at the sanctuary with the other donkeys and being groomed. She is often seen grazing out in the fields but knows when to come to the barn for feeding time. Sheyore is waiting on her supper in the barn in the photo below.



Posted by PrimRose on July 18, 2018 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (1)

This is miniature donkey Charlie licking the mineral block. Mineral blocks must be provided for donkeys to obtain important minerals as part of their diet. The vet can provide information as to what type of block is needed. Selenium is important for muscle strength, calcium and phosphorus for bones, zinc for a healthy coat, and vitamin A for eyesight. Minerals required by a donkey are influenced by the geographical location as well as the health of the Donkey so a local vet can determine which type of mineral block is needed.