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 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


Posted by PrimRose on November 10, 2019 at 6:40 AM

Blitz is a miniature horse who came to the sanctuary with his best friend Canterbury Blue. Miniature horses are bred to get very small. Blitz has the sweetest personality: he never gets in anyone’s way and likes to meet visitors at the sanctuary. Canterbury Blue can get bossy: Blitz never does. He often needs grooming to get the hay out of his forelock. It looks as if he can’t see where he is going. When his forelock gets groomed out of his eyes he shakes his head until the forelock is back over his eyes. Blitz doesn’t move quickly very often but every so often he will get the zoomies and trot around the field. His legs are so short it looks like he is moving quickly but really he isn’t! As you can see in the photos Blitz takes eating very seriously! He may be stocking up for winter!



Posted by PrimRose on October 27, 2019 at 6:40 AM

Austin is a mule who is best friends with Canterbury Blue, in the photo, Blitz, (miniature horses)Wilson (mule)and Gordon (Hinny). We also call

Austin: Rod Stewart because of his beautiful highlights that many would pay big bucks for! Austin is quite quiet and introspective, when Gordon and Wilson get rowdy he moves away. If Canterbury Blue gets bossy, usually over hay, he moves away. Lately Austin had become more interested in having visitors pet him. Previously he was just out of reach. Now he lets a few people pet him and then gets enough and moves out of reach. Austin is never pushy like Gordon and Wilson can be. If there are treats Austin hangs back and patiently waits his turn. He has an interesting nicker ( with a bit of donkey bray). Lately he has become enamoured with Canterbury Blue, although all the boys love her, and is often standing in a shelter with her. Austin is quite the handsome gentleman!




Posted by PrimRose on October 15, 2019 at 10:50 AM

Gina is a molly mule, molly is a term for female mule. She has recently come to the sanctuary and is sooo friendly: she loves greeting visitors. She is called a dun mule which explains her colour and while visitors have said she is a horse, her ears are too large for a horse and her mane is spiky like a donkey’s mane. She was ridden in the past and came from a farm where there were horses. I suspect that she may think she is a horse. So far Gina is not very excited about sharing hay with the donkeys. Junebug Hinny is not afraid of Gina’s dirty looks and laid back ears at all and shares the hay. It will be interesting to see who Gina becomes friends with. Gilly, PrimRose’s daughter, is at the sanctuary as well. She was a companion to a race horse. Perhaps they will become friends.Carlos Hinny loved big Jessie mule (who has since passed away) perhaps Carlos can win Gina’s heart. There is no lack of drama at the the sanctuary! It is natural for equines to bond with others and it is interesting to see friendships form!



Posted by PrimRose on October 1, 2019 at 1:05 PM

Junebug is a Hinny. Hinnies have a donkey as a mother and the father is a horse. Hinnies have a donkey cross on their backs as do donkeys. Mules do not have the cross. Junebug is Oscar’s (donkey) best friend. Junebug is an interesting equine: she is quite independent and feels free to express what she wants to the others. If she wants at the hay she lays her ears back and let’s them know. All move out of the way! She lines up early in the barn for night feeding. If she has to wait too long, the braying starts! Oscar is completely besotted with her and follows her everywhere particularly when she goes off to graze with Finnegan mule and Carlos Hinny.

Come visit Junebug and the other equines on World Animal Day on October 6th from 1-4pm.


Junebug waiting for her supper!


Posted by PrimRose on September 26, 2019 at 6:10 AM

Riley has been at the sanctuary for many years and is 12 years old. He came from a farm where he was in with Alpacas. He had received little human attention and was a bit wild when he arrived. Riley has settled down nicely and is part of the pace led by Sally, which includes her son Oliver, his best friend Robbie, Snowball and most recently John. Riley doesn’t like his legs being touched and he is indifferent about grooming but if there are treat around he has the best nose out there. He also gets very indignant if hay is moved from his paddock to share with other donkeys in a neighbouring paddock. Riley is very quietly observant and if hay goes elsewhere he brays very loudly! He is a very handsome boy!