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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Barn Art

Posted by PrimRose on July 9, 2019 at 6:50 AM

The barn at the sanctuary is very old and beautiful art has been added to make it a cheery place.

This is the bench that has recently been refurbished where many visitors stop to take photos.

These beautiful signs decorate the main door to the barn.

This door plaque hangs between the room with the memorial wall and the main barn.

This plaque hangs on the door that goes through to the kitchen where Sheila prepares the food for the donkeys that need supplement to the hay; such as having no teeth due to age therefore being unable to get nutrients from just hay. Thank you to 'Friday Al' for creating this cute sign!

This cheery piece hangs on Charlotte and Dave, Vietnamese pot belly pigs’ stall. Many talented people have added to the barn to make a welcoming cheerful place to visit.



Posted by PrimRose on July 4, 2019 at 6:25 AM

This is Noelle one of many rescued cats at the sanctuary. The cats all have their own personalities and Noelle is no exception! She is the shy silent type, quietly friendly and persistent. She shows her happiness by sticking out her tongue ever so slightly and, while she tries to talk when she opens his mouth, her meow is nearly silent. Noelle does like her treats and recognizes the noise of an opening hatch on an SUV signaling treats may be coming. She does not like the drama some of the other cats display over food or territory. Come visit Noelle and other animals Thursdays and Sundays from 1-4pm.



Posted by PrimRose on June 25, 2019 at 7:05 PM

This is Abe who lives at the sanctuary with his son Dan. Abe is walking towards me and if you look closely his nostrils are very flared. He continues to walk towards me until he finally turns away as his nose has told him I have nothing with me that smells like a donkey treat! Donkeys’ sense of smell is very strong to help sense predators. In the background of the photo are other donkeys lying in the sand. As donkeys originated in desert lands it is important that donkeys have access to sand to roll in as this is what they do for relief from flies. The rolling also helps to remove the winter coat as a donkey’s coat is less dense in the summer. Rolling also helps if there is an itchy spot that needs soothing. Dust provides insulation and protection from hot and cold weather. And sometimes donkeys roll because they are happy!


Carlos, Hinny

Posted by PrimRose on June 17, 2019 at 8:40 PM

This is Carlos he is a Hinny which means his mother was a donkey and his father a horse. A mule is the opposite parentage. A Hinny can be differentiated from a mule by the cross on the back (a line of darker hair along the spine and across the shoulders). Carlos is very shy and he has adopted different friends during his time here seemingly for protection. His most notable being big Jessie mule who has passed on. Finnegan mule is his new best friend although Finnegan’s loyalty is questionable as Finn is quite the lady’s man showing a great deal of interest in female miniature horses and hinnies! Carlos watches all these goings on very carefully and only gets upset if Finn is out of eyesight for too long. Carlos then begins to pace. Carlos is extremely shy and cautious around humans likely due to poor treatment prior to arriving at the sanctuary. Here is Carlos having dinner and about to look over his shoulder in case another equine like Finn comes to steal a bite!


Charlie and his Angels

Posted by PrimRose on May 6, 2019 at 7:40 PM

Charlie miniature donkey was welcomed to PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary along with 3 other miniatures called Amelia Bedelia, Rosie and Tiana. A group of donkeys is called a pace and these four are always together. They share a stall together in the barn at night. You may wonder why Charlie looks like he is greying but it is barn paint! This past Sunday was the huge annual fundraising event at the sanctuary called Daisies for Donkeys. Before this event the barn gets painted and clearly Charlie was helping. Some one should have given him a paint brush! The event includes the sale of daisies as well as yummy home made baked treats to sample and meeting all the wonderful animals. There was a huge crowd this year. Thanks to all who visited. Daisies will also be sold next Sunday for Mother’s Day.


Donkey Communication Part 2

Posted by PrimRose on April 29, 2019 at 6:20 AM

Donkeys communicate in other ways then braying and most are quite subtle. When a donkey is unsure or afraid they tend to freeze to analyze the situation to see if it is safe for them. This can look like stubbornness but it is not. Another way of showing uncertainty is pursed lips and the upper lip jutting over the bottom lip. Pleasure and happiness is shown by quivering lips such as from a good scratch. A donkey hug feels like they are leaning against you when getting a good scratch or grooming. Donkey ears move all the time as they listen to sounds around them but both ears flat back and head jutted forward show displeasure almost always directed towards another donkey is regards to food. Depending on the situation such as how many donkeys are around I have pulled up on donkey ears to diffuse the situation. A swinging donkey tail can show agitation or excitement it is important to know your donkey well. It can also mean there are a lot of annoying flies! A common rule when around donkeys is not to walk behind them as donkeys are known for the strength of their kicks. If they experience pain they kick or a defensive move against a predator. Even a fly bite can cause a kick. Generally donkeys are very calm tranquil animals and never mean humans harm!


Donkey Braying

Posted by PrimRose on April 22, 2019 at 7:30 AM

When giving tours many visitors ask what it means when a donkey brays. As we get closer to 4pm at the sanctuary the braying becomes more frequent as Sheila should be in the barn kitchen with the kettle boiling preparing evening feed so those brays mean “don’t forget to feed me I am hungry”. But there other occasions the donkeys bray such as when the water buckets are low or if the hay is low in their paddock or perhapsif the hay is inferior quality as in “I can’t eat this!” When the tractor is running and certain paddocks are getting fresh hay the donkeys often bray to remind the driver to bring hay to them. Donkeys will bray to say hello to their humans and to other donkeys. At the sanctuary some donkeys are at the other end of farm for the winter months and when the upper fields open in the spring there is often braying from one end of the farm and answered from the other end sort of “I am still here”and the answer “yes so I am I”. Not all donkeys bray with same frequency it definitely depends on their personalities: the extroverts are loudest! It is interesting to watch a donkey get ready to bray it takes a great inhale of air as the donkeys heehaw on the inhale and exhale. Here is Jack, with his best friend Sara mini, getting ready to bray: his nostrils are flared for the big inhale! He was likely telling me that there had been no treats handed out in quite awhile. He got an answer from the other end of the farm confirming it was the same there!


Donkey Loyalty

Posted by PrimRose on April 16, 2019 at 6:40 AM

Donkey are extremely loyal animals, as well as being affectionate and intelligent! While they love their humans donkeys need at least one animal to befriend preferably another donkey or equine such as a mule, hinny or horse. Donkeys have been known to develop relationships with pigs (remember Jed and Penelopig, when Jed was rescued he refused to leave the shed until the hiding pig was rescued too!), but most of the rescued donkeys at the sanctuary have come with another equine. Donkeys will protect their companions from predators and other threats. Instead of running away in fear donkeys will kick, bray and bite a predator even going so far as to stomp on them. It is important when a donkey loses their companion that they are allowed to smell the body after that animal passes away, allowing closure. This can’t be stressed enough as donkeys can die of heartbreak after losing their companion if they don’t know what happens to them. In the photo below standing in pairs at Sara mini and Jack and Grace and Sandy. The big mammoth is Aggie who looks like she is supervising!


Donkey Shapes and Sizes

Posted by PrimRose on April 8, 2019 at 6:05 AM

Donkeys come in three sizes. On the left is Jack who is a standard. Beside Jack is Aggie who is a mammoth donkey. The little brown one is Sara miniature donkey. While there are no hard and fast rules regarding personality and size, the mammoths seem to be gentle giants.

Donkeys are also very loyal. Jack and Sara came to the sanctuary together and are always in close proximity to each other. Sara is a bit more social then Jack as some minis are, but Finegan (not in the photo) is a slightly larger mini and is not nearly as friendly. Aggie is quite sure that Finegan is her son and they are often close together too! Donkeys are truly fascinating to watch and have a complex social structure.

Come visit Thursdays and Sundays at 1 pm and watch these lovely animals. Or check the website for upcoming special events this spring and summer.



Carolling with the Donkeys

Posted by PrimRose on December 21, 2018 at 6:55 AM

This annual fundraising event held at the sanctuary was a huge success this year. People came to learn about the animals, sing carols, buy calendars and cards and eat delicious cookies all prepared by volunteers. The generosity this year was overwhelming and is used to care for all the wonderful animals at the farm. It warms my heart to hear there are so many who care about unwanted donkeys. Those of us who volunteer know how interesting, loyal and curious donkeys are: they are wonderful animals.

Thank you and Merry Christmas to all.