Staff at The Donkey Sanctuary in Devon have welcomed the patter of tiny hooves as a donkey they rescued last year gave birth to a foal last week.

The foal was soon finding his feet after being safely delivered at the sanctuary in Sidmouth early on the morning of 6 March.

The youngster, who is yet to be named, was born to rescued donkey Rosie, who along with four companions was discovered in poor conditions in Cornwall in April 2022.

The donkeys, who were huddled in knee-deep mud, were transported to The Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, where they received urgent veterinary attention.

The veterinary checks also confirmed that Rosie, and two of the other rescued donkeys, Bluebell and Maggie, were in foal.

Bluebell welcomed her foal Chief a few months after she arrived at the sanctuary’s New Arrivals Unit, with Maggie giving birth to Cubby Leo at the end of September.

“We couldn’t guess when Rosie was due because as we didn’t know when she was in season and had been covered, so we made sure to monitor her closely, checking any changes in her shape, weight and demeanour,” said Sara Blair-Salter, the sanctuary’s New Arrivals Manager.

As the time neared, Sara and her colleagues noticed that Rosie’s udders had begun to swell as milk was produced, and just before 7am last Monday, her foal was born.

“Rosie’s birth went very smoothly, and it was quite quick,” said Sara. “Within 15 minutes of his arrival, her foal was on his feet and exploring his surroundings.

“Rosie knew exactly what she was doing from the off – she was cleaning her foal and nudging him towards her udder and encouraging him to feed.”

Rosie’s foal has already ventured out into his field and has been running around confidently and exploring his new home in the Devon countryside.

Images by The Donkey Sanctuary

Check out our subscription offer

Find out what’s inside the latest issue of Your Horse

Get the latest issue