A quickthinking groom helped a donkey safely deliver her foal after one of its front legs became stuck during birth.

The mare, Abbie, went into labour last Tuesday evening (8 June) at The Donkey Sanctuary and when one of the charity’s grooms, Lisa Coles, went to check on her, she quickly realised that one of the foal’s front legs was stuck.

Groom Lisa Coles helped deliver Abbie’s foal. Photo: The Donkey Sanctuary

“Lisa could see that Abbie was struggling and knew that she had to do something fast to help her,” said a statement. “Lisa gently held the foal and was able to free its leg, helping Abbie to deliver her baby safely.”

Neil Colesfarm manager at The Donkey Sanctuary, said: “Lisa did brilliantly and helped Abbie deliver the foal safely. She acted quickly when time was of the essence. Without her actions, Abbie could have got into real difficulty.” 

After being checked over by one of The Donkey Sanctuary’s vets, both donkeys were given a clean bill of health.

The pair were out in the sunshine the following day. Watch the the foal, who is yet to be named, explore her new surroundings in the video below. 

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Abbie was in foal when she was relinquished into the care of The Donkey Sanctuary in September 2020. She was discovered running free with her previous foal, Timmy, alongside the busy A47 near Norwich. 

Only a thin hedge separated the pair from fast-moving traffic and they could easily have found themselves in a very dangerous situation and posed a real risk to drivers if they’d escaped onto the busy dual carriageway. 

After arriving at The Donkey Sanctuary, veterinary checks revealed that Abbie was expecting a foal. The charity has no breeding policy. Foals born at the sanctuary are born to mares that have arrived already in foal.  

When Abbie’s foal is old enough, she will be introduced to other donkeys of a similar age,” said the statement. “It is hoped that one day she will be found a new home on the charity’s Rehoming Scheme with her own Donkey Guardian.”