Welcome Lucas, arrival of one week old foal

Lucas newly arrived at Island Farm donkey sanctuary

A donkey foal, or any young animal, being rejected by its mother is a sad and distressing situation. Although he had a awkward start in life, Lucas is now thriving in the care of staff, volunteers and his foster (donkey) mother at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary.

Last week the sanctuary received a phone call from a friend in Shropshire asking us to give a home to a week old foal. He explained that a friend of his in the area had bought a mare donkey not knowing she was in foal at the time. The pregnancy progressed well but when the foal was born he was rejected by the mare, so much so that she started attacking and kicking him. Lucas the foal was in real danger so was separated from his mother for his own safety. Although the owner wanted to keep the mare, he didn’t know how to cope with a new born foal that will need round the clock bottle feeding every few hours.

John and Linda from the sanctuary went to Shropshire to collect Lucas. Back at Island Farm he was introduced to Briony, a mare donkey who has a wonderful nature and is an excellent foster mother.

Lucas and Briony have bonded and, as you can see, she is very protective towards him. Her calming nature has meant that Lucas has settled in very well. He loves his bottle feeds!

Lucas arriving at IFDS

Lucas and Briony

Island Farm Donkeys at the New Forest Show

Above: Donkey in Hand Championship winner Avoncroft Phoebe shown by Linda Chilton

As many of our friends know, some of the donkeys from Island Farm compete at shows during the summer show season. Today John McLaren and Linda Chilton entered donkeys into some of the Donkey in Hand Classes at the the New Forest and Hampshire County Show. It was an early start with the donkey classes being the first event in the Ringwood Brewery West Ring, from 8 am.

Linda showed Avoncroft Pretty ‘n’ Pink who won the 2 & 3 year old class. She also showed Avoncroft Phoebe who won the Mare Class and went on to win the Donkey in Hand Championship (photo above). John McLaren showed Avoncroft the Commoner who was placed 2nd in the Stallion and Gelding class.

We are immensely proud of all the efforts and successes of our staff, volunteers and trustees who work so hard for the donkeys in our care. We’re also delighted to share news of some of our Championship successes. Huge congratulations to all and especially to Linda and Avoncroft Phoebe who stole the show today.

Here are a few more pictures from around the New Forest Show (Tues). The event continues over three days, 25th-27th July 2017.
Above: Donkey Driving in North Ring from 11.30am
Above: Colourful exhibits in the flower and produce tent
Above: It was a busy day all over the showground.

Goodbye Queen

It is with extreme sadness we have to announce that we had to say goodbye to our wonderful donkey Queen yesterday evening, the 12th July. She had a mini stroke on Tuesday followed by a much bigger one the following day which seriously affected her back legs and her ability to stand. We are all very sorry to lose her as she was one of the original donkeys from when the sanctuary wasn’t even a charity and had been with us for 25 years. She had been on the adoption scheme from the day it started in 1997 which had just ‘celebrated’ it’s 20th anniversary.

We will be writing personally to all her ‘adopters’ to let them know and to arrange the transfer of their adoption to another donkey if they wish to do but it will take a few days so please bear with us.

As you can imagine, the staff and volunteers at the sanctuary all feel the loss of Queen as she was such a part of the sanctuary and had been matriarch of the donkey family for so long.

God Bless you Queen.

Mr. Crusty 1991 – 2017

It is with extreme sadness that we have to announce that despite the successful removal of the growth on his leg Mr. Crusty did not recover from the anaesthetic and passed away peacefully. As many of you know this was Mr. Crusty’s third operation to remove a growth on his left front leg but despite a concerted effort by the veterinary surgeon, his nurse and the assisting sanctuary staff he did not regain consciousness.

He was such a gentle and kind soul and he will be in donkey heaven with all our other donkeys and Billie the goat. We are all sad beyond words and you can imagine that the mood at Island Farm is very sombre at this time. Mr Crusty lived at Island Farm for 23 years coming here when he was 3 years old so he is very much missed by us all. Monty, his friend, is being given special care at the moment and we will make sure he has another friend when he is ready. We did all we could for Mr Crusty and will miss him deeply.

Mr Crusty 1991 - 2017
Mr Crusty 1991 – 2017

Mr Crusty 2

Pollyanne wins an award!

Everyone at the Island Farm was delighted to learn that Pollyanne, the Sanctuary’s famous opera donkey, was recently awarded the Donkey Breed Society Western Region Special Donkey Cup.

The Donkey Breed Society (DBS) is a national organisation dedicated to improving knowledge and welfare of all donkeys. It aims to promote the care and management and to highlight the versatility of donkeys.

Claire Harper, Area Representative for the DBS, chose Pollyanne for all the public appearances she does, notably the many times she has appeared on stage at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London since 2006. Pollyanne has taken part in photoshoots, Church Services, visited schools, children’s hospices and care homes and has even been invited to weddings!

One of her most interesting experiences was when she was the subject of a magic trick for the BBC series ‘The Magicians’ which involved her disappearing and then reappearing hundreds of yards away.

Pollyanne with John McLaren receiving the trophy from Angela Scales
Pollyanne with John McLaren receiving the trophy from Angela Scales

The trophy was presented by Angela Scales who, with her husband Peter, work tirelessly for the DBS and helped to introduce donkey driving classes at the Island Farm Donkey Show in 2015.

Also in the photos is Tracy who has been Pollyanne’s understudy if ever she was not able to appear at an event.


Linda Chilton brings Tracy to join the presentation
Linda Chilton brings Tracy to join the presentation

 The Donkey Breed Society Western Region

The Special Donkey Cup

Don and Jean Grant from Worcester shared a love of animals and would never ignore any creature in need. They would offer the use of their stables and fields as a home for any donkeys and they loved to help care for them.

Don and Jean’s support of the Donkey Breed Society continued with them helping at Donkey Days, Sponsored Walks and were always spreading the word about donkeys, their welfare,  care and needs.

Following Don’s retirement as a Silversmith he and Jean kindly donated a trophy which was to be awarded to a donkey that has helped to promote the welfare and public awareness of donkeys in need.

Polly seems to take a great interest in her award
Pollyanne seems to take a great interest in her award


Christmas Shopping

When you go down to the shops today you might be in for a surprise, at least if you shop at certain supermarkets near Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary.

Some Iasland Farm donkeys outside Tesco's Abingdon store.
Some Island Farm donkeys outside Tesco’s Abingdon store.

We’re pleased to be able to bring a couple of donkeys to meet Christmas shoppers at super stores in South Oxfordshire. Here we are in Abingdon. Just a few days ago we visited the Tesco store in Didcot. All contributions including the proceeds from sales of Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary products help to keep the rescued donkeys safe, healthy and happy.

Here’s a huge thank-you to everyone who has helped us or just paused to say hello to the donkeys.

Donkeys at the National Pet Show, Birmingham

Some of our donkeys will be at the National Pet Show in Birmingham this weekend. The event takes place at the NEC Birmingham this weekend, 7-8 November 2015. There is a huge variety of animals here including dogs, cats, alpacas, rabbits and, of course, some very special donkeys.  There will be talks by experts in different types of animals, even crocodiles! Other attractions include rabbit show jumping and duck herding.

Island Farm Donkeys
Island Farm Donkeys

With well over 100 donkeys living at Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary at the moment, only a few representatives travel to any one event. This time our little group includes Monty, Chocolate (who is an adoption donkey, by the way), Charlie (you can also adopt Charlie) and Charlie ‘North’.

When they aren’t busy eating the donkeys take an interest in what is going on.

"What's going on over there?"
“What’s happening over there? … Looks interesting …”

IFDS Donkeys at the Royal Berkshire Show

A big busy county show is a great day out even if you’re not competing.

Did you know that some of our donkeys have won awards at shows up and down the country ?

Monty and Mr Crusty at the Royal Berkshire Show
Monty and Mr Crusty at the Royal Berkshire Show

This weekend, 19th-20th September, some of the Island Farm donkeys (and people) are at the Royal Berkshire Show at Newbury Showground. Show opening times are 8am to 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday. If you’re in the area please do come along to our stand where you can meet donkeys Monty and Mr Crusty. We’ll also be glad to talk about our work at the sanctuary and accept any donations – large or small. We are looking forward to meeting new and existing supporters during the weekend.

Now that we’ve had time to settle in here are a few photos of Monty and Mr. Crusty making themselves ‘at home’ here.at-home-at-the-RoyalBerksShow2015

Remembering those commemorated on our Memorial Wall

At 7.30pm on Thursday 10th September a short memorial service was held for all commemorated on our Memorial Walls.

The service, which was led by Rev Janice Chilton was much appreciated by everyone. There will be another service in September in 2016. We will be making this remembrance an annual event.

Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary Memorial Wall Service, September 2015
Poster invitation to the short Memorial Service here on Thurs. 10th Sept 2015

Visitors to Island Farm Donkey Sanctuary (IFDS) will be familiar with the memorial wall opposite the barn on the left-hand side when walking towards the yard. The metal plaques commemorate much-loved friends, including pets and other animals, who have passed from physical life but live on in the affections of those who knew them. Friends and supporters of the sanctuary have had these plaques added to the wall both as a lasting tribute to their loved ones and to support the donkeys via payment for inclusion here. In addition to maintaining the memorial wall itself, IFDS holds regular short services that take place about once a year.

If you are interested in purchasing a plaque to commemorate a friend, relative or pet (minimum donation £100) you can download an application form or e-mail us at mail@donkeyrescue.org.uk with details of your request. Alternatively, and if you have any further questions about this, you can call the sanctuary on 01491 833938.