Levi & Willow

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    Name: Levi

    Type: Miniature Donkey

    Color: Spotted

    Markings: Donkey Cross

    Sex: Gelding

    Birthday: 07/20/2017



    Name: Willow

    Type: Miniature Donkey

    Color: Spotted

    Markings: Donkey Cross

    Sex: Mare

    Birthday: 1/1/2017


Meet our little surprises! Levi and Willow decided on their own to join the Red Bell Run herd. During their first year at our North Carolina facility, we had a small herd of jennies and foals that lived in our “nursery”. They had a nice large shelter and plenty of paddocks and dry lots to raise their babies. All jennies were accounted for with foals at their sides, and were confirmed not in foal by our vets. The donkey nursery backed up to a neighbor’s pasture, so it was perfect for our little ones and their moms! One morning, Red Bell Run’s Founder, Mary Adams, received a frantic call from a barn staff member…”There are two new baby donkeys in our nursery herd!” Mary knew that was impossible and raced to the nursery where sure enough, there were two adorable little spotted donkeys in the center of the herd, happily munching away. Where in the world had they come from? They weren’t newborns, but they were clearly very young to be away from their moms!

We called Animal Control because surely someone was frantically looking for these two bundles of cuteness! People who know donkeys will tell you that there is absolutely nothing cuter than a baby donkey, so we just knew there was a heartbroken owner somewhere. Our Animal Control Officer came over and informed us that she’d look for the owner, but if no one claimed them, in three days Red Bell Run would be considered the owner. Meanwhile, we made arrangements with our vet to take the two little donkeys to the vet clinic to be thoroughly checked out. It turns out that the little ones, a jenny and a little gelding (who had been castrated way too young) were very wormy and would need some attentive care to thrive.

Our vet concurred that they really were too young to be weaned. We brought them back and put them in one of our stalls in the Main Barn to wait for their owner to claim them. So, how in the world did this happen and how did they find their way to our herd? Well, it turns out that our sweet neighbor had purchased two donkeys, supposedly standard size “guard” donkeys for their cows, and the seller had simply dropped them off while she wasn’t there, after telling her that they would be fine with pasture and water. These two tiny miniature donkeys were in no condition to be dropped off in a huge pasture and totally unsuitable to guard anything! Donkeys do NOT guard livestock; they are territorial which is a completely different mindset – and one of the reasons we have a large donkey herd of failed “Guard Donkeys” at Red Bell Run. They guard their territory and oftentimes newborn calves, goats, etc., are considered to be invaders and the donkeys will often attack them. This isn’t the donkey’s fault. This myth of donkeys guarding livestock persists, however, and is not a good situation for the donkeys or the livestock they’re supposed to be guarding.

The donkey’s owner, contacted through Animal Control, literally flew back from her home in Florida and was appalled that these tiny donkeys had been just left in her pasture. She told us they were named Levi and Willow. Somehow, they found their way across an eighty-acre pasture, and climbed through barb wire and wood fences to the safety of our herd! Because the owner doesn’t live here full-time and they were certainly too young to be thrown out to fend for themselves, Levi and Willow became beloved members of our “nursery herd.” Today they live at our HeeHaw Hideaway Barn as part of our “Spotties” group and entertain us all with their antics.



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