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Life's a beach for donkey Winnie

PUBLISHED: 10:15 16 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:28 30 June 2010

DONKEYS working on Great Yarmouth beach could soon have an extra pair of hooves to ease their load following the arrival of foal Winnie.

But the six-month-old, born to mum Lily, had a dramatic start to life as her premature birth was a surprise to her owners Andy Parker and Hayley Bulgin, who run Parkers Donkey Rides.

DONKEYS working on Great Yarmouth beach could soon have an extra pair of hooves to ease their load following the arrival of foal Winnie.

But the six-month-old, born to mum Lily, had a dramatic start to life as her premature birth was a surprise to her owners Andy Parker and Hayley Bulgin, who run Parkers Donkey Rides.

Mrs Bulgin said she had returned from her work at the Phoenix Pool in Bradwell to discover Lily had already given birth to the foal at White Gate Farm, in Caister Road, Yarmouth where the 16 donkeys are kept.

Her initial fear was that young Winnie had not drunk any milk, essential during the baby's first hours of life.

This was compounded by her refusal to drink any milk through her mother's teat, leading to a dramatic few hours as Mrs Bulgin tried to find donkey milk for the foal and called the vets but they did not have any.

However, help finally came courtesy of Banhams farm on the Acle Straight, who advised her to apply honey to the mum's teat as Winnie would be attracted by the sweet taste.

Thankfully, this had the desired effect and Winnie is now progressing nicely, with the possibility she could join the donkeys working the beach close to Britannia Pier by the time she is four.

Mrs Bulgin said Lily, five, had already lost one baby early last year, a stillborn.

She said: “I thought it was going to be at least another month before Lily gave birth so when I came back from work and found her standing there with her baby I thought oh my God, but Winnie is absolutely fine now. There have been no new problems at all. She is a little fluff ball and loves attention.”

Although Parkers have 16 donkeys, they usually work on the beach on a shift basis with perhaps six or seven down by the pier during the summer months.


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