Travel Peterborough, ON: PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary (for mules, horses and pigs too)

primrose donkey sanctuary donkey1Daisies for Donkeys – what better way to fill your garden this spring.

If you’re anywhere near Peterborough or Cobourg in Ontario, Canada, next weekend, visit The Primrose Donkey Sanctuary, May 5 from 1 to 4 pm in Roseneath, Ontario and buy some potted daisies. The flowery fundraiser helps buy feed for more than 30 donkeys and mules who live at PrimRose – all with their own histories, stories and overwhelming charm.

What will you see on a visit to the PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary?

A few animals were born at the farm, like Oliver who was a surprise foal two weeks after an under-nourished Sally Ann with twisted overgrown hooves was rescued from auction. Both mom and son have spent their days together here for the last eight years. Oliver is also best friends with Robbie, rescued covered in burs and very thin in April 2012.

Many donkeys have bonded with a special friend or family member at PrimRose, such as Marble and Sheyore who’ve been together for 43 years and will spend their golden years grazing within the boundaries of this farm. Donkeys (if not over worked) can live up to 50 years and many here are pushing that number, including PrimRose at age 45 – the sanctuary namesake and first resident who started it all.

Is the PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary open to the public?

Sheila Burns is the founder, proprietor and driving force behind The PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary, a registered charity on her family residence. This animal sanctuary is open to the public Thursdays and Sundays, 1 to 4 pm or by appointment.

Burns started in 1994 with an empty barn that’s now filled with donkeys (both minis and massives), mules, and some horses too. All inter-mingle (different than the arrangement at The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada where we visited last year) and create special bonds the many enthusiastic volunteers can recite by heart. Tour day involves walking with a private guide through the barn and listening to detailed stories of each animal – all named including the approximately 20 barn cats, like Cleo who greet visitors on arrival and rides on shoulders.

Admittedly, Burns doesn’t say no to accepting large animals (there’s even two pot-bellied pigs in the barn) and if she can’t keep them, she finds a foster home. Not all animals have abusive backgrounds – Abe and Daniel came from a loving home no longer able to care for them.

Yet PrimRose is near capacity, indicative of the sad extent of safe equine sanctuary need that exists in this world. Stalls are a bit crowded and look that way on rainy days like the one I visited. But when animals aren’t seeking shelter from a pending storm, there’s enough paddocks to keep everyone safe and healthy, and acres of grazing pasture you can’t see from the house.

Cost of feeding a donkey is about $350 per year, according to Burns, and that doesn’t include hoof care, vaccinations, dewormer and vet care. Admission on visitor days is free, but donations can be exchanged for tax receipts.

Mark your calendars. Upcoming fundraising events sound fun:

tumblr_mijfiscW2Y1s4vgzro1_500May 5, 2019 – Daisies for Donkeys, 1 – 4pm.

June 8, 2019 – Yoga with Donkeys, 11am – noon.

June 23, 2019 – Desserts & Tea, 1 – 4pm.

August 25, 2019 – PrimRose Donkey’s Birthday, 1-4pm.

October 6, 2019 – World Animal Day, 1-4pm.

December 15, 2019 – Caroling with the Donkeys, 1-3pm.


One comment

  1. […] on your way home 30-minutes outside of Peterborough and meet the charming mules of Primrose Donkey Sanctuary. Checkout our visit on […]


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