A foal born at the Donkey Sanctuary during the Covid-19 lockdown has been aptly named Lockie.
Lockie was born on Easter Monday, at sanctuary Hannigan's Farm in Liscarroll, Cork.
His mum, Honeybee, was part of a rescue and came into the charity’s care already in foal, so they were unable to tell exactly when she was due.
When Head of Veterinary Services, Laurence O’Sullivan examined her on April 7 he knew Honeybee would soon start producing milk and it would not be long until her foal arrived.
Head of Farms, Declan Sexton, kept a close eye on the expectant mother, ensuring she was comfortable.
That evening, when he went to put Honeybee into her barn for the night, he noticed a dark shape standing behind her. It was a foal.
The foal was still wet - he had been born within the last hour or two. He was bright and alert and even though he shyly stayed behind Honeybee, he moved about easily.
Vet Nurse, Therese Riordan, arrived to check the mare and foal to ensure they were both in good health. Happily, all was fine as Honeybee’s foal suckled enthusiastically from her.
Declan Sexton, the Donkey Sanctuary Ireland’s Head of Farms said: “After the foal’s birth, talk quickly turned to name suggestions. With the current movement restrictions around Covid-19, it was decided the handsome colt foal would be called Lockie.
“Since Easter Monday, Lockie has increased in confidence. He is full of energy and although he never strays far from Honeybee’s side, he skips and runs around their barn and yard. Lockie is thriving, he is full of beans and loves to bound around. He is still a little shy, but that is to be expected at this stage as he gets used to us being around. Honeybee is a great mother.
"She is very protective of her foal and shields him at all times. It is a joy to see the relationship of mare and foal grow as the days go by.”
Declan added: “The Donkey Sanctuary has a no breeding policy, but all foals born into our care are guaranteed a home for life, either here at our sanctuary or in one of our Guardian Homes.”
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Liscarroll Farm is currently closed to members of the public and office based staff. Donkey-facing staff continue work and provide the highest level of care and welfare to the charity’s resident donkeys and mules.
The Donkey Sanctuary is a global leader for equine welfare, research and veterinary care. The charity operates programmes worldwide for animals working in agriculture, industry and transportation.