A tiny colt is being hailed at the smallest miniature foal ever to be born at Britain’s Donkey’s Sanctuary – and he is almost certainly in the running as the cutest.
The fluffy brown and white colt, who has yet to be named, weighs just 14 kilograms and stands at human knee height.
He may just be a few days old, but he is already racing around the paddock keeping his proud mum busy.
“As his mum is a miniature donkey he’s one of the smallest foals we’ve ever had – about the size of a dog,” says vet Elena Barrio, who has been with the charity for nine years.
“To give you an idea, he’s about 14kg as opposed to about 50kg for an average thoroughbred horse foal.
“He’s such a beauty and so delicate – small but perfectly formed. Perfectly healthy. No wonder his mum is so proud of him!”
He is the 14th foal to be born at the charity’s sanctuary this year as it experiences a baby boom.
The number of foals born this year has already outstripped the whole of last year, and during April there were three born in just one week. This brings this year’s births to more than double the figure for 2010, when just six were born.
This baby boom is the result of the high number of rescued mares being taken in by the charity, particularly in cases of abandonment from Northern Ireland.
The new foal’s mother, Summer, aged 3, was relinquished to the charity in June this year and was already pregnant.
The Donkey Sanctuary has a no-breeding policy, so any foals born are born to mares who were already in foal when they were taken in or rescued.