About Us

Black and White photo of three donkeys

Elderly donkeys come first, second and third

Farmersfield Rest-home for Elderly Donkeys (FRED) is a small family run organisation dedicated to providing the best care, attention and love to old donkeys in the latter stages of their life. This attention to their needs is offered in a knowledgeable, experienced and donkey centred manner.

The founding trustees of FRED have immense understanding of the needs of donkeys and a proven track record in caring for them throughout their lives. Donkey welfare is at the heart of this organisation and in particular the welfare of elderly donkeys.

At Farmersfield Rest-home for Elderly Donkeys, old donkeys can live out their remaining years in the peaceful companionship of other elderly donkeys. Their physical and medical needs are fully met by the experienced vets, farrier and Equine Dental Technician we use on a regular basis. In the good weather the old donkeys can potter about in our paddocks with their particular donkey friends, at their own pace enjoying the sun on their backs and the natural grass and herbage pasture. The donkeys all have stabling in poor weather with clean, deep beds and first class nutrition. Our holistic approach supports the donkeys natural behaviours of browsing, grazing and socialising in small ability matched groups coupled with having quality time encounters with humans.

Treating donkeys as individuals is the bedrock of FRED.


Our Vision

For all elderly donkeys to have the assurance of a permanent home where their needs are anticipated and fully met. Where they have quality of life, through correct nutrition and physical care, appropriate mental stimulation; prompt veterinary treatment and the companionship of other donkeys at a similar stage in life. Finally, that the end of life be timeous and conducted with love and in dignity.


Our Mission Statement

  • To provide a permanent home for elderly donkeys where their quality of life will be enhanced, by attention to their individual needs.
  • To put the needs of elderly donkeys first.
  • To raise awareness of the needs of elderly donkeys and the work of FRED through talks, social media and awareness raising events.


Our Values

  • Individuality, inspiration and integrity theses are the values of Farmersfield Rest-home for Elderly Donkeys
  • Individuality speaks to always seeing the donkey as an individual with his or her own personality, worth and needs. Our role is to allow the donkeys individuality to be expressed and never to view the donkey as merely a herd animal. We get to know each individual donkey and understand their likes and dislikes, their mannerisms and their motivations and to tailor our care of them in light of their individuality. Thus we work in a holistic manner to transform the quality of life of elderly donkeys.
  • Inspiration in working with elderly donkeys comes with treating the donkeys as individuals. We always seek inspirational ways of enhancing the quality of life of our elderly donkeys. This can through providing toys they enjoy playing with and providing access to herb containers to allow sensory stimulation. We as trustees and volunteers with FRED also take inspiration from current research and the thoughts of others about managing the needs of the elderly donkey.
  • Integrity is vital to our work. At Farmersfield Rest-home for Elderly Donkeys we maintain our integrity in all our dealings with donkeys and people. We are clear about what we can offer and what we cannot offer. We provide clear information to those supporting us and to people seeking advice with their own elderly donkeys. Our motivation is altruistic in that the elderly donkeys come first, second and third.


Our Activities

Farmersfield Rest-home for Elderly Donkeys will remain a small family run organisation its day-to-day work being carried out entirely by volunteers.

Now that we have launched the organisation we would hope that owners who can no longer manage their old donkeys will contact us with a view to relinquishing them to the care of FRED.

Once an elderly donkey has been relinquished we would assess the donkey and make a decision on how best to travel the donkey to FRED. This would depend on the donkey’s ability to travel – and if this is in doubt, we would seek a local vet to provide a Fitness To Travel Certificate. If the donkey is not immediately fit to travel, we would provide support in situ until such times as the donkey is able to travel.

We would then collect the donkey and transport it to Farmersfield. Once here the donkey will be further assessed and be given any remedial treatment necessary such as farriery, dental work, blood tests, worm treatment and lice treatment. Our vet will advise on going medical treatments.

Thereafter the donkey will be integrated into a small group with other donkeys of a similar level of activity, temperament etc.

All donkeys at FRED are stabled at night on deep beds of either straw or shavings depending on need, with fresh water available and offered feed specifically designed for their needs. Donkeys with poor, or no dentition will, for example require to get their high fibre, low protein diet in a manner that they can access. This could be through specially prepared‘sloppy feed’or short chop. When the weather permits in the summer donkeys fit enough are kept out on pasture overnight with access to field shelters.

As a small organisation we are particularly well placed to understand each donkey as an individual and thus to tailor their management regime to fully meet their needs. Some old donkeys may have been kept on their own and may initially struggle with the company of other donkeys. We can manage this with gentle patience until they are fully integrated with company – or indeed continue to keep them on their own if that clearly is what the donkey wants.

We know that the vast majority of donkeys form close bonds with their companions, ideally other donkeys, but in the absence of donkey friends they often bond with whatever companions they have. This can be sheep, llamas, ponies, sometimes even poultry. Our position is to offer sanctuary to their companions as well when it is clearly in the interests of the elderly donkey to do so.

Our main concern is and will remain the welfare of the donkey. At Farmersfield Rest-home for Elderly Donkeys, donkeys will come first, always.

Our other activities consist of awareness raising of FRED and fund raising. Since there are no salary costs, every pound raised will go straight to the donkeys. Any monies raised will cover feed, bedding, veterinary costs, farriery costs, Equine Dental Technician costs and the maintenance of stables, field shelters, pasture land including fencing and gates and the cost of transportation of new donkeys into FRED.

We are located 20 minutes North West of Dumfries in South West Scotland.