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A delightful surprise has left an Irish farmer inundated with visitors.

Twin donkey fillies, Ella and Bella, were born at Philip Timoney’s Drumhole base on 29 May.

He had no idea their dam, Nellie, was carrying two foals until he spotted the pair in the field.

“We couldn’t believe it,” he said. “There were other donkeys in the field and we thought may be it was one of theirs, but we saw the two of them following the one mare so we realised they were twins.

“We’ve never seen this before, they’re very rare.”

Mr Timoney, who has been breeding donkeys for 45 years, said the rare pair were thriving and attracting lots of attention.

“They’re doing great,” he told H&H.They are looking really good, very cute wee things and are very inquisitive.

“They’ve attracted some serious attention and everyone is coming to see them.

“We’ve had lots of young twin children coming from all over to have their photos taken with them.”

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Mr Timoney said the birth of the foals was “as good as winning the lotto” and that Nellie was coping well with the new additions.

“She’s a lovely big donkey and is taking care of her filly foals,” he said.

“She’s very protective of them and is a very good mother.”

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

This week’s pony special, out 7 June, features Britain’s naughtiest ponies and how to find the dream smaller equine. We also look at the pros and cons of equine treadmills, talk to showing producer Aimee Devane and have reports from the H&H Festival of Eventing, Tattersalls Horse Trials, racing at Epsom and much more