A rare Poitou donkey taken in by equine charity Redwings last year has been put down after lameness issues could not be resolved.

Millie arrived at the charity’s Redwings Oxhill centre in Warwickshire after a volunteer was no longer able to care for her. She was the first of the rare Poitou breed to have been taken in by Redwings.

She is survived by her foal Arya, and her friend Adel, a part-bred Poitou who also came to Redwings with a foal.

“Millie has had ongoing lameness issues since she arrived and over the last few months our vet team at Redwings HQ have been working tirelessly to try and make her comfortable,” said a spokesman for the charity.

“We gave her different kinds of supportive shoes and varied her medication to try and find the best solution for her.”

The breed is prone to conformation issues and it had become clear to staff at Redwings, Millie’s problems could not be rectified.

Her condition worsened last weekend reaching the point where she was not comfortable standing, and decision was made to put her down on Monday (26 January).

Staff at Redwings said they “were devastated” to lose Millie and are keeping a close eye on Arya and Adel.

The Poitou faced extinction in the 1970s with only 77 left in the world but numbers are now up to 400 following a campaign to save them.

Millie was part of a “rare breed bonanza” at Redwings last year, with a pair of Suffolk heavy horses also taken in by at the same time as the Poitou family group.

The 16hh geldings, Wilf and Stanley had been kept in a tiny barn in Norfolk for six years with no handling.

They have now gone to a specialist training yard and later this year the charity hopes they will be on show at one of their visitor centres.

For more information visit: www.redwings.org.uk

  • mark2be

    Actually, in 1977, there were only 44 pure Baudet du Poitou donkeys in the world. The French government and a small group of dedicated breeders embarked on a programme to save the breed from extinction. There are now approximately 600+ purebred Poitous registered with the Haras Nationaux in France.

    I’m not sure which conFORmation issues caused Millie’s lameness, but, of utmost importance is the need to keep their feet dry during the worst of the UK weather. The breed originates on the west coast of France in the Charente-Maritime. There are salt marshes throughout the area, quite unlike the muddy ground found in the UK.

  • Jenny Eatwell

    Typo alert! “Conformation” issues, not “confirmation” issues. Feel free to delete this once you’ve corrected the text. 🙂