Little Tinkerbell, an energetic skewbald foal, has found an unlikely surrogate mother in a sweet Shetland mare named Poppy.
Poppy’s own foal was stillborn, and although she was still grieving for her loss, she lovingly took on the task of caring for Tinkerbell when she was rejected by her birth mom.
Tikki Adorian, of Fremington, Devon in the UK is Tinkerbell’s owner. She noticed that the foal was attempting to nurse from another mare. She rounded up the foal’s mother, but the horse would not allow Tinkerbell to feed.
“She was vile to her foal and we had a dreadful time even milking her, because she kept kicking us. We were worried the foal wouldn’t have a chance but we couldn’t give up because we wanted the baby to have as much colostrum as possible,” Adorian told Devon Live. “The foal had amazing confidence and was really strong. We kept trying to get the mare trustworthy enough to leave them together but it didn’t work.”
Thankfully, Adorian was able to locate a surrogate mother for Tinkerbell within a few days. Poppy lives in nearby Cornwall and is owned by Tracey Burgess. Since she had just given birth to her own stillborn foal, she was physically able to care for Tinkerbell, but whether or not she could prepare herself emotionally to take on another mare’s foal remained to be seen.
“She could see the skewbald filly was not hers! The look on her face when we arrived told us she was still grieving for her own baby, she looked so miserable and had been like that for days.”
But then Poppy seemed to realize that little Tinkerbell needed her, and that maybe she could still become a mother after all.
“The delight when she realized she could actually be a mum was very special, her whole face was transformed. I have to thank Tracey and her family who had rallied round to get suitable shelter ready for their guest.”
Burgess watched over the pair carefully to ensure that Poppy would fully accept the baby and continue to produce enough milk to sustain her.
“After an anxious night holding Poppy at feed time and keeping them next door to one another to ensure no damage to baby when it drank, they were soon turned out and I left them happily grazing in the sunshine with Tracey keeping a watchful eye. In no time Tinkerbell was allowed to suckle and even got a nudge to encourage her. Bliss!”
We are so delighted that this little experiment worked out for everyone! Sweet little Tinkerbell has the supportive mom she deserves, and Poppy is able to recover from the loss of her own foal by adopting another in need!
H/T to DevonLive.com
Featured Image via Facebook/TraceyBurgess