Starving donkeys saved from death by eating Mars bars

Rescued donkeys Smokey and Twiglet are tempted with a Mars bar by sanctuary volunteer Ross Clarke.
Rescued donkeys Smokey and Twiglet are tempted with a Mars bar by sanctuary volunteer Ross Clarke.

Two starving donkeys rescued from almost certain death have been saved - by eating Mars bars.

Smokey and Twiglet did not even have the strength to stand up when they were rescued by Radcliffe Donkey Sanctuary in Huttoft.

Volunteer Ross Clarke with Twiglet - so named because of how thin he was when he was rescued.

Volunteer Ross Clarke with Twiglet - so named because of how thin he was when he was rescued.

The emaciated pair were left to starve in the Yorkshire area - before staff at the sanctuary heard their plight and set out to help them.

But the two animals were so weak, they no longer wanted to eat.

“The donkeys hadn’t been fed or looked after in three months and were kept in a yard where they didn’t even have grass to eat,” said sanctuary owner Tracey Garton. “If we hadn’t received the call about them when we did, they would be dead now.”

The animals had pressure sores all over their bodies where they had been laid down for so long.

Volunteer Ross Clarke gives the donkeys a Mars bar treat

Volunteer Ross Clarke gives the donkeys a Mars bar treat

“We brought them back here and put them in a stable but we couldn’t get them to eat anything,” said Tracey. “They just had no interest in living anymore.”

Staff tried various things, leaving buckets of food in their stables overnight, but the pair just wouldn’t eat.

“Then I remembered years ago I had tempted a sick donkey to eat with a Mars bar so we tried that and it worked. It’s not ideal food to give donkeys, but it was better than nothing at that stage.”

Once the pair were interested in food again and gained some energy they were given proper feed.

Sanctuary volunteer Chelsie Healey with 'Beryl' - one of the resident chickens.

Sanctuary volunteer Chelsie Healey with 'Beryl' - one of the resident chickens.

They have now gained weight and are living a healthly life grazing among the sanctuary’s other residents - 49 donkeys, four zebra-cross donkeys, two mules, two horses, three ponies and various chickens and cats.

Tracey added: “They are doing really well - but still request a Mars bar every day. However, we only give them as an occasional treat now.”

The sanctuary is appealing for funds to help them pay for their rising vet bills after a number of the animals recently underwent costly veterinary treatment. They are also looking for donations of prizes and bottles of drink for their tombola.

If you can help, visit their website where you can make a donation via Paypal.