The Foster Farm Network

Our Foster Farm network allows us to care for more donkeys which results in more space being available at the sanctuary to respond to emergency cases.


If you would like to become a member of our Foster Farm Network, we invite you to explore our Foster Farm page. You’ll discover a wealth of information to help guide you in your decision, and if you decide that you’d like to become a foster farm, you can apply right away with our online (or downloadable/mailable) form. 


About the Foster Farm Network

Without Foster Farms, we wouldn’t be able to rescue nearly as many donkeys as we have since we began the Foster Farm Network in 1998. Currently we have almost 75 equid at our foster farms, and we’re delighted with the individual attention and care the animals receive at their homes.

Within the Foster Farm Network, rehabilitated donkeys (rehabilitated in terms of the effects of abuse/neglect they may have suffered in their previous lives) are placed usually in pairs on permanent loan, to suitable homes. The donkeys we choose to be placed at these foster farm homes are those whom we believe will benefit from the more individual love and attention that a foster farm can provide. Therefore, we’re diligent in the choice of home we make for the animals we place. As well, due to travel costs and the need for ongoing support, we generally only consider farms within a 250km radius of Guelph, Ontario.

Anyone who considers fostering one of these remarkable creatures must understand that taking care of donkeys is both a rewarding and very serious responsibility. It requires diligent and consistent care and feeding, which is why every member of our foster farm community signs an agreement which commits them to the Terms and Conditions of fostering DSC donkeys.

Also, understand that while at your farm, the donkeys will remain under the ownership of the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, and if, for any reason, they need to return to the Sanctuary’s Farm, we provide transportation free of charge. And finally, Foster Farms are expected to cover all of the costs of the donkeys’ care, including feed, vet visits, regular de-worming, vaccinations, yearly dental cleaning and farrier visits on a 6-8 schedule depending on the donkey’s individual needs. As a very general guide, the annual cost of care will be approximately $1500.00 for each donkey, but naturally, much depends on the donkey’s health, cost of hay, and so on.

Before making your final decision to apply, we advise you do the following:

  1. Discuss what you’re planning with your vet, and a farrier in your area to ensure you can engage their services. (As well, by contacting them you will have a better idea of the cost involved in caring for donkeys.)
  2. Read the Foster Farm FAQ
  3. Read and agree to the Terms and Conditions

If you are interested in our joining our Foster Farm Network please fill out our online application or you can download a printable version and either email or mail your application to the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.

DSC Mailing Address: 6981 Concession 4 Puslinch, ON N0B 2J0

Foster Farm Coordinator email address:

Foster Farm Must-Read Information

The Process

Thanks for your interest in the DSC Foster Farm Program. When donkeys are fostered to loving homes, space becomes available at the Sanctuary Farm for other abused, neglected or unwanted donkeys.

We invite you to familiarize yourself with the 10 Steps to Fostering Donkeys. This process has been developed in order to help us ensure a long happy relationship with you, the donkeys and The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.

To begin, we ask you to be patient, depending upon a number of factors, it can take over 2 months to interview applicants, inspect facilities, find just the right match, and, finally, to deliver the donkeys to the new foster farm. The timing can also depend on the season in which you apply to the foster farm network. The DSC prefers to not transport donkeys in the winter months due to unpredictable road conditions and weather.

  1. Complete the Foster Farm Application, or mail a completed Foster Farm Application to the Sanctuary Farm. 
  2. Review Information about the program including the FAQs and other helpful information on the site. 
  3. Qualified farms will be contacted to set up a phone interview. 
  4. Participate in the Qualifying Farm Inspection by DSC Barn Staff Member. 
  5. Make any modifications to your facilities that are necessary to accommodate the donkeys` needs and meet the DSC standards of care. 
  6. Send photos of completed modifications or participate in a follow-up inspection (if necessary). 
  7. Arrange delivery date. 
  8. The following items will be delivered with your donkey(s): DSC Donkey Care Manual, Medical Records, DSC Foster Farm Policies and Procedures, Blank Health Record Forms, Copies of Commitment Form, Medical Release and Photo Release Forms, Current DSC Foster Farm Newsletter, Emergency and Non-Emergency Form, Tips for Settling in Your Donkey, Halter, Weight Tape, Grooming Kit, Stethoscope, and Thermometer. 
  9. Sign Commitment Form, Medical Release Form and Photo Release Form upon delivery. 
  10. Receive your donkey(s) and communicate with DSC staff to ensure a smooth transition. 
Terms and Conditions

Field and Stable Management

There must be at least one acre of grazing per donkey, preferably within sight of the house. There should be a shelter (minimum 200 square feet for two donkeys) and a permanent source of water in the area. Feeding recommendations and weight control guidelines laid down by The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada (DSC) must be followed.

All poisonous plants including trees and plants in or around the paddock area must be removed. (E.g. oak, black walnut and butternut trees, yews, tansy ragwort, poison hemlock, field horsetail, buttercup, oleander, bracken fern, St. John’s- Wort, Nightshade).

All fencing and gates will be maintained to a high standard to ensure safety and security of donkey. Small animals that may be chased by donkeys should be kept out of their paddock.

The Foster Farm agrees to undertake the hard work of feeding, mucking out loafing areas, picking out donkey’s hooves regularly, and grooming, together with all aspects required to keep the donkey and the environment to the DSC standards.


Farrier and Veterinary Care

The donkey must have its hooves trimmed by a competent farrier. This is usually done every 8-10 weeks. De-worming must be done at least twice a year depending on circumstances and vaccinated annually against Rabies and Tetanus. If Equine Flu or West Nile Virus are found in your area, then these vaccinations should be administered as well upon recommendation of your veterinarian.

A veterinarian or farrier must be called if the donkey becomes ill in any way. Report non-routine treatment to the DSC’s Foster Farm Coordinator. Record all farrier and veterinary treatment on the “Donkey Health Record” and make records available at each inspection. Sign waiver giving veterinarian permission to release donkey’s medical records to the DSC.



All costs to care for the donkey are assumed by the owner of the Foster Farm. These will run into the hundreds of dollars per year. The average donkey costs approximately $1500/year/donkey. If costs associated with unforeseen or emergency veterinary care becomes excessive and the foster farm is in a position where it is difficult to cover theses cost. Please contact the DSC in an non-urgent manner (assuming this is not life threating) and the DSC with arrange with the foster farm a plan to help cover the costs of the emergency care.


Availability of Donkeys

The DSC cannot undertake to satisfy particular requirements with regard to the type of donkey wanted. Many of our donkeys are rescued and therefore their history and background may not be known. However, every endeavor will be made to match homes and donkeys. DSC donkeys will be placed as pets and will not be placed as guardians to flocks of sheep or herds of cattle or goats.


DSC donkeys may not be ridden

Also, DSC donkeys may not be used for commercial purposes or financial gain such as donkey rides, parties, etc.


No Breeding

No breeding is permitted with DSC donkeys. If a jennet is found to be in foal she will be returned to the DSC with her companion and the resulting foal will be the property of the DSC.



The DSC donkey can be placed on a Foster Farm to be a companion to a donkey already in residence. Otherwise, donkeys are placed in pairs, or occasionally more. In the event of one of the pair of donkeys dying, the DSC, in consultation with the Foster Farm owners, will reassess the situation. If the cause of the donkey’s death is unknown a post mortem may be performed and the results forwarded to the DSC. The decision and cost of the post mortem will be made and covered by the DSC.



The person responsible for the welfare of the donkey must be over 18 years old. This person must be a resident at the Foster Farm on a full time basis. The whole family should be agreeable to having donkeys. The Foster caregiver(s) agree to spend sufficient time with the donkey to help develop a bond and increase the sociability and well-being of the donkey.



A DSC barn staff member will inspect the Foster Farm and the donkey(s) on an annual basis. Whenever possible, appointments are made.



The DSC reserves the right to remove the donkey if it is found to be in ill health, mistreated, if any of the Terms and Conditions is broken or for any other reason.


Change of Circumstances

The DSC must be notified of all changes that may affect the donkey, e.g., addition or loss of other animals sharing the paddock/shelter, loss of facilities due to storm damage, etc. If the person responsible for the DSC donkey is going to be away for longer than a week, then the DSC should be notified and given the name of the substitute caretaker.

The DSC must be notified of plans to move house, whether you wish to keep the donkey or not. New premises will be inspected and passed by the DSC in reasonable time. Changes to phone numbers and email addresses should be reported immediately.


Insurance & Liability

The Foster Farm agrees to carry liability insurance during the time it fosters a Donkey Sanctuary of Canada donkey. The foster farm indemnifies the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada against all claims arising out of any claim relating to the donkey in its possession under the Donkey Sanctuary Foster Farm Program.



Donkeys placed in the DSC Foster Farm Program will remain the property of The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.


Foster Farm Application

If you are in agreement with the Terms and Conditions of the DSC Foster Farm Program, please complete the below Application Form. When you click ‘submit’ the form will be sent to our offices, where it will be reviewed and considered very carefully.

Please note: We are extremely busy with applications at this time. Please anticipate a longer than normal response time. We will reach out to you as soon as we can.

Thank you for applying to become a Foster Farm for The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada.

Any questions? Please email

*all fields are mandatory

Visit us

Come and visit the donkeys and mules in Sanctuary.

Whether you choose a visit on an Open Day or prefer to book a private, expert-guided tour, be prepared to be charmed by these gentle animals. You will learn how we care for the animals, discover the donkeys’ personalities, the dynamics of the different groupings and get all your questions about donkeys answered by our incredible staff and volunteers.


To achieve our mission, we rely on the generous support of individuals like you, who share our commitment to donkeys. Your donations could help rescue a donkey who is experiencing neglect, a mule who has never felt a gentle human hand, or teach equine caretakers the difference between a donkey and a horse so they can help donkeys thrive in different environments.

In appreciation for your support, donors receive a discount to our Open Days!
Please email
for more information.