Farm hits back at rumours donkey ‘collapsed’ while giving kids rides amid heatwave

A family farm has hit back at rumours a donkey ‘collapsed’ while giving kids rides in the scorching heatwave.

Smithills Open Farm in Bolton claims the posts circulating on Facebook about their donkey Bouncer collapsing in the heat on Saturday were ‘trying to destroy our family business that we have spent so long building up’.

Co-owner of the farm, Carl Grimshaw, took to the farm’s Facebook page to offer the ‘truth’ of ‘what actually happened’ and would like customers to ‘understand this situation’, reports the Manchester Evening News.

The ‘incident’ at the farm, which was set up as a dairy farm in 1986 and opened to the public in 2001, happened on July 16, according to Carl, when Bouncer was in the middle of giving children rides.

Bouncer decided to ‘get down on his knees, lie down and roll’ and stayed on the floor – but despite he and other donkeys being ‘stubborn’, he stood up again after a minute, they said.

Carl says this was due to high levels of horse flies, not heat, as a donkey will be very used to high temperatures.

He said the farm prides itself on how well they look after their animals on the farm, and they are ‘upset’ at the thought of people thinking otherwise.

His Facebook post said: “We are being made aware of a post circulating on Facebook regarding a donkey ‘collapsing’ at our farm over the weekend.

“Here is the truth of what actually happened. On Saturday Bouncer was giving children rides at the farm when he decided to get down on his knees, lie down and roll and as people are aware donkeys can be very stubborn animals and he decided to stay there.

“After a minute he stood up. At this point we tied him back up, thoroughly checked him over, untacked him and returned him to the field where he spent the rest of the day.

“We think the reason for him deciding to roll is because of how bad the horse flies are at the moment. People who own horses and donkeys will understand this behaviour.

“The weather at the farm over the weekend was hot but nothing more than what the donkeys are used to and certainly not uncomfortable for our donkeys to work in.

“The donkey being on the floor is most certainly NOT because he collapsed and NOT because of the heat.

“Bouncer is a 5 year old working donkey at Smithills and has been at the farm with us since January this year. Bouncer is a fit and healthy donkey that loves living and working at the farm, as do all of our animals.

“One thing we pride ourselves on at the farm is how well we look after our animals and the animals welfare is certainly our priority. Our donkeys are vetted annually and everyone who visits the farm can hopefully understands this.

“We have kept donkeys for 22 years, we look after them dearly and right now our family and everyone that works for us are deeply upset by the thought of all of our customers and social media followers thinking otherwise.

“Hopefully our loyal customers will understand this situation and share the truth instead of listening to people trying to destroy our family business that we have spent so long building up.”

This post has gathered support from happy past and present customers. One commented: “It’s very easy for things to get shared and then destroy a business. I hope that you manage to douse the flames before the post goes viral.”

Another said: “Anybody in their right mind can clearly see how well looked after the animals are and I’m shocked somebody is trying to suggest otherwise, absolutely disgusting.”