Wellground Miniature Donkeys - About Us
Wellground Farm is owned by Rob and Les Rawlins and is the home of Wellground Miniature Donkeys.
The farm is located on the North West edge of Salisbury Plain in the South of England, nestled under the famous hillside monument of the Westbury White Horse.
Their story started with marked career changes. Rob was a Police Officer for 27 years with Wiltshire Police, he took early retirement in 2001. Les was in the print trade working for Redwood Books in Trowbridge. The book printing industry was struggling and she was made redundant at around the same time.
Rob and Les had bought a patch of land in the 1980s, not far from their house in Bratton. After much research the couple bought some alpacas. This was to form the basis of a thriving business.
With the idea of becoming smallholders farming alpacas, the couple looked at property in Cornwall, but then had a lightbulb moment: they would set up home on their land in Bratton. The couple obtained planning approval for an environmentally-friendly Canadian log cabin, shipped from Nova Scotia, Canada by sea and container lorries. It was erected by local carpenters and a Canadian lumber expert within a few weeks.
They started their own breeding herd, importing some of the finest alpaca genetics from around the world. “Our breeding programme was admired throughout Europe,” says Rob proudly. Magazine articles followed.
But the alpaca business was to come tumbling down. Having imported alpacas mainly from South Australia, they were in danger of in-breeding so Rob and Les bought a stud and three females from a farm in Devon. One of them immediately became ill. DEFRA confirmed it was Bovine Tuberculosis which had come from Devon. Alpacas are very susceptible to Bovine TB. Many alpacas and Llamas die in the UK every year from Bovine TB.
After DEFRA post-mortems were carried out on their alpacas, it was found that only one alpaca had proved positive for Bovine TB; the rest of the animals had been killed unnecessarily.
Most of the herd was lost. Their business was over. They “couldn’t even look at the remaining alpacas without getting very upset at their loss” and pretty soon they had sold them all.
After a couple of years, they regained their desire for keeping and breeding animals, Rob and Les found miniature donkeys and fell in love with them.
Rob and Les have found their destiny in breeding these beautiful animals. Having previously bred alpacas with a 'step away reflex' that don't willingly indulge humans, by contrast the miniature donkey is so loving and inquisitive, they adore human interaction and they are so trusting. Miniature Donkeys give back the love that is poured over them. These donkeys are not just physically beautiful, they have the most wonderful endearing characters and they are a joy to be with.
Now, Wellground Farm has a core herd of high quality breeding female miniature donkeys and a wonderful stallion imported from the USA. Click Here to learn about Our Miniature Donkeys and Click Here to see our Donkeys For Sale.