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Petting zoo at fairgrounds celebrates birth of donkey

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

LAWRENCEVILLE -- At just three days old, Ellie Mae is as friendly as can be, bounding up to greet 5-year-old Anastasia Mathis and her 3-year-old sister Brianna, who stood outside her pen Monday.

The small, fluffy, brown and white donkey with large ears and long legs was born sometime between 2 and 3 p.m. Friday at the fairgrounds to 10-year-old miniature donkey Rae Rae, one of several animals that are part of the petting zoo at this year's Gwinnett County Fair.

Since the gestation period for donkeys can range from 11 to 14 months and varies from donkey to donkey, Ellie Mae's birth, which occurred during the lone hour in the day that workers are away from the petting zoo area, was a wonderful surprise.

"She is very sociable and sweet and is loving the attention, and mom is just as sweet," said Pam Schingoethe, county agent with the Gwinnett 4-H program. "She's the perfect baby we could have had. The vet's been out to check her and said she looked great."

Rae Rae and Ellie Mae belong to Kelly Parham, who works in the office at the fairgrounds.