A couple months ago, we were suddenly aware of a new presence in the pasture across the street. A friend of the land owner wanted a place to put his donkey, so they agreed to put it there. It made loud braying sounds day and night. I mean REALLY LOUD, like a foghorn. After awhile, you get somewhat accustomed to it.
I got to seeing the donkey, and wondering about it. So I went over to the fence when it was near. As far as I know, these animals are rounded up by the BLM and sent out for adoption. They do the same with wild mustamgs, but I know for certain that the mustangs get training before finding a home. I’m not so sure about the donkeys. Here’s a strong animal, who could break my fingers if he bit the, so I had to be careful.
Well talk about friendly. He let me pet him, and seemed to like it. I noticed that his hooves were grown way out, which is not good, they need to be trimmed. I assume he has never been brushed, or at least, not lately. I wanted to work with him, but needed to obtain permission. So I asked the land owner, who said he would ask the donkey owner. I’ve been very busy lately, and have missed the land owner the few times I tried to recontact him. Finally I talked to him as he was driving his tractor down the street, and he said that it would be OK.
This moring I saw the donkey near the barn, and called him over. I got a few pieces of whole grain bread, and went inside the pasture where he was. He liked the bread, I figure a few pieces wouldn’t collick him. NOTE: learn about “5 Hearts” before feeding any equine type animal, or even being around them One bag of sweet feed left carelessly open near horses can ruin them for life. Seriously. “5Hearts” is the first thing you need to learn. I cautiously touched him, running my hands along his back and sides. I even ran a hand down his leg, and was able to pick up the lower part of each front leg. Once he gets confortable with that, I might try to trim the front hooves.
I’ve done this before, but it was on a horse I knew was tame. This, like other projects involving animals, will require patience, but I think it will go well. The land owner said that a farrier was ‘supposed to’ come by for the hooves, but those guys are busy, and getting them to stop in for one semi wild little animal can be difficult. He also said another friend wanted to stud him, (he has all his original equipment). That’s another reason I’m surpried at how friendly he is. Maybe donkeys are just different than horses.
After I petted him, I got a few horse grooming brushes. He let me brush him all over, although I left most of the back legs alone. He even let me brush his course little tangled tail hairs. Such a good boy. When I was done, he followed me to the gate, as though he wanted more. Rest assured little buddy, there will be more. Someone as busy as me needs to be carefull about taking on a new project, but there’s a practical angle: He’s a small draft animal. There’s a spring in a valley near our house, if things get bad, I can hitch my buddy to a small cart, and have him bring buckets of water up to the house.
Whatever happens, it was great start to this Saturday.