Monday, August 20, 2018

Cobwebs Be Gone

This past weekend was designated "get the cobwebs out of the barn and coop" holiday.  A better time could not have been had.


Haul the shop vac out to the barn, trying to avoid the mucky mess at the doorway.  My memory says I didn't partake of this holiday last year because of my knee.  Two years for the spiders to spin out of control.


Was it necessary??


Then, time to move on to the coop.


Usually the girls like to help when I clean out the bedding, but they were not drawn to this vacuuming business. 

When I had finished and Rick came out to take a look, he foolishly said the barn was probably cleaner than the house.

Foolish indeed. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Release the Raptors!

Certain aspects of Facebook are a great asset in taking care of the donks and clucks.  I belong to one group devoted to the care and feeding of chickens.  Recently someone asked the group how they call their hens in from their walk-abouts.  Many many many people responded.  I actually sifted through most of them and found three to be gems.

We'll start with the G-rated ones first.

From Victoria:   "I sing skidamarinky dinky to mine and they come running and sing with me..."
Now, of course, you have to be old enough to recognize the song (I have no idea how to actually spell it), but this brought a smile and a chuckle. 

This comes from Ernest:  "Release the raptors!"
They truly are like little dinosaurs (and my Lily sounds like one) so this also was in my save list.

Now this one is rated PG so reader beware.

Amanda says:  "I go out the back door and yell...”where my bitches at?” They come running in hopes that I’ve brought them blueberries."

All right, my crude nature has been revealed.  I find this to be the funniest of the lot.


Monday, August 6, 2018

Watermelon for Everyone!

The experiment.

To be honest, I'm not certain this was truly the first watermelon introduction for both the donks and the chickens.  But I am certain it was the first time I had cut up a whole melon and offered chunks to all.
 
At first blush, the donks said no thanks.


Actually I continued to find if they were offered hay prior to the fruit, they chose hay each time.  But then they decided it was OK to gobble the watermelon after their main course.


The juice is running off of Spice's lips.  Pretty funny.


Luigi's tongue is saying, "yummm".


The girls check on remnants. 
Did those darn donkeys leave anything at all?? 


And then they discover they have their own delectable portion.



Official experiment conclusion:  Donkeys greedily gobble, rind and all.  Girls pick off every sweet morsel, but leave the rind.  Everyone votes thumbs up!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Slow But Sure Wins the Fly Spray Race

Slow but sure wins the race.
Indeed.
With donkeys.

Using fly spray on Sugar and Spice has been an interesting process, but halelujah, I think we've won the battle.

Wait, I think I'm mixing metaphors.  Oh well.  Be patient.

When fly season began, it seemed clear they had never been sprayed. If I so much as appeared with the bottle in my hand, they'd hightail it outta Dodge.  So the step process began:

1.  Entice everyone into the barn with a "treat" (actually a supplement but they gobble it up).
Spray Luigi and Gabs (who have never been a problem for the past 8 years).  Put a halter on S&S with leadline.  One person holds the donk while the other sprays.  Release the beasts.

After a couple of weeks -- 
2. Repeat Step 1, omitting the halter.  Spray Luigi and Gabs.  One person throws the leadline over Sugar/Spice holding securely and the other sprays.  Release the beasts.

After a few days --
3.  Repeat Step 2, omitting the leadline.  One person puts a hand on Sugar/Spice's back or neck to steady them while the other sprays.
It was critical to always spray Luigi and Gabariella first to show S&S they didn't die from the procedure and, in fact, didn't pay much attention.  Release the beasts.

After a few days --
4.  Repeat Step 3 omitting a person.  The procedure requires only one person .Spray everyone in the correct order.  Release the beasts.

After a few days --
Spray Luigi and Gabs in the donkey yard.  Next spray Sugar (just a wee bit of verbal reassurance needed.  Spray Spice with extra verbal reassurance and hand pressure.

Piece of cake!

The beasts (in order of cooperative attitude):

Luigi

Gabariella

Sugar

Spice

Proud as punch of my two little girls!

Friday, July 13, 2018

New Coop Addition, almost almost almost done!

We are ever so close to having the new coop fully integrated.  But not quite.

The last time you saw it, we had pieces lined up outside the donkey yard.  Well, just take a look now.


The "porch" has not been secured completely, but other than that, we're ready to roll.  Let me give you a tour of the construction process -- my husband needs a huge bow of recognition for all the hours spent integrating the two structures.




Yes, part of the package was a stained glass window - pretty swanky

Because the new roof is metal, Rick thought the heat build-up could be offset by insulation




Nesting boxes in and ready


Here, we're standing in the new coop looking through the old outside door to the old coop


Always loving a new project, Rick said, hmmm, what to do with the leftover roofing pieces (because we're cozied up to the old coop, the other half of the roof wasn't necessary)  And voila, a new shade area for the donks. 



Pretty darn nifty, don't you think.  Rick is one darn handy guy to have around.  Guess I need to thank him properly!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Sights from SASHA

My duties at SASHA have shifted a bit and that shift allows me to meet and greet most of the residents as I wash and fill water buckets and troughs.

I requested this change; I missed walking about and talking to everyone.

These are a few of the SASHA residents I've schmoozed with recently (not in order of preference - I don't want any of the highlighted to throw an accusing finger).


June Carter Cash conversing while I clean up on the other side of the fence


What could be better than a luxurious wallow when the temps rise


These three geese wander the pasture directing their loud comments to various recipients, although it's often difficult to tell just who those recipients are.


For example, I thought they were unhappy with this goat, but continued their comments after he had passed.


I know I've introduced you to Bhima, the Gyr Ox.  The Jersey 5 (saved from the veal industry) adore Bhima and I captured that adoration from one of the 5.  We're talking many many many kisses.




And I've saved Harley for last.  I would take this boy home in a sweet second.
He lost his Dane partner only recently and is slowly rebounding from his grief.  
Here he has found some innovative places to catch a nap on a warm summer day.




If you'd like to see more of the Farm or donate to the Midwest's largest farm animal sanctuary, visit

Monday, June 18, 2018

Tales of Expansion and Avoidance

As promised,  I present to you a peek at the chicken coop expansion, in disarray!


Disassembly was slow, tedious and perspiration provoking.  Can you see Rick through the yellow ladder.  He was the real hero of the day.

And, the following day, after toiling with many loads onto a trailer and bringing the whole sheebang back to the house - voila. 


Same pieces, but in a different location.  We are not re-assembled yet.  Hot, hot temps have precluded hard labor.  To be honest, I'm not chomping at the bit.  Perhaps we'll add babies this fall or even next spring.  Patience.

The next tale is of avoidance.  In a big way.
Little Sugar and Spice abhor fly spray, or fly repellent gel.  I can do just about anything to the two girls if not holding anything in my hands,  but that's the rub (no pun intended).  As soon as I approach either of them with a lead line or spray bottle, off they go. 

With the heat wave, come flies and more flies.  Eating up little donkey legs.  What to do!  I've owned horses for 28 years and donkeys for about nine years and never had a beast who feared getting sprayed.

Checked with a donkey acquaintance through the donkey rescue and she liked my suggestion of capture and reward.  So thats what Rick and I have been doing the past three days.  Entice everyone into the barn with grain, then dismiss Luigi and Gabby, leaving the two hellions.  On goes a halter, after a bit of persuasion and one of us holds a donk while the other sprays.  Lots of "what a good girl" followed by a treat.  Each day seems to be getting a tad better.  I'm thinking we may need to keep at it for a week.

In spite of her peskiness, I will tell you, that Sugar is the prettiest darn color.  Hiding behind her winter coat was a blonde beauty. 


Of course, a mere  photo doesn't do her justice.  Take my word.



Tale three is also one of avoidance.
I belong to the Michigan Greyhound Connection group on Facebook and have seen several posts of greyhounds joyfully stepping into a wading pool full of cooling water.  Out I scooted and purchased a large size (after finding some stores were sold out).

OK, see the greyhound joyfully stepping into the wading pool full of cooling water?  Yea, me either.
I tried the same trick on Faith today as the donks.  I stepped in, with a dog cookie in my hand and cajoled her to join me.  She stretched that neck out as far as she could to reach the cookie but would NOT step into the pool.  I'll give it another shot, but the pretty pool may be relegated to donkey feeding receptacle status. 

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."
Robert Burns

Wait, did he have donkeys and dogs?