Monday, April 28, 2014

Sweet Sweet Boy

I've been absent from the donkey blog, in part, because my mind has been obsessively focused on the big boy of the family, my horse Natural.

My sweet sweet boy, who's 30 years old, and has been with me for 24 of them, is feeling his age, and not doing well.  I'm constantly mentally reassessing what my options are and trying to second guess decisions.  I know, not good.  I just wrote to a friend that some small part of me irrationally believed he'd live forever.

Oh dear, I'm tearing up.  Must go.
Please send him your good thoughts.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Updating the Hay Aisle

A little over a week ago, I came home from work to find Rick finishing up the renovation to the hay aisle.  As you recall, the original design of pasture fencing secured with metal posts had worked well for a while, but was becoming slack and easier for donkeys to manipulate.

My husband is a retired carpenter, extraordinaire.  He built our house, the donkey shed, etc and can fix just about anything.  (well, I don't let him touch some things, like an SLR -- shhh).

This is the new partition and it is bee-u-ti-ful.

I couldn't be more pleased with the result.  Three miniature donkeys will have a hard time getting through that blockade.  You see we had caught Luigi in the act of standing on his hind legs to reach the hay over the old partition.  His next trick was to bend the fencing away from the back wall to get at the hay.  They really should be called three little monkeys!

I've mentioned I'm thinking about adding chickens to our homestead next year.  Came home with a book on coops from Tractor Supply and Rick just said, "oh".  He knows he'll be called into action, yet again.  :)

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Yesterday three miniature donkeys were allowed a walkabout.  This now must be done with card-carrying adult supervision because the little angels have decimated the lilac bushes.
Although this was taken a bit ago when we were still in full-snow mode, their recovery is still uncertain.  It appears (cross your fingers) the donks may have left some back branches unscathed.  I keep telling Rick I see buds.

Anyway, because I was outside raking and could keep an eye on the buggers, I let them out of the donkey yard.  We like to give them some freedom as they're not allowed in the pasture until grass is lush and full.

Here they're munching ivy growing on the side of the garage.  (the heron you see a little distance back is of the decorative kind...)

One half of Team Donkey (Dudley) needed to take a break in the shade of the garage.  If you look carefully you'll see the neighbor's horses taking a sun siesta in the background.

The other half of Team Donkey (Gunner) proudly displays the large hole he worked on next to the driveway.

I, on the other hand, worked diligently raking the mounds and mounds of leaves off the front yard and out of beds.  Until the wind kicked up later and... you get the picture.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Pellets vs Shavings

This weekend was time to continue the grand experiment, comparing shavings with pellets for bedding material.  Air temp was conducive to this oh-so-scientific research.

I had actually tried a small experiment without divulging to you dear readers.  It was semi-successful.  I didn't use enough pellets, and although they fluffed appropriately, they barely covered the shed area.
Anyway, I'm now starting with about 3/4 of a bag.  Off we go with water in tow too.  This greater quantity dictates a different method.

Donkeys had been on a walkabout and followed me down the driveway to the shed.  As I've mentioned before, single file is apparently Rule #1 in the donkey manual (to which I am not privvy).

Step 1 -- put about a gallon of water onto the pellets.

They start to expand immediately.
But, wait.  I busied myself for the 20 minutes or so I had read was necessary, came back and there are still many unsoftened pellets.  A little more water (had to steal it from the water trough).  Wait...  Still hard pellets.  More water.  Wait...
At this point I'm not happy at all with the results.  I return to the house, telling Rick its a failed experiment.  Shavings it is.
 The next day we have a eureka moment.  This is what its supposed to look like.  Reminds me of cornmeal, same consistency.  Easy clean-up, no waste.  Exactly what was advertised.

So, conclusion?  Next year I'd definitely consider using them in the early cold weather season and at the end. Michigan's cold temps won't allow for the in-between frigid months (water would freeze before softening pellets).
More importantly -- waiting more than 20 minutes for absorption is the key.