Monday, June 21, 2010

Babysitting Little Donkeys

We've been letting the donkeys out of gated areas to nibble driveway grass for about  two months now.  For the first time last night I was able to corral everyone in by myself.  Up to now it's been a two-person job.  Here's the routine:
1.  As I only have two halters, I pick the two donkeys I think will be the most adept at the getaway and halter them.  Just when I thought Luigi was the most compliant and would willingly follow with just a lead line thrown over him, he decided he'd show me his cowboy routine and bucked away.  (I was so startled I dropped the darn lead.)   OK, that theory down the drain.  Over time, we observed Gabriella generally followed her mom with just a bit of urging.  That still seems to work.
2.  Spend about 15-20 minutes cleaning up the yard and shed of unmentionables.
3.  Sit down and read for the remaining 45 minutes, OR, mow the grass along the driveway keeping between the donkeys and an escape route to the road.  (Don't worry readers -- we have a very long driveway so they'd have to paddle those little feet quite a ways to be in any danger.)
4.  Usually at this point, I would call Rick back at the house and he would come to help corner our three victims.
5.  Find where their wanderings have taken them, grab the lead line (thrown over their back) and try to cajole them back to the yard.  Cookies help.  Used to be if I walked toward them, they'd skeedaddle.  Amazingly enough, now they seem know their hour is up and are more agreeable.

Last night Fran was first back in.  Gabby said she'd follow mom in with only a little bit of pushing required, and Luigi decided the ole cookie ploy was good enough to persuade him.  When I got back to the house without needing an assist from Rick, it was a red letter day.