Thursday, February 23, 2017

Baby Steps

Most mornings of late, while the horses are in the upper pastures,
I open the gate to the front pasture for the donkeys.
There is not much nutrition in the pasture... which is good.
You might have noticed that my donkeys are fat...too fat!
They get a little hay, and then plenty of time to forage for not-much-of-anything.

Pasture time is more of a diversion for them...
something to occupy their time.

Calling them back in is a piece of cake.
I simply place their vitamin/mineral supplement in their feeders and place them on the fence.

As soon as they hear that...
they start walking back to the dry lot.

The interesting thing, though, is this:
if I sit outside the gate, they will come and visit with me and completely ignore their food.

You see, although these girls are food-motivated...
it is just to a point.
They are more affection-motivated than anything.

Given the same scenario with the horses...
and they will run right past me to the food...
every time.

Donkey affections run deep.
It takes them a good while to develop these affections.
The process progresses from curiosity and distrust...
 to curiosity and tentative trust...
to eventual trust...
to affection...
to deep, everlasting affection.
The price for this eventual progression is time and kindness.

Mini donkeys can live up to 50 years.
So, adopting a donkey is a lifetime commitment...
with a lifetime full of affection.
In my opinion, you reap the seeds you sow.

If you have been along on this journey with me since the beginning,
you might remember the difficulty that I had in getting the donkeys to lead.
They just were not having anything to do with that!
And that was that!

I suppose this is why donkeys get the reputation for being "stubborn".
I prefer to think of them as cautious.
Given time and patience and kindness...
I think you can convince a donkey to do anything for you...
when they are ready.

PS:  I don't claim to be an expert in animal behavior...
only an expert in my own animals' behaviors.
What I do know is this, though...
each creature has its own personality, likes and dislikes...
just like humans...
no two are alike!

Each and every one of my animals shares common emotions with humans...
just... some more than others.
Oh, the things they'd teach us if they could only talk!

Chloe:  "Can we try it again, please?  I think I'm ready now."


  1. Your video reminds me of trying to teach colts to lead. Your girls probably have it down by now. But on colts, you take a lounge line and wrap it around behind their rear. pull the line instead of on the head to drag them forward.

    I had no idea they would live 50 years. How old are your girls. They are precious.

  2. The JR....thanks I will give that a try with Chloe.

  3. I've always loved donkeys. There is one across our road that I visit. Love the photos today. :)

  4. JR is correct Bev! Also if you can get some help have the person in the front hold a carrot or something. But they are FAT,!!!!! Too fat and that's not healthy for them. If their neck crest brakes you can not fix it! They can found very easily. They need to be walked or maybe teach them to drive but they need movement big time or else less to eat! Once the fat is on it's hard to get off. As you can tell I am not a fan of fat donkeys or any fat animal for that matter. Same as in humans fat is not a good thing. 🙂

  5. What works for training horses does not work with donkeys. Bev is doing a great job. If you want more details on Bev's approach check out this video from the Donkey Sanctuary.

    I have a rescued mini donkey who will stop eating on a dime if snuggling is an option! They really do seem to get fat on air though! It is a constant struggle getting that under control especially in the winter when they will not leave their shelter (they aren't as waterproof as horses - or maybe they are smarter? ).

  6. hmmmm....donkeys and chow chows have a lot in common!

  7. I loved your video. And your pics are so cute. You can tell you love your girls very much. Hugs, LJ

  8. Looks like you got a lot of advice!! They are sweeties nevertheless...xxoo

  9. Oh, they are so sweet. I'm thinking of getting a couple as guard animals for our future chickens. Good to know they live so long. I'm not good at good-byes.
    Enjoy your weekend!

  10. Really sweet . . . I enjoyed seeing the nestling and cuddles!
    Patient teacher you are!


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