Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Million Dollar Donkey

Ben and I went out for a little drive this weekend.  It was later in the evening than it should have been because I was fussing around with a new harness for him.  It's actually his old harness and it fits him very well, however, it is designed to be used in a team rather than with a single donkey.  It needs some configuring to make it work single.

I futzed around with it for a good 40 min. while Ben stood patiently, stoically resigned to putting up with my fumbling, even when I accidentally whacked him in the nose with a cart shaft.  I finally decided that I need a few more pieces to make it work and it was getting late, so I gave up and put the other harness on so we could go for a drive.

Down the road and around the corner from me is a seasonal road that leads down a steep hill to some state land.  Just as we were approaching this little road, I began to hear the rumble of many loud ATV's coming up the hill.  They aren't supposed to be on the roads, but that never stops them and there a several big groups of these things that go flying past my house all too frequently.  They're sort of like this thing only with wire cages, no mufflers, beer coolers strapped to the back and a lot of crazy people with no helmets.


The road is narrow and there was no place for Ben and I to go so we just had to stop and wait for the hoard to descend upon us.  I was a bit concerned, but I told Ben that it was all harmless and not to worry.  Sweet soul that he is, he believed me and stood quiet and unconcerned.

On Sunday, Ben took some visitors for a little drive as well, doing his part to create more donkey enthusiasts.  The smiles say it all...

The big guy earned his Million Dollar Donkey status this weekend.




Saturday, July 22, 2017

Proper Motivation

Do you need a little encouragement to get out and exercise? Perhaps you struggle with finding the right motivation?

Well, Ben is here to generously share with you what works for him.....

Summer Days









Tuesday, July 18, 2017

All Together Now

There is a new configuration around the dinner bale these days...

It's taken a while, but I would say that Ben's integration is complete.

Those ears generally need a whole separate space of their own, but they make it work.

The hay is all the same and someone could got to the other net, but you know what they say....

....The family that eats together stays together.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Prince Here, a Prince There...

When Ben first came here, he never slept in the barn.  The others all do and I could see that Ben thought they were crazy for it.  He would sleep just outside the barn on the hard packed gravel, on the snow, the mud....he was not fussy.  He was a big, tough, man and only wimps slept in barns.

Then, in January, he got sick with the latest tick borne plague and he spent a lot of time lying down and even spent some time lying in the barn.


A couple of months after that, I was putting fresh bedding down and, like most equines, he decided it looked like it would be fun to roll in.  Down he went and he did an excellent job of spreading the bedding around.  Finally, he was lying still and I could just about see the little thought bubble form over his head,

"Ohhhh, so THIS is what bedding is for."

Much to Emma and Ramsey's dismay, he has taken to sleeping in the middle of the barn where the bedding is deepest.  No more snow or gravel for Mr. Benjamin, no sireee.  He has seen the light and decided that he too would like to be a Prince.  Big, tough, men get the best spot in the barn and soft, cozy beds aren't just for little brown donkeys anymore.

One can kind of understand why Ramsey thinks of Ben as an interloper.  Monarchs have never been known for sharing. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Prince and the Pea

Some horses and donkeys are prone to getting bed sores - nasty little sores on their hocks, knees, elbows, etc. that can lead to nasty joint infections.  Most equines can lay down on all sorts of terrain and never get a sore.  Maybe 1 in 500 do.  It's a genetic thing.

If you happen to have a critter who gets bed sores, there is only one way to prevent them or get rid of them: you have to pad the bony parts.  If the animal only gets sores on the hocks, which is most common, you can use special padded wraps or you can provide deep bedding.  One way or another, the only solution to bed sores is a lot of padding.

If you have a creature like Prince Ramsey, who gets bed sores on his hocks, knees, elbows, stifles, hips AND above his eyes, the only option is lots and lots of deep bedding.

Ramsey got his first bed sores on his knees about an hour after he was born and we have battled them ever since.  I had hoped that he would eventually toughen up and grow out of them, but no such luck.  His Majesty is why there is always bedding my barn.

The best bedding for bed sores is a deep layer of hay and/or straw.  There is only one problem with this for my herd, who are all on perpetual diets - they have taken to eating all the bedding.  So, I have been experimenting with other options.

I have tried pelleted bedding that I soak first.  The pellets break down into sawdust when soaked in water....

That is three bags of pellets and several buckets of water.  The chicken is purely gratuitous, she was not helpful to this endeavor.

The pellets work well while they are fresh, but they dry out quickly and become extremely dusty.  They still work OK if they are very, very deep, but tend to keep breaking down into finer and finer particles and if they get thin, they actually make the sores worse.  They act like sandpaper unless you can keep them 4-6 inches deep.  In an open barn like mine, that is very difficult.  I tried putting some old hay in there as well and you can see how well that worked...

I have just started adding shavings on top of the pellets and that is working better for now.  The combination packs in better than either alone, but I can see where they too will be very dusty and need frequent refills.  I'd rather not have to use any bedding in the barn because of all the dust, but I can't have Prince Ramsey being a bloody mess.

I am still looking for something that works as well as a nice bed of straw, that is not dusty, won't cause bankruptcy and won't get eaten.  It is a work in progress.  We wouldn't want the Prince to be feeling all those peas after all. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Growing Up is Overrated

"Ahhh....This being an adult thing is so exhausting."

"Always having to be on guard and responsible all the time....it's so overrated.  Why didn't anyone ever tell me how much work it is?"

"I think I'm gonna just skip it for a while." 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Legal Adult

"Hi Bloggy peoples!  It's ME, Ramsey, the BIRTHDAY boy!"

"It seems like its been forever since I got to write a blog post.  Seeing as how it's my BIRTHDAY, Ma finally let me at the computer again.  You'd think she wouldn't be so stingy with it considering what a lousy job she's been doing lately, but at least I am here now."

"I know you all probably have big celebrations planned to celebrate my BIRTHDAY and I wouldn't want you to miss me during all your fireworks and parties."

"Ma keeps trying to tell me that everyone is celebrating Independence Day or Canada Day or whatever, but I know that can't be true.  She is just being mean because she doesn't like fireworks and she never gets any for HER birthday.  They are just fine by me though, I'm not like that wimpy Border Collie!  Bring em on I say!  

"This is an exciting BIRTHDAY too because I am FIVE years old.  Can you believe that?"

"Ma says turning 5 is like turning 21 and I am a legal adult now.  I'm not sure how turning 5 is the same as 21, but that's human logic for ya.  It has something to do with the drinking age, which makes NO sense at all.  I haven't been allowed to drink in ages...sigh...I still miss it....

"Since I am a legal adult now, I think that the big grey donkey should admit that I am the boss, but he doesn't seem to notice yet.  Maybe all the fireworks will show him the error of his ways." 

"Anyway, I hope you all have a good time celebrating my BIRTHDAY and, if you must, have fun celebrating that other holiday as well.  


Happy Birthday Ramsey!




Friday, June 30, 2017

How did that happen?

Sorry I dropped off the face of the blog planet for a while.  I can't even give you a good reason why other than brain fatigue, insanity at work, lack of vitamin M (for motivation)....I don't have any good excuses other than - it's summer??

We are all still alive and well and the donkeys are here to prove it, although, watching this video, I see that I have to get even meaner about the donkey diet.  That should go over well:)

I will try to do better.  I know this weekend will be full of travel and craziness for many people.  Have a fun and safe holiday and look out for your animals because this week is hard on them.  I know I will be here on my hill trying to convince my border collie that we are not under attack.  I know he won't believe me and, given how crazy the world is these days, it keeps getting harder and harder to prove that we aren't.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Sweet Summer Dreams

Ahhhh, I can just imagine racing across the snow covered plains, the wind in my hair, the ground thudding beneath my pounding hooves, my friends beside me and the wild, woolly bison scattering before us on the vast, endless, open prairie....

....or maybe soaring around the racecourse, the steeple jumps rising and falling below me, nothing but air passing beneath my hooves and flowing through my mane, keenly flying toward the next and the next, faster than the wind...

...or maybe out grazing on a cool, crisp, Fall morning; the sun so bright, the air so fresh and a little breeze playing with my hair...

...a deer pops into the field and it is a good excuse to leap and buck and run off into the wind, flying, always flying into the wind....

Then again.....maybe I'll just stay here in front of the fan and call it a day.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Boy

I know after I posted pictures of the two grays hanging out together that some were concerned that maybe poor, little Ramsey had gotten left out.  Rest assured, cause it ain't so.  In fact this is still the most common configuration of the herd...

Ben and Emma get along well and both enjoy occasionally slipping off for a quiet conversation.  However, Emma and Ramsey remain inseparable.

Ramsey and Ben have a bit of sibling rivalry going on.  Or maybe it's more that seeing his mom hanging out with a handsome older fellow tends to put a kink in Ramsey's ears.  That's always the way it is when a young, single mom starts thinking about dating again right?

Ramsey likes to think he is the big man on the hill and occasionally tries to push Ben around.  Ben generally ignores this unless there is food involved.  If it comes down to a matter of inference with dinner, Ben becomes a tiger.  He gives Ramsey the evil eye and Ramsey suddenly remembers that he is the poor, poor, pitiful, put-upon baby donkey and comes looking for me to provide back-up.  He comes up next to me and leans into my hip and gets a sudden infusion of bravery.

Which is why there are always two nets filled with hay, guaranteed escape routes for big and small, and assigned seats at the dinner table.

And, lest you think it is all squabbles and fights, every morning after breakfast, is scratching time.  If I can get everybody to line up just right I can manage with only two hands.  If I scratch Tessa, she will start to groom Emma or Ramsey.  If I scratch Ben, he will do the same and suddenly, all the little quarrels disappear and it is one big happy family - our daily love fest.

All-in-all, the poor, poor, pitiful, put-upon baby donkey is still fairly sure that he is the center of the universe.

It's a Hard Life