What's New: Introducing donkeys

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WRANGLER’S NEW LOVE3 30 204

WRANGLER’S DONKEY DIARY: Wrangler’s New Love!

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3-30-20

Wrangler came to us in 2017 and has had to be in turnout by himself because he was so rambunctious that he didn’t really fit into any of our turnout groups. He was always turned out next to “friend” like Sir Guy but never with anyone else. Mr. Moon was his stable buddy, but still, there was always a run fence between them. Mr. Moon recently turned 32 years old and developed a condition that required that he be put down. Wrangler’s “stable buddy” was now gone.

With the empty stall and run next to Wrangler, we now had space to consider getting him a new companion. I checked with my friend in Oklahoma and we found Chasity! What a lovely “Lady!” I was told she was a really FORWARD moving jennet with a lot of independence and enthusiasm. We thought she would be the perfect companion for Wrangler!

Chasity was delivered on 3-30-20 and the introductions began while she was in quarantine in a space where she could see Wrangler, but they could not reach each other. They played with excitement back and forth along the fence line for a bit! They were clearly VERY interested in each other! Love had begun to blossom!

The next day the vet came to do a health check on Chasity. She will need a lot of core strength work, but it will be a good thing to keep her occupied while she is in quarantine. Wrangler looked on with interest as the vet surveyed her condition. Two months passed before Chasity was finally put in Mr. Moon’s stall and run next to Wrangler…they eyed each other suspiciously…this was a lot closer than they had previously been!

Wrangler stuck his head through the panels to sniff and Chasity looked interested, then decided to play shy!

This only frustrated Wrangler and he began some very active male donkey antics which spooked her away from him.

She returned only to be spooked away again while Wrangler continued his antics and embarrassed himself by tripping!

Chasity thought maybe NOW he would calm down and Wrangler started up AGAIN! She thought…REALLY?!!!

I called Wrangler over and had a little talk with him about good manners and being polite to young ladies. He seemed to listen and said he was sorry. Chasity wasn’t sure if she believed him!

But after receiving their crimped oats reward for settling down…all was GOOD!!!

ChasitysChallenges Arrival4

Chasity’s Challenges: Chasity’s Arrival at LTR

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3-30-20

With the empty stall and run next to Wrangler, we now had space to consider getting him a new companion. I checked with a friend in Oklahoma and we found Chasity! What a lovely “Lady!” My friend said she was a really FORWARD moving jennet with a lot of independence and enthusiasm. We thought she would be the perfect companion for Wrangler!

Chasity was delivered on 3-30-20 and the introductions began while she was in quarantine in a space where she could see Wrangler, but they could not reach each other.

They played with excitement back and forth along the fence line for a bit!

Then Wrangler had to come to me and tell me and Chad all about what a beautiful girl he had found! He was SO EXCITED!!!

Then Wrangler returned to the fence where they ran back and forth together for quite some time!

They were clearly VERY interested in each other! Love was in bloom!

Chasity does have issues, but will be fed and maintained the same way we do with all of our equines. Many feeds can cause hypertension in Longears (and horses, too!) and an inability to focus for any length of time.  Mules and donkeys require a lot less feed than horses because they are half donkey and donkeys are desert animals. Too much feed or the wrong kind of feed and you run the risk of skin irritations, abscesses, colic, or founder. The formula for our oats mix  fed once a day with grass hay morning and evening is very simple and produces amazing results.

Depending on the individual, we feed the average sized equines (13 hands to 17 hands) 1-1/2 to 2 cups of oats mixed with 1 oz. of Sho Glo by Manna Pro and 1 oz. of Mazola corn oil. Draft animals (over 17 hands) get twice as much and the minis get 1/4 (small minis under 36 inches) to 1/2 (36 to 48 inches) cup. We monitor weight gain and loss by decreasing and increasing the their hay intake and turnout time. A maximum of 2 cups of oats for an average sized animal (usually during the winter) is all they need. We give them oats as rewards from a fanny pack around our waist during their lessons when they actually need the added energy. The oats must be broken open in some way (crimped, steamed, rolled, etc.) as equines cannot digest whole oats. A neglected animal with coarse hair will show a drastic difference in the hair coat within four days. This feed and exercise program together will make a dramatic change in the overall body shape within six months!

If you alter or modify this regimen with other products, you will not get the same results. I make sure the equines have free access to a trace mineral salt blocks (red block) for their mineral needs. We worm with Ivermectin paste wormer in January, March, May, July and September and break the cycle with Strongid in November. When regular worming is done, the Ivermectin will kill tape worm larva, so they cease to be a problem. We vaccinate in the spring and give boosters in the fall. Consult your veterinarian to know the types of vaccines you will need for your specific area. I never feed Longears (donkeys, or mules, or even my horses) any pre-mixed sweet feeds, or excessive alfalfa products. I feed pelleted Sho Glo because it is such a small amount and provides adequate daily nutrition. Feeding larger amounts of dehydrated feeds and supplements can increase the risk of choking. You cannot add enough water to prevent them from sucking fluid from the digestive tract. Equines, and particularly pregnant equines, should not be turned out on Fescue grass. Our pastures are brome and orchard grass which seems best, although Timothy and Coastal hay are okay for Longears if this grass mix is no available. Pregnant equines we feed grass hay only from six weeks before foaling to six weeks after foaling after which their oats mix can be resumed. 

Chasity will be kept in quarantine with no direct interaction with the other equines for 30 days.

Then, she will be kept in a stall and run right next to Wrangler for evening feedings, overnight and for morning feedings for one week before they can go to turnout together in the same area. Feeding in a smaller, dry lot, or stall and run, and monitoring turnout has several benefits:

  1. Each animal can easily be checked daily for any injuries or anomalies. It promotes bonding.
  2. Each animal will not have to fight for his food, can sleep uninterrupted and be more calm and refreshed each day.
  3. You can do turnout at specific times for grazing during the day, and bring them back easily each night because they will know their oats are waiting for them. When you feed the oats mix in the evenings, it makes it easier to call them back from shortened pasture time in the spring (they have to work into extended pasture time slowly and over several weeks).
  4. You can monitor grazing intake so there will not be over-grazing. This minimizes the risk of colic, or founder (Longears should not be on pasture more than five hours a day, and only one hour a day for minis, starting with shorter periods of time in the spring).
  5. The smaller area affords you a confined space for beginning training, so there is no need to chase or be interrupted by other animals.
  6. Your animal will be more apt to come to you easily to be haltered after their morning feeding of grass hay for their lessons only when they know you have fanny pack full of oats for them. You should only need to call them from the gate and never play chase!
  7. ) Having this definite routine lets your animal know what to expect and discourages adverse behaviors.  If you are inconsistent and break the routine, the results will not be the same.

Chasity is a bit suspicious, awkward and unsure of things now, but we have no doubt about her easy adaptation to our program that will increase her confidence, promote good health as her postural core strength evolves and solidify her new habitual way of moving and resting.

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