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The newest donkey

We’ve been needing another female donkey for a while, so when a friend was rehoming some of his livestock, including a Jenny, we were ready for her. You might wonder why we “need” another donkey. In the wild, Jennies pair up for life. Since Daphne, our standard donkey, is under 10 years old (they can live up to 40 years), it’s only right that she should have a companion.

We still have Ollie, our mini donkey, who is around a year and a half old. He’s a sweet boy, but not a life partner for Daphne. Jacks can also become territorial. We’re keeping a close eye on him to make sure he’s treating the ladies well. So far, both of them are dominant over him.

The newest donkey came to us on Wednesday evening. Ollie went nuts. He was dying to get into the pen to meet her. He kept reaching over the fence to smell and touch her with his lips. Once inside, she let him know very quickly who was in charge. And it wasn’t him.

I sometimes think we don’t need any more animals, but then one like this pretty, painted girl (her markings resemble a jersey cow) comes along, and I find that I’m okay with it. She doesn’t require a lot of extra feed, since vegetation on our farm is finally growing due to the welcome rainfall of the past few weeks. I’m happy we have her. She has the sweetest temperament and is halter trained - always a plus.

One of the conundrums we’ve had is keeping our donkeys (really just Ollie) out of certain areas. Even the girls will get into trash. But Ollie is forever getting into things not meant for donkeys. He’s very curious, plus he doesn’t run off like the Jennies do when we shoo them away.

Our dogs - especially Samson and Roe (our son and daughter-in-law’s livestock guardian dog) - don’t like for the donkeys to be too close to our homes. They run and bark loudly, chasing off the equines to get their point across.

So next week we’ll be putting up fencing to keep them in a smaller area of the property. They’ll still have access to a livestock pond (tank) and plenty of vegetation, but it should keep them out of trouble. (A side benefit to limiting their acreage is that it will help with weight control. We have 21 acres total, too much land for three donkeys to graze on.) We’ll also keep a watch on Ollie. If necessary, we’ll consider castration to calm him down.

We’re grateful for the animals we have, but are recognizing the importance of managing them well, just like the land. We’re learning so much. If you want to always be learning something new, trust me: just become a farmer!

This piece first appeared in Sherry’s column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, in the September 9, 2022 edition of the Corsicana Daily Sun.

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