Donkey Tails blog is a well written, informative and very interesting blog by volunteer Vivian about PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary and their animals at the wonderful donkey sanctuary in the Roseneath Ontario area.
|Posted by PrimRose on February 21, 2018 at 8:05 AM||comments (1)|
As well as braying to communicate, which has many different meanings, donkeys, mules and hinnies also use body language. Of course there is the infamous donkey kick and they do nip each other, and simply walking away from someone or something they are not interested in are all indicative of of displeasure. Like many animals laying the ears back flat against the head is also a donkey warning. In the first photo Gordon the hinny does have his ears back but they are not flat against his head. This is his “look at me, see how hungry and cute I am” and there is no warning here at all.
However look at Wilson the hinny on the left in the second photo. His ears are flat back and he is very displeased. He may even nip Gordon as he is jealous and sure Gordon is going to get a treat and he is not. Just to set the record straight: this as never happened as the boys are always treated equally but Wilson’s body language is always the same if he feels left out.
|Posted by PrimRose on February 13, 2018 at 6:10 AM||comments (1)|
Five years ago Kitty Lamonte came to the sanctuary because his mother rejected him at birth. Kitty was bottle fed by Sheila in the house for the first few weeks. The cats at the sanctuary are called for dinner by “kitty, kitty” and the little lamb associated dinner time with kitty as well. That is how he earned his name. When he was able to feed himself he moved to the barn. Shortly after Preston the goat was also rescued and the two would race around the barn playing and butting heads. In the winter Kitty moves into the barn to keep Bernice an elderly goat company, as Preston and Vanna goat do not share the outside shelter and food in the winter. In the spring Kitty and Bernice will move outside to join the other two.Kitty is shorn once a year in the spring. Sometimes on a tour I am asked if Kitty’s black freckle indicates a breed of sheep but it does not, it is a birthmark. Often when we are in the barn we can feel eyes watching us and sure enough it is Kitty watching our every move. Yesterday when I felt eyes on me Kitty was lying down. When we had gazed at other for awhile he stood up and rested his head on the railing and continued watching. Here is his cute face framed by the railing.
|Posted by PrimRose on February 7, 2018 at 8:00 AM||comments (3)|
Donkeys use their eyes as one of their main detectors of danger. At the sanctuary I have seen a donkey staring off into the distance seeing movement long before I do. Donkeys can use both eyes to focus on objects called binocular vision or use one eye only for monocular vision. There are blind spots directly behind and in front of a donkey. Donkeys have very good night vision although their eyes need time to adjust from bright light to low light conditions which is why the donkeys will stand for a few moments when coming into the barn after being outside. Also give a donkey’s eyes time to adjust when loading onto a trailer. As Patsy and Jenny at the sanctuary demonstrate, donkeys adjust well to complete or partial blindness. Donkeys are so stoic that often owners will not notice if they are going blind. Symptoms can include abrupt head movements when a moving object enters their sight line or movingtheir heads to be able to see an object, both of which Jenny demonstrates. If possible a blind donkey’s stall should be kept clear of obstacles and regular items such as food, water and salt licks should be kept in the same location. It is important to speak frequently when around a blind donkey. Also touching helps blind donkey be aware of where you are. As visitors and volunteers at the sanctuary can testify Patsy has perfected using her braying to let us know what she wants. Braying in the stall can mean feed me or take me out, which we do with a lead line. It can also mean open my stall so I can wonder the barn tonight or I don’t have enough hay. If Patsy is in the yard or field braying means get a lead line and take me in. Once when I was leading Patsy a gate was not open and she banged her forehead which meant I had to earn her trust to be able to lead her again.
Blind donkeys can form bonds with seeing donkeys who become their seeing eyes. This happened with Patsy, first Amos, then Jonathon Cupcake stepped forward to guide Patsy. Sadly both have passed away. Blindness can be caused by eye disease such as infections and cataracts, old age or perhaps genetic, if a foal is born blind or with one eye. Blind donkeys can lead a full life as they are so adaptable and often a companion Donkey will step forward to help as well.
|Posted by PrimRose on January 29, 2018 at 8:30 AM||comments (1)|
Here are Wilson and Gordon hinnies and Austin mule watching me build a snowman from a safe distance.
Wilson was quite shocked at the completed Snowman and would not come close. Here his nostrils are flared as he tries to figure out who this intruder is.
The dangerous Snowman complete with hay for hair and equine treats for features stands guard.
Wilson and Austin wanted nothing to do with Snowman, treats or not.
Brave Gordon strolled over and removed the snowman’s features.
Volunteers Dave and Lynn joined the action, gamely sacrificing their garments to the Snowman. They dressed the Snowman as a sanctuary volunteer with a PrimRose hat and sweatshirt, pitchfork and wheelbarrow.
The sanctuary is always in need of volunteers as stall cleaners, groomers, tour guides and many other volunteer roles. Please contact Sheila at the sanctuary if you have an hour or two to spare.
|Posted by PrimRose on January 22, 2018 at 7:10 AM||comments (1)|
This has been a bad year for lice at the sanctuary especially noticeable in autumn, late winter and early spring, winter infestations are usually the worst. Symptoms of lice are a dull, matted coat. Donkeys will rub against objects causing loss of hair or raw skin. In severe cases a donkey can get anemia due to loss of blood from the sucking lice. These lice only infect equines and are spread by direct contact. To see if a donkey has lice part the hair especially at the base of the tail and look for one of two types of lice. Biting lice are active and moving and sucking lice are attached and drawing blood. Treatment is a pesticide designed for equines and must be applied twice, once to kill the lice and again to kill the eggs after they have hatched usually two weeks later. Treatments come in pour ons and dusts and most include permethrin of 1 to 10%. Check with the vet to see which percentage is best for donkeys. In order to avoid the spread of lice between donkeys don’t share grooming brushes and coats and keep infected animals isolated. This is Sadie with her winter coat on. As Sadie has lice she has been treated with a dust containing permethrin.
|Posted by PrimRose on January 15, 2018 at 7:25 AM||comments (2)|
Indiana Jones was given to the sanctuary because his owner was no longer going to be living on a farm. As with all new animals at the sanctuary, when Indie first arrived he was kept in a quiet area while his health and personality was observed but was he anxious to join the main pace! On his previous farm Indie was in a barn with a radio and a nightlight so he did not get lonely. But you can’t beat the company of other donkeys. As soon as Indie joined the other donkeys he began looking for a girlfriend and Sally was his first choice. He follows Sally around and tries to stop other donkeys, particularly males, from getting close. Oliver, Sally’s son, wants no part of Indie’s nonsense and will step between Indie and Sally. Indie was fed food at the previous farm that was too high in protein and calories: all a healthy donkey needs is hay. He has developed a large fat deposit along his mane which is now a broken crest. Even though he is fed healthy hay at the sanctuary this fat deposit will never go away and puts a great strain on Indie’s neck. Massage can help loosen the fat deposit so it becomes softer. Meanwhile here is Indie braying in the barn likely telling me he feels the food at the sanctuary is somewhat lacking!!! It will take some time to break bad eating habits!
|Posted by PrimRose on January 8, 2018 at 7:15 AM||comments (1)|
As donkeys who live on a farm do not have as much chance to eat coarse grasses, their teeth do not get worn down and keep growing. This can make it painful to eat and eventually cause damage to the jaw. Yearly a donkey’s teeth need to be floated by a vet. Floated means filed down with a device called a float. Many donkeys need to be mildly sedated during the floating and need quiet time to recover afterwards as the sedation wears off. As with humans donkey bites vary. The ideal donkey bite when mature, which is when the third year teeth have erupted, should have the teeth of the lower jaw meet the teeth of the upper jaw. Some donkeys are parrot mouthed or overshot, such as Charlotte in the photos below. This is when the teeth in the top jaw hang over the lower jaw teeth. Donkeys can also be monkey mouthed or undershot such is the case with Wilson the hinny. There is little to be done about either condition but both can make chewing difficult. Those of us who know Wilson know he has no difficulty there! For breeding purposes, which does not occur at the sanctuary, animals with either bite problem would not be bred as the condition can worsen. At the sanctuary all animals are much loved and dietary adjustments made if necessary.
Charlottte donkey has an 'over shot' bite or teeth.
|Posted by PrimRose on January 4, 2018 at 7:00 AM||comments (2)|
To me Charisma was a typical donkey in so many ways. She was stoic, slow moving, and a bit melancholy like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. She could make her wishes known with a push of the head if she wanted a brushing or a bray if she felt dinner was late, or worse yet: missed altogether! As Charisma had few teeth left due to her age she ate fit and fibre mush. When the food bowl was in sight she knew to go to a shelter to eat so she wouldn’t have to share with the other miniature donkeys in the paddock. Charisma was part of the pace of miniature donkeys. A pace is a group of donkeys. One day Buck the farrier was about to trim the mules hooves and was moving them to a different paddock. In order to do that the miniatures has to go into a separate corral. All the other other miniatures went into the corral and Charisma got missed as she was resting out of sight in a shelter. Charisma became aware that all the other miniatures had been moved and she was going to left behind. She came out the shelter, and in her slow stately walk made her way over to the corral to join her friends. Charisma passed away Christmas Day and more details about her can be found on the sanctuary Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/PrimRoseDonkeySanctuary/
Charisma in the pink halter is pictured here with her daugther Susie Q who has accepted her mom passing away and is developing her own routine.
|Posted by PrimRose on January 4, 2018 at 6:50 AM||comments (0)|
To me Charisma was a typical donkey in so many ways. She was stoic, slow moving, and a bit melancholy like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. She could make her wishes known with a push of the head if she wanted a brushing or a bray if she felt dinner was late, or worse yet: missed altogether! As Charisma had few teeth left due to her age she ate fit and fibre mush. When the food bowl was in sight she knew to go to a shelter to eat so she wouldn’t have to share with the other miniature donkeys in the paddock. Charisma was part of the pace of miniature donkeys. A pace is a group of donkeys. One day Buck the farrier was about to trim the mules hooves and was moving them to a different paddock. In order to do that the miniatures has to go into a separate corral. All the other other miniatures went into the corral and Charisma got missed as she was resting out of sight in a shelter. Charisma became aware that all the other miniatures had been moved and she was going to left behind. She came out the shelter, and in her slow stately walk made her way over to the corral to join her friends. Charisma passed away Christmas Day and more details about her can be found on the sanctuary Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/PrimRoseDonkeySanctuary
|Posted by PrimRose on December 31, 2017 at 6:55 AM||comments (0)|
Boots is a very welcoming cat at PrimRose Donkey Sanctuary. When I started volunteering five years ago Boots was a good friend of Justin Incredible the dog who was the greeter at the sanctuary then. Justin was always glad to see me if it was a visiting day: Thursday or Sunday, but any other day of the week he became a watch dog. When Justin passed away Boots stepped in to take over greeter duties, coming to meet visitors at the gate on visiting days. Boots, and a few other cats, seemed to recognize the sound of my car when I pulled in rushing over, purring loudly and hoping for treats. Boot’s purr was loud and gravelly. Boot’s ears had a few nicks out of them from skirmishes but generally got along with the other cats. Boots loved ear scratches and cuddles.The last time I saw Boots his health was not good. He was off his feed and would only sit with me for a minute before wandering off. Boots went peacefully to kitty heaven a couple of weeks ago. Rest In Peace Boots.