Calling all Donkey owners!! (Or just people interested in ah...uh, donkeys)

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by tx_cowgirl, Jul 21, 2008.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol. :dogwink: So anywho...yesterday we sold my Quarter Horse, and of course I bawled like a baby. Only the day before we had to put down my "Old Man"--the first horse I ever had, a 26 year old bay tobiano Paint gelding named Apache. He simply wasn't putting on weight anymore, no matter how much he was fed. At random he would come down with a bad case of diarrhea, sometimes really bad, sometimes mediocre, and sometimes just simply loose stool. His teeth did not need floated(a procedure many older horses require). The vet could not find anything really wrong with him that he could fix. The sands of time in his hourglass were simply slipping through until the final grains were all that were left, and quickly disappearing. Unfortunately, we cannot flip over the hourglass and start again, relive the good times we had with our dear friends, and make many more memories. Life just doesn't work that way. Yes, I cried uncontrollably, and even now I'm crying as I type this. It hurts, but I know that it was his time, and he needed relief. It was a hard decision but one I had to make for the good and the love of my friend.'
    But...that's another story for another time, one I'd rather not get into so soon. So...with death comes life, and we've aquired another hoofed buddy. He's a six month old donkey. We've never owned a donkey before...but we knew someone who needed to get rid of him and thought he'd be a great companion for our extremely submissive and somewhat shy 2-year-old filly. He's more of a dog than a donkey, and would probably crawl right up in your lap if he didn't know better. Dogs and donkeys tend to be enemies, although they can learn to get along. Any rancher will tell you that a good donkey will kill off any coyotes or stray dogs or wolves or any other canine that tries to attack your livestock. (They have even been known to save their owners from attacking dogs, running the dogs down and then killing them.) Donkeys are guards, and they make great ones. Their taller counterparts, horses, usually choose to flee rather than fight, but donkeys are a bit braver in that area.
    So the problem? Mudflap. The little softie has shown no aggression whatsoever towards her, but she's never seen a donkey before. Her initial reaction was growling and at one point even charging him. (There was a fence between them.) She's fantastic with the horses, but seems to really dislike our new buddy. After a few minutes I did get her calmed down, but she still is very wary of him and does eyeball him quite a bit. This is only the first night, so this could just be the initial "newness" of the strange creature that overtook Sassy's pen(one of our other horses).
    So, do I have any reason to be worried, or should I wait it out and see if she continues to act aggressively towards him? If the latter is the case, how do you get two natural enemies accustomed to each other?

  2. bellapup Well-Known Member

    My sympathies to you for the loss of Apache and even your sold Quarter...

    I never knew that donkeys could be guard animals, that was an interesting bit of info. I can't really offer any advice, just condolences and good luck with your new charge. I'm sure it'll work out. Even my old ornery cats are getting along with Bella! :D
  3. cppugs New Member

    My sincere condolences over the loss of your paint. I have owned horses for 40 years and have had my share of heartbreaks. The loss of a beloved horse is hard to explain, there is quite a connection there.

    As far as the donkey. I have one, they are indeed very good watch dogs. Being young, you should be able to introduce the dog and donkey and have them make friends. Let them spend a lot of time around each other with you present to make sure the donkey does not try to stomp the dog. Since you just got him, he has not made your home his property to guard, so it is very important to start now. Take the dog with you to feed, brush, give treats and any other time you are around the donkey. The barking will stop, you should probably correct him when he barks at him. Whatever method you are comfortable using, just make sure he listens to you and stops.

    My donkey has stomped a cat (luckily he got away unhurt) and a bunch of baby chicks that were following their mother (they were not so lucky).

    Also, a word of advice, get control of the donkey now. When he is older and stronger, he will control you if you don't. What is cute now, could be a real pain later to try to stop.

    Best of luck and again, my sympathies.
  4. storm22 Experienced Member

    my condolences on your paint boy, it is hard to make those decisions they seem so hard but you know deep down it the best thing for them, we had to make that decision last year, it broke my heart i loved that big shy clydie

    maybe you might try washing your donkey (you might need to introduce him to the hose first) but coming from a different farm he could smell different to what muds used to thus bringing on this behaviour, when we get new horses when they are introduced to the old horses we wash them so they dont smell like there old herd (they smell like sweet apple, its our shampoo we have lol) and they tend to adopt them faster than if they still smell like there old herd

    good luck
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Thank you very much, Charleen. He was imprinted(or at least partially imprinted, to my knowledge) at birth, and is very sweet. He doesn't seem to have any vices whatsoever that I have found. He does not crowd, kick, push, crib, or anything else. He does tend to "lip" your hands, but he never tries to grasp. As far as I know, he tried to bite his former owner once and was reprimanded, and hasn't tried since. I don't know your take on imprinting; it is a controversial issue. I personally am a huge fan of it, when it is done correctly. It is such a sensitive process that it is very easy to screw up and actually cause problems in a young horse. I imprinted my now 2 year old filly and I honestly have no problems with her at all. She has no vices and is more bombproof than any 20+ year old I've ever known.
    Anyway...he's shown no aggression towards anything--dogs, horses, people, or cats. So far. When Mud first met him, she immediately started growling, and I gave a very sharp, "Ah-ah!" to which she stopped momentarily just to come to my side, then commensed growling again. I repeated myself and praised her when she took her attention away from the donkey and focused on me, visibly relaxing and becoming playful. This seemed to help but she was still very wary of him. Normally she always follows me when I'm out with the other animals, so we'll see what happens tomorrow morning.
    I feel sorry for the poor little guy. Everyone seems to be shunning him. My horses haven't been around donkeys, and right now he's right next to Spirit's pen. She's just two and so she hasn't been around anything smaller than her. She's playing hard to get. ^^ She'll roam up to the fence and peer over at him looking all interested, and then when he comes over just begging for companionship, she walks away and won't come back while he's showing interest. Mud and Nick don't like him but the other two dogs don't really care. Other than that, his only source of companionship is humans. He reminds me of Eeyore. With this being his first overnight time away from home, he's rather down. The horses aren't exactly welcoming him just yet.
    Thanks Storm. That's a good idea. I was planning on washing him anyway, he definitely needs it. Perhaps that will help the horses(and the dogs) accept him better. I don't know if he's ever been washed, but no biggie. I know how to get him used to bathing. ^^
    Thank you all very much for your condolences and your advice.
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    We had a breakthrough this morning!! YAY! The donkey apparently wasn't taken care of very well by his former owner...he was covered in huge mats all over his body. So, this morning I took care of that, and as usual Mud was only a few feet away. She growled once, to which I replied with the normal, "Ah-ah!" and she stopped. She went off in search of one of her toys for a while and then started her investigation. She actually came up to him, showed no aggression, spent a good while sniffing him and checking him out, and even wagged her tail! Of course I praised her heavily for such good behavior and she's been great since. ^^
  7. bellapup Well-Known Member

    Congrats to you and Mud! :dogbiggrin: Makes me want to take Bella to a farm and see how she does. :msngiggle:
  8. storm22 Experienced Member

    congrats on the breakthrough, poor little guy i bet he loved you grooming him, since mud now likes him i hope your young filly attaches to him just as fast, so they be each others pal
  9. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Yeah unfortunately the horses haven't been as welcoming. So far Spirit doesn't like him. I'm a bit worried about him. He's still in the "new" stage and is rather anxious and not eating well. Of course that's to be expected since he's still a baby and it's a completely new place with new friends. He's not a happy donkey though. I'm going to get him some probiotics today(help the digestive system, especially in stressful times) and give him some Vitamin B12, and perhaps his appetite will pick up. Of course it's really hot too, which can't be helping. We'll see. So far Rusty's the only one who actually likes him. ^^
  10. cppugs New Member

    B12 is good, but I would pick up some B Complex injectable, very good also for increasing the appetite. What are you offering him to eat? Has he been weaned completely? Perhaps offer him some milk replacement. If you can contact the previous owner, perhaps they can tell you what he was eating. Probiotics are good, there are also several products on the market that will help relieve the stress, you may want to try some of that.

    Do you have a small corral or round pen you can put him in where he will feel safe? That is a good way to get the other horses use to him being around, without risk of an injury or undo stress to him.

    Gosh, wish I was near you to help out :(

  11. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Well he's not with them right now, he's in an adjacent pen. I'm not exactly sure when he was weaned. Right now he's eating alfalfa and a 14% protein feed for the time being. He's slowly starting to eat the feed better, but he's still a little slow on the hay. We'll see how the B12 and probiotics work. I'll check on some B complex. Thanks for the suggestions!
  12. storm22 Experienced Member

    hi tx_cowgirl hows your donkey settling in?
  13. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    The horses still aren't crazy about him, but Mud's at least okay with him now. She's not aggressive, but a little overfriendly for his taste. Working on it. ^^ Spirit's kind of pretending she doesn't like him but is paying more attention to him. He's still a little lonely, but everyone's slowly starting to accept him. We're getting there!! :)
  14. storm22 Experienced Member

    thats great to hear, we have a horse at work who pretends to hate our pet calf, but if shes out in the paddock with it she'll scratch and lick him all over but when people are around she hates him and pretends hes not there, poor thing he does get confused

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