It’s Friday morning, early, and I’m “up for the day”… I’ve never been a “morning person” before but now I am? I’m not sure why this is true now? I do know I’m going to “crash” earlier tonight than most of my family. It’s the trade-off for waking up so early…
Last week, we adopted a mini donkey. “Willaby” is 5 years old, 220 lbs and stands 33″ at his withers. His back story: He was bred because they are “cute” and later relinquished to a donkey rescue in Oklahoma. He was transported to Colorado to the donkey rescue here. He is up-to-date on his vet, hoof, and dental care.
We adopted Willaby; now nick-named “Wilbe”, as a “friend” for my gelding donkey, Jack. Wilbe as in he “will be” a great addition and he “will be” happy once he gets adjusted to his new home. My current two donkeys, Jack and Jill, are 6 years old and are just a bit bigger than Wilbe. The boy donkeys like to play while the girls, the girls are in charge of finding food and water, having and raising babies, and in truth, they run the show. The boys, well, they just want to have fun! It is my hope that Jack and Wilbe will become best buds and have the fun and play that Jill just isn’t interested in doing. Time will tell…
Introducing Wilbe had some initial drama but with guidance from more experienced donkey folks than I, things seem to be settling down. Wilbe wants to stay close to Jack and Jill as his new “herd”. Jack and Jill… they are beginning to accept the newcomer. One of the first things I’ve done regarding introductions was to spread hay in a small circle at feeding time. This was so Jack and Jill could see that Wilbe was NOT taking away their resources (food)! I’ve also kept Wilbe (and Jack and Jill) in an enclosed area. At this point, I’m not sure I could get Wilbe back from “out in the pasture” and I certainly didn’t want Jack and Jill to attempt to “drive the newcomer away”. All seems to be going well so far.
With mini donkeys, people sometimes try to “move them” by grabbing onto their heads/ears. Those big ears are very sensitive and while yes, you CAN move them this way, it has caused Wilbe to be “head shy”. He does offer his back side for scratching and with gentle, slow movements, I’ve been able to work my way up his side to his neck and then to his cheek for petting. He seems to enjoy this attention. He now knows that when we approach, good things happen! The donkeys are fed (always a highlight in their days) or else they will get attention from their people. I can halter Wilbe but this is something he “endures”; not something he particularly enjoys. Eventually, I hope to make this no big thing for Wilbe.
It is going to take time to earn Wilbe’s trust in both our intentions and people in general. This time is what I spent when Jack and Jill when they first came to me also. I don’t have any specific expectations from Wilbe other than his being Jack’s friend either. For now, I knew I had space and abilities to give Wilbe a good home. So… That is what I’ve done.