For those who do not know anything about donkeys, let me tell you that they are wonderful gentle creatures. Equally so, apparently more people are killed by donkeys every year, than die in airplane crashes. Donkeys can kick without warning and are often kept to guard other livestock against predators.
This is Aggie, I took the picture.
They are often referred to as being stubborn. In my experience, the donkey is not stubborn, but is actually very intelligent. They don’t do something just because you tell them to do it, they do something because they want to do it. So if you want a donkey to do something, you have to convince the donkey it wants to do that thing itself, food often works well.
Donkeys are very personable, they love their owners, they love it when their owners feed them. They love being “know it alls”. A person cannot enter a pasture where a donkey is kept, without being noticed, and either greeted, or chased out, if you are a stranger. Donkeys are far from dumb.
We bought Aggie to be a pet, and to protect our sheep. One winters day in fact, she did manage to save the life of one of our ewes. The rescue was not from coyotes, but from something far more common, a threat we had not even considered.
It was late, around eleven at night, I was just going to bed. She had come to the place in the pasture closest to the house, a place she normally would not stand, and was braying. Donkeys have a loud bray, usually it means “Howdy” or “GET OUT HERE AND FEED ME NOW!!!”. Eleven o’clock pm is not meal time, so I thought she was just lonely. After she called a few times I thought I would go out and tell her to go bed.
When I poked my head out the door I heard off in the distance a faint “baa” sound. From where I was it is impossible to see the sheep, but could figure out the call was from behind the old barn. This is where we would typically feed Aggie and her mini horse pals. In the winter we keep the big guys in a separate pen from the sheep, since sheep need oats in the winter, whereas donkeys and mini horses are prone to health problems if they get oats.
It was either this gal (Diamond), or her sister (Favorite) who got into trouble that night (it was dark I am not sure who it was now that I look back)
Back to the story. I put on my winter coat and boots, grabbed a flashlight and went to investigate. It was a crisp winter night, and very frosty. Out behind the old barn one of our woolly ewes had got her head stuck in the fence. Being a piggy sheep, she had put her head through the fence to get the hay on the other side, her wool wrapped around the wire and because of the frosty nature that evening it tangled and froze. Lucky for both of us, she is also a friendly gal and allowed me to work her wool free from the wire and set her on her way.
At this time I was able to go back to bed, and Aggie, happy she put an end to all the fuss, also went to sleep.
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