This is the first post in the Meet & Greet series I have planned. The purpose of these is to help you understand who’s who and to give a little background info on how each animal came into our lives. The series will cover both indoor animals (house cats, dogs, parrots) and outdoor animals/livestock (goats, pigs, chickens, donkeys, alpaca, sheep, rabbits, ducks, geese, and the barn cat). If you ever want to see a quick count of who’s living here at any given time, hop on over to the Current Creature Count page to see the running total.
So the mini donkeys are going to start us off here on the Meet & Greet. Our mini donkey Clementine came to us in October of 2012. GiGi had talked about getting one because we still had quite a way to go before the fencing was repaired enough to keep the coyotes out and away from our goats. Full-size donkeys can fend off livestock attacks by coyotes, dogs, foxes, etc and will sometimes even kill the offending canine. Even though a mini donkey won’t fare quite as well, we thought her small size was more appropriate for our little herd of goats in a smaller pasture and she would still be able to warn us of an intruder. After searching around, GiGi found an elderly gentleman who could no longer care for his jenny. After an adventurous trip home (in which she left her, uh, mark in PopPop’s car) we had our own little mini donkey. The previous owner hadn’t really given her a name so she was christened Clementine on her arrival. Her hooves were also quite neglected since her previous owner could not care for her properly… we’re still working with a farrier to try to undo that damage :/
Clementine fit right in with the goat herd and settled in with them to get fat and fuzzy over the winter. She was pretty good with the does but as they began to give birth in the spring, she went to stay with the bucks in a separate pasture. One rainy morning in mid-April (the 11th, in fact, which happens to be GiGi and PopPop’s wedding anniversary) GiGi went out to feed the animals and couldn’t find Clementine anywhere. At the end of her feeding rounds, she finally saw her standing in the trees behind the buck barn. Clementine usually came running at feeding time but this time she wasn’t interested. GiGi started to worry something was wrong with her when, all at once, she realized there was a dark shape next to her in the trees. It was hard to see in the rain but she finally made out it was another little donkey! Clementine had given birth to her foal just a few hours earlier and none of us even knew she was pregnant. At this point, Clementine had been with us for six months and we had just assumed she was putting on weight because she was eating better than she had previously. Literally days before she gave birth, a guy who was working on the pond had asked PopPop if she was pregnant and he said no. We had never had a mini donkey so we all thought she was supposed to look that round.
As it turns out, their gestation period is similar to the horse’s (11-13 months) so she was probably about 6-7 months pregnant when we got her. The previous owner did not mention that she had been bred or that there was any possibility she might be pregnant. So that’s how we ended up with our surprise bonus donkey, Penelope (Penny for short). Penny is a shade darker than Clementine but they both have the donkey’s distinctive cross-shaped stripes on their backs. Clementine had been so skittish around people but she lightened up after she stopped being pregnant for a year (go figure) and she and Penny are always eager for head scratches and pets these days. Although they get along great with the rest of the herd for the most part, their absolute favorite pastime is to go bowling for goats or alpacas. One (or both) of them will run at full speed, charging into the center of the herd, and watch them scatter before circling back to do it all again. The alpaca especially love this :/
So now you’ve met your first animals here at GiPop Acres, our two-for-the-price-of-one donkeys Clementine and Penny.
Until Next Time…