This morning was really special, and not just because it is the first day of Spring. Our Betsy did not spend most of the night with her babies, they actually were camped in two different greenhouses, but when we fed the mamas their morning grain, Betsy ate her whole portion, like a champ! I can’t believe it! She has finally earned the step away from being drenched with that awful propylene glycol, thank goodness. She is off her antibiotics, her banamine (analgesic), and now the drench. We continue to give her vitamin B every day, though. We just have our fingers crossed that she can keep eating well.
Betsy’s babies ate like like champs as well this morning, drinking a little over 12 ounces, each. We are slowly beginning to make the transition from kid milk replacer to cow’s milk, but it’s going to take at least another couple of weeks for that. Most folks who have been raising goats for years do not use replacer as there is a much higher incidence of diarrhea that comes with it. Our little ones are doing well, and I would use goat’s milk, but all of my current mamas have regulated their supply to meet their babies’ demand, so they are not letting me have a dependable supply yet. And the next best thing is cow’s milk.
Jingle the donkey was happy today as her good friend Fred the Farrier came by. I know a lot of farriers don’t like visiting with donkeys, but our Jingle has always been good about her feet, and she and Fred love each other. It’s such a relief that it isn’t a big deal for her! Very nice. Great start to Spring, even if we still do have a lot of snow sticking around.
It feels as though someone hit the ‘hot’ switch and now we are having a week of the hot and humids. It is almost July, after all, so what can we expect!
This morning it was Jingle the Donkey’s turn to get some pampering. We had an appointment with Farrier Fred, and so after I fed all the sheep and the goats, I took Jingle out of the paddock, haltered her, and took her to a nice grazing area near one of the greenhouses. She got a little bit of shade there, and while she munched, I finished grooming what was left of her winter coat off of her. She loves to be groomed, and I don’t do it enough. This should be the last time this season that I need to comb her for shedding, though! So she was ready for the farrier. He came on time, as usual, and they worked in the shade of the driveway. She is good to go until late August, so that is another thing off my summer list!
We had some little breezes blowing through the house earlier today, and other than cleaning out some long overdue items from the fridge, I have not done that much. It’s in the ’90s outside, and I am guzzling ice water until it’s time to go to the grocery. Not in the mood for anything hot tonight, so we are going to put our leftover steak onto salads. I think that’s about all we may be up for :*)
And Tesser has even given up sleeping in her sunny windowsill and has taken up her napping position on top of one of our shorn fleeces in the corner. I am sure she was not happy to find out that the windowsill was even too hot for a naked little chihuahua belly!
We hustled a little bit this morning with chores (it is a day off for me and I like to take it easy) because Jingle had an appointment today. A visit from our farrier, which was nicely scheduled for a day when I would have a chance to be here. It was about 13 F and the wind was pretty brutal out there. I got Jingle ready and out of the paddock with a little snack, and while we waited I put a little time into giving her a good brushing. The sun was shining, and in spite of the wind, it felt good to be out there.
We did get a bit of a surprise when the farrier came. The poor guy came down our icy driveway, got out onto the ice and put on his leather working apron, and when he got out his nips and rasp to get started, he said, “Oh, her feet don’t need a darn thing. I’ll see you next month!” That is the first time we have ever heard that, and I really appreciate it. So he skated over the ice back to his truck and gave it his all getting out of the driveway. In any case, Jingle was happy enough to have a little extra attention! We have had our problems with farriers, and not to jinx ourselves, but we love having this one come so regularly, and are also grateful for his honesty and integrity :*)
We have had our Jingle the Donkey for many years now. She is a fantastic guard animal and she tolerates most of what the sheep or goats throw at her. When we have her down in the field over the summer with the ewes she is a formidable guard. Even when deer run through the electric net fence and a side or a corner is down, she will stand as a sentry until we arrive and fix the problem. If anyone new approaches the enclosure that she is in, she takes it personally and checks out what is going on. If she has the tiniest scent of something that may not be right, she will run the perimeter fence and pound the ground as hard as she can. I guess it sends out the signal that she is on the job and no canines are tolerated at any time (which lets me sleep better at night with the number of coyotes and dogs off leashes that we have in this area)!
Having an equid requires a few special arrangements. When we got the donkeys (we had two for awhile) we didn’t understand just how difficult it would be to get a farrier to take care of their hooves. What a dilemma! In the beginning we had a wonderful guy who lived just a few miles away and he would stop by every two or three months on his way home and just check and see if they needed trimming. He would leave a bill in the feed can, and everything was good. He never trimmed and charged for it if it wasn’t necessary, and we were extremely grateful. But then he got injured and got out of the business. The man he sold his equipment to has never answered my calls, even though he lives only a few miles away. It’s one of the biggest problems we have had with farming, and it has caused me an uncountable number of sleepless nights of worry.
For a few years a friend of ours who was a farm manager not too far away was taking very good care of Jingle’s hooves and we were very blessed to have the help. She has since moved farther away, and we are again in the toilet without a farrier. Now donkey hooves are not as involved as horses are, they require no shoeing. But we have no knowledge of how close to trim the foot, and how you trim the foot determines how a donkey stands, and if they are off-kilter it can be painful and affect their whole body. So we were extremely relieved when we found a farrier to come down from Augusta and take care of our one and only equid (after many weeks of my calling and leaving messages with other people, I might add)! I suspect that is the issue with a lot of folks we have called, that there is only one animal to treat, which may make it less desirable a stop in a busy work day. But this farrier came 46 miles to do one job of trimming, and even though it is a more expensive job, we are extremely pleased that he is willing to come down. And I daresay that Jingle the Donkey is pleased as well!
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