We’ve been having lots of visitors lately. There was a ball tournament next door at the fair grounds this weekend. That meant we got to meet two groups of little ones who wanted to meet the herd. Today an old colleague brought his grandchildren over for a donkey play date. And … I got to meet Ann (a famous helpful voice at the other end of a phone line for us in the past). More on Ann later.
I’m not sure who was the more curious this afternoon – the geese who were hoping to share the shade on this side of the hay field – or the herd. The geese were so close at one point that Darby sneezed and caused a big kerfuffle by scaring one goose into spreading his wings in attack mode!
He waded away complaining all the while about the wet sneezes of donkeys!
Throughout the field there were little clutches of geese sleeping in the shade of the bales.
They must have been hot in the sun this afternoon – I noticed many of them panting.
Back to Ann. She stopped at our front paddock gate this morning. She introduced herself, explaining that she drives by frequently on her way to visit her mother. Turns out Ann works at one of our TCO Agromart stores. And way back when Paco first arrived she was the voice that assured Ede he wasn’t going to kill himself by voraciously eating the salt block she’d given him. Since then Ann has been noticing our efforts to create a donkey habitat. She is a proponent of the barefoot movement for equines and has many years of experience working with them. She has been admiring the paddock as we’ve been working on it. She wanted to stop to say ‘good job’! It was great to get feedback from her. She walked with me through our two paddocks and the woods and commented about the great variety of areas the herd has … she liked the rocky outcroppings, the sandy knoll, the hay bags, the shade tree area in the back, the graveled roads, and the fence lines that mean the donkeys have to meander between the different sections of their home. She encouraged me to look up ‘paddock paradise’ in Google. Hey! Turns out we’ve been doing some great things.
Funny how life turns out … I really appreciated her visit today. It is good to be able to touch base with an expert. I’ve been worrying that Darby’s sore hoof has been a result of the rocks, logs and gravel that we have scattered around. Ann’s view was more that the donkeys would have good strong hooves because of their dry and varied habitat.
Ede and I teamed up to redress Darby’s hoof this morning. She was really limping again. Yesterday I had washed her hoof off and put another sock and tape ‘booty’ on it. Today she seemed even more uncomfortable. As I cleaned her hoof the hole in her sole gushed with clear fluid and then a little blood. While Jeff (our farrier) and I have been working on her this week we’ve seen very little fluid being released. It seemed that almost immediately that gave Darby some relief. Good thing – I was taken aback by how it had spurted right out of there! I had been reticent to pry too deeply into the hole that is forming in her heel but realized there were grains of sand in there … so I had just taken a deep breath and figured one good dig would do more good than harm … and gush … it worked. She’s still sporting her ‘bootie’ and we’ll likely have a longer stretch of the abscess coming up again and needing cleaning. I’ll chalk it up to experience and be glad that I know a wee bit more about how to help her!