Donkey Playground


Paco InvestigatesI woke up very early this morning to a brain wave. Slipping through the little door to our back stairs I tiptoed down to my desk in the dark and drew up my ‘genius’ plans! I then watched the clock and when it seemed a decent enough hour pulled out the ingredients for French Toast to entice my chief engineer out of bed. We had a donkey playground to build!
Actually – I thought we were heading into Kingston this morning so I had the donkeys and garage cats all fed before 7 am! However it seemed we were not going into Kingston today … so a building project morning it was!
FramedI had been mulling over how to entice the donkeys to play a little more … instead of passing their time all day at their feed bins. The herd’s profiles from behind … well … let’s just say they’re just short for their weight. 😉 Now that Bella and Darby are both well into their second and third year I think we can slow down on how many hours of eating each day requires. Ede is great at putting ideas into action – and can wield any tool we need. Over breakfast I shared my sketches and she took a mental tally of the wood she had stored away for just this kind of day. Et voila!
Darby eating building materialsWe had to work quickly. Our plan involved an ‘edible donkey playground’ but we were hoping to get the frame up before the edible part kicked in. The donkeys LOVE to chew on branches and chunks of wood. Sure enough, when we turned around, Darby and Bella had already found a tasty plank to start on.
Toy BinOnce the frame was up I raided our toy cupboard and odds and ends bin to bring out a collection of ‘temptables’ … Seems we might have had success simply by bringing out that bin of toys. The jennies had a great time unpacking it all for us! Notice those recycled margarine tubs are still the hottest play toy.
The WorksWe then drilled holes in the cross beams in order to fasten ropes and branches. These were then used to suspend regular favourites like an empty cat litter bin, a pail, a frisbee, and a shovel.
Little ShovelYesterday afternoon’s raid on the Bully Jeep gave me this brainstorm. The donkeys love to explore and pull things and tug on ropes.
ThinkingOn one end of the structure we’ve hung the horse ball. On the other the hula hoop.
Surprise BinBy far the favourite stop is the black bin. I filled it with plastic containers that are easy to remove – and are fun to drag around the paddock gravel.
Hidden Carrot BitsThen I hid carrots bits in various spots and stepped back to enjoy the fun! As I finished my cleaning up of the paddock I noticed that Bella had passed up on the food bins for a chance to check out the ‘playground’ on her own. Mission accomplished!
Mission AccomplishedI’m now sitting on the couch in our front room with a view out the window to the front paddock. Darby and Bella and Rosie have ALL climbed in under the structure at the same time!
Ball RubRosie has discovered that the suspended play ball makes a great back rub and butt rub station. I think we’re going to get a LOT of entertainment out of this endeavour. I know our neighbours are! One drove by this morning … slowed down … backed up … rolled down his window and had to ask. When I told him it was an edible donkey play structure he was speechless. Truly impressed at our ‘genius’ I’m sure! 😉

9 comments on “Donkey Playground”

    1. It really has been fun today watching them interacting with it all. I bet I’ll need to keep changing things around so something new shows up and treats appear in unusual locations. Fun!

    1. We got laughing at one point that it reminds us a lot of those ‘gyms’ for babies. You know the ones where they lay on their backs and reach for everything. Hopefully we don’t find the donkeys under there on their backs!

  1. Very creative! I share your interest in getting the donkeys to explore, move, and not stand around.
    If they eat the structure too, are you concerned about nails and what kind of dimensional lumber did you use?

    1. We have a smaller saw horse at the top of our hill that is made out of 2″ by 6″‘s. They chewed away at it for quite a while. They’ve also enjoyed tasting the edges of a wooden picnic able we have up there. So we used the same type of wood and the same 2″ by 6″s. I don’t think they will be able to gnaw into where we’ve used long screws to hold the planks together. I am out there with them for a few hours every day so I can keep an eye on that. If they end up getting close then I would repair that section with another board. I believe our boards are pine. (I understand that using cedar wood around donkeys is not a good idea?)

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