The herd has us in their cross hairs today! We had been in and out running a few errands … but they knew if they camped outside the kitchen window I would not be able to resist coming out to play!
I saw the strangest thing developing today … Darby has been boss girl of the herd for a little over a year. I have heard many people say donkeys don’t have a hierarchy in their herds … Ours sure does … or did …
This morning while I was doing chores I noticed that Darby was getting frustrated that I wouldn’t let her into the hay barn. I just kept packing hay bags knowing that Darb had lots to eat right where she was. Darby decided to play her ‘bite me’ move. She snaps at her own flank and then glares at the rest of the herd. The usual result is that everyone scatters and she gets her way. Not today … Rosie took one look at that signal … and then rushed right at Darby nipping at her and chasing her off. That is different!!
Darby was incredibly affected by that. She backed off … and for the rest of the morning deferred to Rosie. Then later in the afternoon we noticed – for the first time ever – Paco pick up one of the bowls from the playground. Hurray! He then taunted Darby with it – pushing it alongside her – dragging it along her nose – and for a while holding tight to it while Darby tried to take it away. And then finally, when we were all in the back paddock ready to settle in for dark, Darby was the one being bumped from food bin to food bin … by Bella. Interesting … is it possible that now that Bella is in her ‘terrible twos’ that she will take over the privileged position? Even though she is the tiniest of them all? Maybe Darby is mellowing out now that she has reached the ripe old age of three and a half? Maybe they all are using up all of their tolerance on Bella … and Darby will now need to one of the ‘grown ups’. Time will tell.