Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Thinking about getting a Mini-Donkey or mini-horse?

Thinking about making a purchase of either a miniature donkey or a miniature horse? They are both very cute animals and each has its own very distinct personality traits; upkeep and feeding needs.

Most often donkeys are treated as horses with long ears. These unique creatures have distinctive behaviors when compared to horses. I have listed a few “spotlights” –

EATING: Donkeys are browsers. They nibble for a while on whatever is available, then nap, conserving their energy. They are so efficient in metabolizing their food that they can easily become obese. Feed recommendations for horses is not the way to feed a donkey. (We recommend lots of pasture/hay & minimal amounts of high quality feed. Please discuss with your veterinarian.)

Horses are grazers. They have a high metabolic rate and will graze 18 to 20 hours a day to maintain their body weight.

SICK OR PAIN: Donkey’s have a high pain threshold and can easily hide their pain. Usually by the time that the donkey is showing signs of a health problem it has already reached a chronic – and sometimes a terminal – stage. Unlike a horse, the donkey will continue to eat when they are dehydrated or sick. This is good for an animal that is a native to the desert, but not good for the owner who may not realize their donkey is sick because it continues to eat.
WHEN STARTLED: Donkeys are not easily startled. They have a keen sense of curiosity and will usually stop dead in their tracks and assess. If they run, they only go a short distance, then stop and turn to face whatever scared them before they make a decision whether to stand still or continue fleeing.

Nature provided horses with a strong flight instinct and long legs so they could run to escape predators. Horses easily startle. Horses run blind and will jump over and through any obstacle in their path.

TRAINING: Donkeys think and reason. They make decisions based on their safety. And they can learn what it is we would like for them to do if we take the time to explain it to them. The strongest instinct in a donkey is survival. Training a donkey relies on showing him through actions and words that he can trust you to protect him from harm.

Most horse training methods rely on a horse's reaction to a pecking order in the herd. The horse trainer becomes the boss horse of the herd to teach a horse to react to a cue for a particular action.

In our journeys with these wonderful animals that we care for, we have had many people exclaim they cannot believe their child just walked right up to a donkey to pet it; talk to it; or hug it (or all three!).... As if the donkey asked the child to. We have discovered that most children that are afraid or intimidated by other animals (dogs; horses (mini or large); cows...) will walk right up to a miniature donkey without a thought or hesitation. (We call it “kid-whispering” HA!)

Donkey or Horse? That is a personal decision. It is our hope that this has helped you on your decision making journey.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Pictures of the Christmas Parades!

The Leipers Fork Parade was an absolutely beautiful sunny COLD, COLD day! Just like a Christmas Parade should be.  We got so wrapped up in the fun - that we didn't take pictures..... except this one that a friend snapped right before the parade started.  We took Rocky (driving Bill in the cart); Tipper and Toto to represent the donkeys.

Diana & Toto (our 28" Ambassador donkey)

The COLLEGE GROVE Christmas Parade was a Tennessee Donkey ASSociation function with only a few members attending (it is so hard to get to everything going on at this time of year).  The clouds didn't cooperate but we had a blast. We had not been in this parade before and were pleasantly surprised at how large it is.

Group picture before the parade started

Our little neighbor filled in as official "Candy Thrower"  as our grandson was sick.


Toto loaded with toys


Thursday, December 3, 2009

This is Christmas Parade Weekend!

This weekend donkeys and their people from Pooles Paradise Hill Farm will be participating in two parades. 

On Saturday (12/5) at 2pm we will be at the Village of Liepers Fork Christmas Parade. This is favorite parade of a lot of people and we love that we were invited to participate again this year (this picture is from last years parade.)

On Sunday (12/6) don't miss the College Grove Christmas Parade - it also begins at 2pm.  We hope to have several members from the Tennessee Donkey ASSociation join us at this parade to help make a big showing . This will be the first time our little donkeys have been in this parade.

I do want to mention the Spring Hill Parade.... though we will be unable to participate in this one (due to scheduling of the Liepers Fork parade) our friends from ASS ME Y Farm will be participating in their very first parade that day and would love cheerleaders! This parade is on Saturday 12/5 at 5pm. 

Hope to see you!!!!