Life at The Farmette

The biggest event at The Farmette in 2017 was the surprise arrival of a baby donkey jenny! As described in the "Farmette Friends" section, Hope arrived in March. We unloaded her directly from the killbuyer's truck in an auction parking lot and found that she could barely walk due to her overgrown hooves. Her breathing was loud and strained from pneumonia. A nice person walking through the lot helped push/lift her into the back of our little two-horse trailer and we immediately called and left a voicemail for the vet. We were afraid she wouldn't make it through the two hour drive home. We named her "Hope," knowing that's what she needed, while we were en route! Having received our SOS phone call, Dr. Steph was already waiting for us in the driveway (what a vet!) and she helped us unload the exhausted donkey, move her across some treacherous ice in the entryway, and settle her inside the barn in a makeshift quarantine pen. We removed her death-predicting auction tags because it made us feel better! Hope was given fluids and medications, and we were on a "wait and see" for several days while her heart rate continued to soar dangerously high and she struggled to breathe. Hope eventually showed evidences of lung improvement but her vital signs remained worrisome. After unusual movements in her belly were videorecorded by cell phone (some photos and videos are below!), Dr. Steph confirmed that Hope was indeed pregnant! Hope was shaved on both sides of her abdomen for an ultrasound but even it failed to reveal the reason for her high heart rate; however, it did provide our first glimpse of the baby inside! We boiled water (figuratively!), gathered towels (we actually did!) and waited nervously. Of course, we had no idea when the baby would arrive. The typical gestation period for a donkey is 11-14 months! Hope's high heart rate, not explained by her pregnancy, made her upcoming delivery extremely risky. Finally, early one April morning, Hope's water broke, contractions started and the bag containing little Hark soon became visible. Donkeys are supposed to be born in a diving position with their two front legs coming out first, followed by the head and then the rest of the body. All went as it was supposed to (more or less -- the bag and the umbilical cord both broke early which risked suffocation of the foal and excessive bleeding) and within an hour, a wet, wobbly, curly-haired, little jenny became the absolute cutest new barn resident. The weeks that followed were very special as Hark grew and developed her "donkeyness," learning how to operate those long spindly legs at top speed and discovering where undisturbed naps were best taken. She was a precious little foal and is now about as big as her wonderful momma -- whose heart rate inexplicably returned to normal following Hark's birth. Hope was an extremely protective mother at first so we weren't able to confirm her lower heart rate until a couple of weeks later! Some of these moments are documented below in pictures and videos.

Still owned by the killbuyer, pregnant Hope wearing her auction tags. (PS the donkey partially seen in the background was also saved by another rescue!)

Hope's arrival in the little trailer.

Hope's auction tags removed! The red line usually indicates "for slaughter".

Hope's "strange" belly movements!

Hark's arrival!

(so much for landing on the towels!)

A few minutes after birth, Hope continually encouraged, "It's time to get up, baby!"

A resting baby Hark after several brave (but failed!) attempts to stand.

"I did it, Mom!"

"Come on, Mom. I want to nurse!"

"Really, I do!"

Lots of good napping places were discovered at The Farmette!

Hark quickly figured out the whole running thing!

Hope: the life of a young mother!

The horses were highly entertained!