Life at The Farmette

2018 is underway and The Farmette is integrating 3 new young donkeys!

Danny arrived in November 2017! He is a miniature donkey, an XS one at that! He's only 27" tall and about a year old at present. He came from a Craigslist ad. The Farmette monitors local Craigslist and newspaper ads advertising donkeys (and sometimes horses) that are vulnerable. "Free to a good home" or "cheap" usually attracts the wrong kinds of buyers who want to make a quick profit by promising a wonderful life, and even providing attractive photos of their barn and pasture as evidence of their good intentions. But instead, they take their newly purchased "product" to the next auction where the unwanted animal usually ends up on a truck headed to slaughter. We respond to these ads, caution current owners to beware and suggest they raise their prices to attract safe buyers. We also encourage them to require references from prospective buyers and "no-kill, no auction, first right of refusal" contracts. Many are unaware of the potential and very real dangers of selling their animals and, once informed, they are better prepared to find good homes for their animals. Danny was exceptionally cute, young and friendly -- very appealing to buyers wanting to turn a profit. His current owner loved him very much, but couldn't keep him any longer himself. And he confessed to not knowing much about donkeys. So, we took him. He sure was tiny in the trailer! He was afraid to walk in so since he weighs only around 100 lbs, his previous owner just picked him up and carried him in his arms. Danny didn't know a lot about being a donkey because he was living with goats and chickens, and he hadn't lived with donkeys since being separated from his mother. Danny was quite young and still nursing at the time so his departure was no doubt distressing for them both. We were able to make contact with his previous owners to try and reunite Danny with his momma but they were unwilling to sell her. Sad. At this point, Danny has found a new family here, especially in Hope and Hark who now hang out with him and his new buddy Kai. Occasionally, he also tries to nurse from Hope who so far hasn't allowed that! Thanks to Dr. Steph and her really cold hands on warmish a January day, Danny is now a little gelding, has received all of his needed vaccinations, and is happy and healthy living at The Farmette. Boy, can those little legs run!

This is Danny in the front in his purple foal blanket with Hark behind him. On a warmer day, they were both out in the pasture with Hope.

Danny loves to run but wants everyone else to join him! "Baby" Hark isn't so impressed and momma Hope has found herself with 2 babies to worry about!

Hagar and Hilkiah arrived in December 2017! Hagar (Aggie for short) is a white jenny (female) about a year old. Hilkiah (Kai for short) is a little gray jack (male) also about a year old. With their mothers, they were both on a kill lot in Bastrop, Louisiana. When the slaughter truck arrived, their mothers were loaded up but these two babies were so sick with pneumonia that they weren't expected to survive the trip which made it illegal to put them on the truck. The rule is that you can't die until you get there! A man who hauls horses and donkeys for a rescue organization was on site to pick up other donkeys that had been bailed and he noticed these two, obviously sick babies huddled in a paddock together. Along with the other donkeys who had already been exposed to all kinds of diseases, these two were loaded on his trailer and he took them all to his farm in Virginia. In spite of being so sick, they amazingly survived the long trip. He was still afraid they would die and he was leaving town the next day, but another rescue worker that lives nearby took over their care. She gave them multiple doses of an antibiotic and as much TLC as she had time to provide because she cares for her own busy rescue farm. Reports were that they had high fevers, were coughing a lot, and that their breathing "sounded like a freight train." They were also weak and understandably depressed. It was truly a touch-and-go situation for them. After several days, they had improved enough to be put on another trailer and shipped to New Holland, Pennsylvania where there is a weekly livestock auction attended by the hauler. Very early that morning, we met up with them in the parking lot and transferred the donkeys from the hauler's trailer to ours. Still wearing their kill lot auction numbers on their hips, they arrived skinny, exhausted and afraid. They took a few clumsy steps on the pavement and then stepped up into our trailer for their freedom ride home! After letting them settle in, we took a detailed inventory of their condition. Their coats were so full of matts and briers that several buckets were filled as they were removed. Some of the hair growing together was so tight that it impeded their normal leg movements. Dr. Steph stopped by later and checked them out. Kevin the farrier also examined them and their feet were in bad condition. But, both donkeys were still so weak that he decided to let them rest for a couple of weeks before he did any work. Time has since passed and they have adjusted well. Aggie is going to be a big girl. She is bright-eyed and very friendly. Still longing for his momma, Kai tries to nurse from Aggie who patiently puts up with it for a while but is too young to produce any milk. Kai's breathing is still rough at times so we are working on diagnosing and treating that issue. Both have grown tremendously and are slowly gaining weight. Their feet now look great and the process of their initial vaccines is underway. It will take the summer months and warm weather for their coats to thin out and for them to lose all their matted fur. The matts that had impeded their movement were removed but the hair that remains, as messy as it is, helps them stay warm. Kai will need to be gelded but this surgery is done under general anesthesia and it can't take place until he is stronger and his breathing has resolved. This first year will bring lots of changes for them. They are great friends and like to play together. For both space and financial reasons (new donkeys come with lots of initial expenses such as rounds of first vaccines, deworming and castration fees), the initial plan was to keep one at The Farmette and adopt out the other. But having observed their close friendship, we decided to keep them together. They each lost a momma but they gained a sibling in their suffering. In addition, Aggie and Hark are starting to be friends, along with Kai and Danny who play fight together as boys tend to do! Senior citizen Manny, who lives on the donkey side of the barn, surely must wonder about all these donkeys, but he more or less has taken the new ones in stride. He believes they are HIS donkeys, after all!

Aggie and Kai's early morning arrival at New Holland, PA after spending most of the night on the trailer. (They are in a compartment in the front of the trailer also loaded with cows that were unloaded first!)

Aggie and Kai on the trailer ride to The Farmette. Happy to finally be in a quiet, safe environment, they munched on hay the entire trip!

Aggie and Kai in their quarantine stall, kill lot tags having been removed!

Matts and stuff: The first pile!

The two boys, Kai and Danny, love to play with each other!

"Hey, Manny! Did I hear someone say today is Christmas?"

-- Aggie

"Do donkeys like snow?"

Definitely! Aggie (pink), Kai (blue) and Danny (purple) play snow tag with Hope and Hark!