Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Chickens are Calmer

Donkey selfie!  Rufus scared me yesterday.  He scared himself too.  In an attempt to get closer to me, while I was paying attention to the goat, Peaches, he stuck his head between two boards in a part of the fence that goes into the goat pen.  And then he couldn't get his head back out!  

Look how long his hair is getting with his winter coat - his bangs are curly when he's wet.  Brandon and I made some alterations to the shelter when we brought the goat home, and made sure the gaps between the boards we used on a short section of the pen were either too small for the goats head, or big enough that she wouldn't be trapped if she stuck her head through.  I didn't think about Rufus sticking his head in the goat pen from the pasture, and also wouldn't have thought the gap was big enough for his head.  It wasn't!  

He turned his head sideways to fit it through, then straightened up and was trapped.  He was flailing and struggling and his eyes were rolling with fright.  My first thought was to run for some tools to remove the boards, but when I started to leave he fought even harder and then gave up and just hung there with his body limp.  Seeing a donkey hanging by it's neck is scary.  I quickly realized that I needed to get him to calm down, and also really look at the fence and figure out which tools would be needed.  Uh oh, Rufus, we're going to have to use the drill, and you aren't going to like that right by your face.   I petted him and talked to him like it was no big deal to have your head trapped.  I mean, it happens to everybody at some point, right?  He could breath, but I couldn't figure out how to maneuver his head angle to free him.  Luckily by the time I got back with the drill and a screw driver, he had freed himself.  Whew!  What a fright.  Peaches was unmoved.  

Brandon and I have an ongoing debate about Rufus's size.  Whenever we see on donkey on TV, like the one is the awesome documentary Unbranded, Brandon thinks Rufus is the same size, and I insist that Rufus is smaller.  He's a miniature!  I took this picture so I could show Brandon that the Rufus's back is near his hip, not his waist.  Rufus was trying to look taller by keeping his back feet on a hump, but still - he's smaller than a standard donkey.  He is!  

Now that Peaches is a little more settled in, she takes a more active role in threatening the dogs.  She butts her head at the gate when Wendigo stands on the other side, and she pulls Wendigo's hair with her lips when she can reach her.  In her defense, she was mauled by dogs a few times, and also Wendigo, like most four and half month old puppies, is kind of obnoxious.  

Super cute though!  

When we take walks, she wants to chew on the leash, step on Puck, walk too fast, or too slow.  She paws at the fence and gates when I go inside with the goat or donkey.  Sometimes I feel like drop kicking her in the head too, so how can I blame the goat?  SIT!

What? What did I do?

After yesterday's drama with Rufus, the dogs and I worked on learning to walk together while on leashes around the pasture fence, and Rufus tagged along like usual, seeming no worse for wear.   Peaches protested being left behind without her donkey with little baaas that escalated into frantic goat screams.  As we walked I could see her standing tall on the gate of her pen watching us intently as she cried.  Wendigo was so worried about these new strange banshee noises that she behaved the entire walk until we neared the barn, and then she didn't want to get any closer.  What is that awful noise?!   

After all the mammals were settled, I walked over to the garden and visited with the chickens.  They didn't try to fight the dogs.  They didn't demand attention, search my pockets for treats, bite my shoes, or chew on my clothes.  They didn't need any special gear, or get their stupid heads stuck anywhere.  They made me eggs.  Chickens are calmer.  

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