Well, this year... we were able to get them into the pasture. I have to say it was a little traumatic for me. Would Lillie mind the fences? Would they know where Home is? Once I took off their halters would I ever see them again? (it was too late to microchip them!).
But after discussing it with my dog food supplier friend who has horses, and my dog vet who also has horses.. and my farrier who said a month ago 'to let the burros go'.... I finally just decided to turn them out 3 days ago.
"Out" is 8 acres of fenced in land. I can see the whole pasture from the driveway. They are running with the yearling calves- who they spent the winter with and a 2yr old cow who is a midget and will be running with the donkeys her whole life as she is so small.
Well, it took a minute to get them to understand that they can go out the gate. But once they did-- wow.. it was like magic... they explored their whole new area, they chased the calves, they trotted at first and then they Ran like an Equine should. It was wonderful to see them run! Their little tails were wagging with joy.
And later that day, I looked out to see where they were-- and they were in the barn yard! They had come home... I was so thankful that they remembered where home was! The baby came over to be petted and they were off exploring again.
By 8pm I went back to call them home for dinner and bed. I had my carrot and the apple cookies that they love so much... I held up my carrot and called them to come home. The baby came right away and then slowly the others looked up and followed me into the barn. Success.
It has been 3 days now and tonight I called them in from half way down the field. And they came to me at a run. I am so happy that they will just come and my worry was for naught. Now they graze with the calves and don't chase them. No one is nervous of the other. Yesterday, I could not find the donks and when I called- Murphy he-hawed from inside the barn- he was getting water with the calves! (which is huge around here since the calves are leery of the donks). All is well with their digestive tract too.
I took of their halters for the field so they didn't get caught on a branch. And decided at night to put them back on, so when I needed them to have their halter on it would not be an issue. Lilliebean does not like her halter.. but with an applesauce cookie-- she stands nicely for me to put it on her! Murphy is always good and the baby doesn't have one on as hers rubs her neck and caused a sore. But she let me put on Murphys for a cookie and then I take it right off.
So, I am sure that the Donkeys will have a wonderful summer now. And ours will be better knowing that they really do know where home is and I can call them in. (whew!).