So I cleaned out rabbit hutches, put down bedding, replaced water. I also moved the cattle to a new field which is less muddy for them. The calf Leroy loved it and started running laps and then the cows and bull started in- quite a sight! I then trimmed the donkey hooves- that’s a back breaker, and I’m not sure I’m doing it right but at least they are a little shorter then they were.
After lunch I decided to take the donkeys out back and see how they would lead on a trail. My pack llama training attempts didn’t work out great so now I have the hare-brained (is that derogatory?) idea of using our donkeys for packing. They are certainly friendlier. But I found out exactly how stubborn they can be. We went through the entire property through the woods over the hill and then came to a 1 foot wide ditch at the end of the field. They would NOT cross this tiny ditch. I tried demonstrating it to them and pulling them, pushing them. Finally I pulled Marty over, he freaked out, reared up, I fell over and he fell in the ditch getting incredibly wet. He then freaked more and reared up again, tangled his lead on his two front legs and almost fell again. Quite a scene. Neither of us were hurt and then Olivia simple jumped the ditch easily so not to be separated form Marty. I thought we were home free then- only a short path along the ditch line back to the barn. But the path had one inch of water on it from recent rains and these two donkeys would not budge. No amount of demonstrated, coaxing, pushing or pulling would budge either of them, and I was getting sore and tired. So I hoofed it back all the way to the barn, got some grain and brought it out to them. Then they both trotted right through the water all the way back- no problem. So I think treats are the key. I am not sure I’m going to be able to make pack donkeys out of these two, but it sure was an experience!
After this I was totally soaked and muddy. I came into my house, took off the muddy clothes in our mud/laundry room and then took a hot long bath in Lush’s Champagne Supernova…. quite nice! So it looks like we all recovered from our donkey training experiment.
Comments (2 total)
I am a big believer in using food rewards for training animals. It’s not the only thing I use, but it’s definitely a big part. As a friend once stated, none of us would go to work every day without the prospect of a paycheck; why should animals want to work for no reward?
–Michelle at Boulderneigh
2007-12-29 04:31:58 GMT
I have to learn this lesson over and over again. It’s much easier to entice than to chase or pull. Someday I’ll stop making this mistake.
2008-01-02 23:46:04 GMT