Yesterday I had to leave home by 7:15 AM so I was out very early and in the pitch dark to feed the donkeys their breakfast. Imagine my shock and horror when I discovered that the barn and the paddock were empty!
Deenah always greets me in the morning with a soft "whicker," Siog sometimes gives a full throttle bray but yesterday the silence was deafening! I turned on the outdoor lights and checked all the gates - they were closed. So where on earth could the donkeys be?
I opened the paddock gate and they all walked in, glad to be in familiar territory. But I was very worried! How long had they been out, how much grass had they eaten, how the heck did they get out ... questions flooded my mind.
They all looked a bit glum but I offered some hay and they nibbled, although not with their usual gusto.
At least they weren't too stuffed to swallow. The minis ate some soaked soy hulls with a bit of probiotics mixed in but Deenah turned her nose up at that. I didn't dare give any supplements as my brain told me to keep it simple and help any ill effects of too much grass through with plain old hay and straw.
But, needing to be on that early morning ferry, I left a big note for my partner and drove away, my stomach in knots.
Further investigation showed that a gate had been left unlatched and although it was closed, the donkeys must have pushed it open, only to have it blow shut behind them in the wind. We also discovered piles of manure, giving us clues to where they had gone and also proving it seems that they had been out for quite awhile!
There was a smorgasborg of edibles, both good and bad for them on that dark chilly night. Thank goodness they faired well (smart donkeys that they are!) and stayed close to home .... gosh they could have gone anywhere!
I was so relieved that nobody colicked ... or ate anything poisonous (ragwort or Fall mushrooms!) ... or got tangled up in fencing, hoses, lumber or tools ... or stepped on a nail in our burn pile ... or left the property!!