Welcome to my blog - a diary about living with donkeys, notes about care, my training sessions and the absolute pleasure of donkey companionship.

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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Separation Anxiety

Donkeys can form deep bonds with one another.  I shudder to think of how they must feel when a buddy is sold and suddenly taken away!  And I've been the guilty party over the years, having bought donkeys and re-homed two of them.  Not everyone necessarily gets along though - I've seen donkeys "tolerate" one another without really developing a strong attachment.

Deenah was really bonded with Dorica but neither of them liked poor Ringo, who ended up being third man out, often by himself or trailing along.  But take Dorrie out for a walk and Deenah would go completely nuts.  In my opinion, she did very un-donkey-like things, like trying to go through fences or
jump gates etc.  There was only one paddock I could safely leave her, always with another donkey and food, but she still ran up and down the fence line calling and worrying until we got back.  It was stressful for everyone.

Now Heather seems to be the dependent one.  She has been really bonded to Rose and very upset if Rose was in an adjoining paddock working with me or out for a tiny walk.  But a few days ago, she came into heat at the same time as Siog and now suddenly she can't bear to have Siog out of her sight!

I took Heather out for a little walk yesterday and she didn't want to go very far past the driveway (unlike her!)  I coaxed her a bit then brought her home and before I could get her halter off she galloped away to find Siog.

Siog and I have really enjoyed many walks together and it has been awhile since I've had her out on one.  So last evening, I decided there was time for a stroll before it got dark and off we went.  Siog was energetic and keen and we were out for about 45 minutes.  When we got home, Heather was completely drenched in sweat, like I mean, soaked and hot!  I was really concerned - my partner confirmed that Heather hadn't stopped running the whole time we were gone - even though she was with Rose and Dorica and there was food available.

It was close to feed time, but I didn't want Heather to start eating until she had cooled off a bit, so the four donkeys and I walked the paddocks - around this one, through the gate and along the fence line of another paddock - for about half an hour.  Then I took them back to the barn and hung their nights bags with straw and hay.  Heather was alright by that time and is fine this morning.  Whenever I glance out the window, she is glued to Siog.

This distresses me though and I really hope the antics are due to the fact that she's still in heat (and Siog is also.  I'll have to have a chat with her ...

1 comment:

  1. I don't know that this would help with separation issues but, it might and can't hurt...Emma was having terrible trouble with her heat cycles and I finally put her on chaste tree berry. It has helped immensely. I can't even tell when she is in heat now and she is MUCH happier and relaxed. It is also supposed to help prevent IR. It might make things easier for your girls. I get it very cheap in bulk from herbn'horse, it only costs about $3 a month for an Emma-size dose.