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

Leave a comment! Just click on Comments at the bottom of each post and a box will appear. If you have a question, I always respond!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Sea Lions Return!

With the first signs of Spring on the coast, comes the return of the herring and with the herring, come the sea lions and bald eagles.  This noisy group occupies some booms in a marina between Denman Island and Fanny Bay, BC.  Quite a sight to behold!

The ocean turns a stunning turquoise when the herring spawn.  Here's an amazing aerial photo taken by a local pilot:

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Part two: More about Siog

There are some things I didn't mention in my post about Siog and her puzzling displays of discomfort.

While the acupuncture is helping her overall health, I don't think it's really "the thing" that is solving whatever is ailing her.  I didn't mention that she has bouts of liquid manure ... not diarrhea, just brown liquid sometimes.  Hmmm ... this points to digestive issues.

Ulcers cause belly ache and with belly ache, you don't feel like eating.  A donkey off her feed is a red flag alert!  And I would immediately take action.  I have a list of things I try right away and if nothing works, I call the vet. But that's for another post.

All this to say that I don't think Siog is suffering from ulcers, at least not stomach ulcers.  Her appetite is nothing short of amazing - I have never known her to be off her feed, in fact, she gains weight SO easily, I have to be really careful with her.

see those fat bulges?

However she has been treated with Gastroguard just to be sure, and then with a generic brand that also has the amino acid L-glutamine in it. L-glutamine works on the hind gut and hind gut digestive problems are different from stomach digestive problems.

A friend pointed me to these products: www.healthyhorses.ca 
and after trying numerous supplements added to her morning mash, or  in "extra" little mashes throughout the day, I think these are the very best so far.  They support digestive health in the stomach and also in the hind gut. Read about them!

But, we're not out of the woods yet. Siog has had the intensive round of all 3 products, then I back her off and if/ when I see her symptoms appear, I reintroduce the supplements.  She is on the top dressing granular supplement every day though.  And this morning, she was in a real snit, very unsettled and grumpy and chasing poor Rose ... so this will be a day to add the paste and the amino acids back in.  It's so trial and error, I doubt we'll ever home free with this gal.  But I watch her like a hawk and do what I can.

And one final note:  the hemming and hawing over whether her so called "displays" are physical or emotional? That's the 64 dollar question (remember that expression?)   She is a very emotional little donkey, no doubt about it, very annoyed when I work with one of the others, very annoyed if I walk by without asking to perform one of her many splendid behaviours, whimpering and watching me constantly! So ... I think it's both ... something's bugging her.  The way to help, I think, is offering her as much physical AND mental support as I can!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Siog, puzzling conditions and acupuncture

I have promised to write about Siog (She-OH-g) She is my youngest donkey and will be 11 this summer (who can believe it?)  She came to live with me from a farm on Pender island - her birth place, when she was 3 years old. her owner told me she was "very alpha," which didn't bother me in the least but whatever the term, she is certainly a character and I have to say she has been my teacher.

You see that look?  Well, her eyes follow me everywhere, she whimpers like a dog, she is smart as a tack, curious and loves clicker training!  Still, she has her antics ... such as coming to a complete dead STOP on our walks, refusing to walk through the gate when we (finally) get back and her puzzling displays of physical disomfort.

I have been keeping notes on her outward signs of discomfort for, well, years now!  I don't think there is anything terribly wrong, this after years of trial and error supplements, diet changes, consultations with various vets, ulcer treatments, fecal floats and panels, medical check-ups and simply gazing into those eyes and asking her questions.

So what does the discomfort look like?  Biting her flank (either side) pinning her ears, chasing the other donkeys, irritable with the other donkeys, sometimes pawing, occasionally a roll or two and always, always food calms her down. Sounds like colic, doesn't it?  But it's not. It's stagnant liver chi, it's being a jenny, it's attitude, it's possibly digestive (as in bloating, cramps, hind gut acididosis ...) all of the above or none of the above.

It's NOT my worst nightmares of enterolith, pancreatitis, ovarian tumors ... I don't think so anyway.
So now we are trying acupuncture and it seems to help her ... a lot! She has had about 5 treatments from our very skilled vet.

One of the things I have noticed about Siog is that she hates to touched on her back, doesn't like to be groomed and often stands camped out with her hind legs out at an angle. Like this:

And the acupuncture treatments have helped with much of this. Siog is always at liberty during the treatments, free to walk away and she never does - and it takes awhile too before the copper needles are ready to pop out.

For more info, I just read this interesting article about acupuncture and equine:

Siog always seems so calm after her treatments, so reading the signs, I'd say they are helping her!

"zzzzzzz ..."

Saturday, January 20, 2018

It's been so long ...!

My blog has been lying dormant for so long, that I actually forgot how to access my log-in page!

I blame Facebook for my lack of blogging - seems FB has filled in the need for cyber space diarising, both in terms of the amount of Internet time I have (or want to have!) available and also because there are SO many donkey discussions now on FB.  I even considered closing down this blog ... but, wait - NO! there's a whole history here, worth preserving, so on I go ...

So, new year, new commitment and here are a few tidbits for now (but I promise I'll be back!)

  • First of all, there are TWO new donkeys on the islands - yay!  One is a small Standard jenny named Clara Marina (I think her second name is new because her owners discovered that she loves to go to the beach to eat seaweed!)  The other newcomer is also a small Standard, a gelding named Amos and he is 40 years old! Truly!  So my jennys are in good company as the population on Denman Island is literally exploding in donkeys!

  • Second - I have new panniers for my sawbuck packsaddle - another post coming on this.

  • Third - Siog and her puzzling, persistent health concerns, what we've tried, etc. - LOTS to write on this one!

  • More about our work in clicker training coming too  ...

and I'll leave you with this:

We had a wonderful visit last week from a lovely, gentle person with Downs Syndrome. He loves animals and the donkeys seemed to cause him to light up with happiness!  They were so awesome with him too - very intuitive about their new visitor. I've invited him to come again and am looking forward to his visits.