Monday, June 23, 2008

First Aid on the Farm

In my few short weeks of life with donkeys, I think I have seen more than my fair share of cuts, bites, bruises and wounds.

There have been the injuries associated with two of my geldings battling it out for the "alpha" dog, er, donkey position. The area between belly and upper leg is apparently a wicked nasty spot for a well-placed bite:

Hooves and sharp teeth have separated fur and torn skin:

Most horrific was when my sweet Brownie somehow managed to get his scrotum bitten open. In a panicked call to Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, I was told this is a very common occurrence among male donkeys and burros. < WARNING: Graphic injury photos below >:

All of these I have tended to as best I could and under the guidance of the medical personnel at Peaceful Valley:

But all had been relatively calm and quiet here at Critter Farm for a few days and I was once again allowing myself to feel like a good donkey mama. So, I was really bummed yesterday when I saw that Ian's right eye had swollen completely shut:

I quickly scanned for what the cause might be. Seeing none, I took a deep breath and tried to sound reasonably calm as I (again) had to contact the Rescue. "Flush and apply antibiotic ointment. Wait a few days and call if it doesn't improve" was what I was advised. Ok, I can do this.

Ian is such a trooper, he didn't object a bit when my son, Aidan, and I haltered him up and took him back into the barn:

We washed his eye out with sterile saline solution and then applied a triple antibiotic ointment to his lower lid. He didn't fuss for a single instant:

He didn't even mind that he had a bit of a greasy eyeball when all was said and done. At least his eye was open again:

Ian is such a good boy:

It frightens me sometimes when I realize what a very steep donkey learning curve I'm on right now. As near as I can tell, though, the donks are completely ok with this and are still willing to stay, at least for a bit longer.


  1. oh my gosh, I never realized how cute donkeys could be...but then again, I haven't seen one close up since I was 16 when we rode them down into the Grand Canyon in AZ. I love your blog...I will be back again!

  2. Even though you're learning, it apparently isn't new stuff to them, so they aren't going to blame their donkey mama for their troubles I'm thinking! Hang in there, you'll be an "old hand" at all this stuff before you know it.

  3. I'm so glad they're being cooperative. It would seem that rescued donkeys would have issues with humans--especially humans that want to put on ointments, scrub stuff out, etc.
    My horse once got a whole oat in his eye. It swelled shut like Ian's eye. He let me dig around in his eye until I'd found it and then, like Ian, let me put ointment in it for several days. I wish I knew why he was such a dream with ground manners, but a total hardhead when it came to me riding him.

    You are a great donkey mom!

  4. First aid adventures. Like rural writer said, it prolly isnt new to them. But, Im sure that doesnt make it any easier for you when you have to manage all the owies. You are doing a great job. And I just know that they love you all the more for it.

  5. My you have been busy with all the doctoring. Don't worry things will settle down after everyone gets to know each other. You are learning everything in the first month.
    What a handsome boy that Aidan is!

  6. Wow. You have been very busy tending to your donkeys. I never knew that they would injure each other. Seems rather vicious going for the soft and tender parts like that. You are very brave and dedicated to take such good care of them. I know how scary it can be when you are doctoring an animal that means so much to you.You seem to be doing an excellent job. Hopefully things will settle down soon.

  7. I'm feeling for you Danni! I know how hard it is for someone with such compassion to go through the realities of critter life! You're doing such a good job, you're right on the ball!! Woops! no pun intended!!
    Tell the donks to be good, the girls to stay out of the garden and Roxy to just be herself!

  8. Ok, first, thanks for that photo, NOT!
    And second, you poor thing, I can't even imagine having that to deal with up close and personal. I would be freaking!
    Third, you are awesome!
    Fourth, arent you glad chickens don't have scrotums?

  9. You are awesome! I think you can consider yourself an expert when you can deal with busted up donkey testicles (that sounds so vulgar) and take photos for your blog at the same time.

  10. For what it's worth, I think you're doing a fantastic job! I grew up training (and working) at a stable. It always surprised me how aggressive horses and donkeys could be towards one another (and towards people sometimes), but it's also somewhat comforting that they usually heal easily, too. I think these donkeys are in great hands.

  11. Wow! Doing good Danni! Give yourself a couple more weeks and you'll be the one to call with the questions. How nice of the herd to give you such an extensive and fast paced course on donkey health care.

  12. You are doing a wonderful job!!! Keep doing what you're doing and if you need my help let me know. Poor little Brownie man!OUCH!:-( Your donkey's are so lucky to have someone to take care of them!!

  13. Oh my gosh! I had no inkling that those precious donks would turn on each other like that. And how brilliant to go after the "soft spots" as one of your fans called them. But you've handled their boo-boos with such compassion. Way to go Danni! I'm glad it's you, not me, and I'm sure the donks are appreciating the medical attention.

    Thanks for the update, no wonder it's been a while since we've heard from you.

  14. Hi shelly :-)- Grand Canyon on donkeys - those must be some rugged animals! I wonder if they still do that? Thanks for your comment!

    Hi rural writer - Now is when I really wish I had gone to vet school like I had envisioned when I was younger!

    Hi ceecee - A whole oat, huh? Made you kind of wonder how he managed that, right? lol. I was fearing the worst with Ian, but he totally surprised me with his gentle and docile reaction to what we were doing to him. It was a very pleasant surprise!

    Hi frugalmom - Well, I will hope they are LOVING me more and not thinking "uh oh, here comes that lady that always pokes at us again - quick, run!!" :-)

    Hi goatgirl - Sheesh, has it not even been a month yet? I feel like I've been living this for years. LOL (fortunately, I absolutely love it, you know?) I will pass your compliment on to Aidan - he gets a real kick out of his momma proudly posting him on her blog. :-)

    Hi farmer jen - Busy is right! There are nights where I literally fall into bed, sore and sleepy. But I wake up every morning, excited to get out there to all my babies, chickens and donkeys! Thanks for the kind words.

    Hi eve - hey, how are you going to keep your guineas out of your garden? Or do they have no interest in eating everything like chickens? I'm ready for some new pics of your keets, by the way! :-)

    Hi sugarcreekstuff - Dang, I totally forgot...that one picture was absolutely dedicated to you! I had a feeling I might get a cool reaction from you on that one. :-)
    Hey, thanks for calling me awesome. I'm pretty happy you think so! Um, yes, let us thank the stars that chickens do not have scrotums. lol.

    Hi meg - busted up donkey testicles?! That totally sounds like something you'd call somebody as an insult, doesn't it? Ha ha ha :-). And about the pictures... I took those to send to PVDR for medical advice, so that they could see the severity of Brownie's injury. It wasn't until yesterday that I actually decided this would be something I could/would post on my blog (I'm thinking I may have lost some readers over that choice, though - lol).

    Hi kathryn - I really appreciate you saying this! It was surprising to me how aggressive (at times) they can be toward each other...sometimes it's a personality thing, sometimes it's a nature thing (females in heat), fortunately, none of it has ever been directed at me. But not everyone realizes that this is just how animals are under certain circumstances - donkeys *and* horses. It's good to hear you say, too, that they heal quickly. It's amazing - all of the wounds that I have seen, none of them have seemed to really keep any of the donkeys down in the slightest.

    Hi farm mom - Hee, hee - your comment made me laugh out loud. Yes, it is very nice of the donkeys to give me their fast-paced course on donkey care! (Note to self: send them a thank you card) :-)

    Mary K???? Is it really you? *MY* mary k??? When are you coming to visit me? I need your help every day! :-)

  15. Oh Danni that is so sad!!! WHo knew donkeys, with there sad and gentle eyes, could be so viscous to each other!!!

  16. By the way wonder that deer high-tailed it out of the donkey pasture!!! He wanted to save his jewels!!!
    They say that Guineas are great for gardens, they eat the bad bugs (well the good bugs too but we wont dwell on that) and don't scratch.....time will tell. I'll post more photos soon!

  17. I am totally amazed at you and your donkeys... I love it when you make a new post. I admire you and your sense of adventure!

  18. I enjoy reading about your donkey adventure! We have had lots of animals around here lately with injuries and ailments too. Kim

  19. Those donkeys are just so precious! I bet they keep you busy spending time with them. I'm sure they provide tons of laughter and joy, too.

    Are my eyes playing tricks? Are those male donkeys not gelded? That could be a big reason why they are fighting. Testosterone plays a huge part when horse stallions fight. (are male ungelded donkeys called stallions? I don't know.)
    And if they have access to unaltered females, the ungelded donkeys would probably get 'testy' when the females are in heat.

    Do you have to separate the females when they're in heat so the males don't breed with them?

    Good for you taking care of all the 'owies' for them, too. I bet you're relieved that PVDR covers the vet and feed bills.
    Just this past week, for only my one horse, I spent over $300 on farrier and vet bills. And that doesn't include feed and horse lessons. I can't imagine providing for six equine. whew. PVDR must receive substancial donations. I sure hope so.

    Pat yourself on the back, Danni, for doing such a good thing providing a temporary home for these sweet donkeys until you're able to find each of those cuties their forever homes.

    It's going to be difficult giving them up when that time comes, but you can be sure that there will always be donkeys needing your special care and your love and devotion and cozy barn.

    Keep up the good work.


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