Oh my. What a night we had.
Last night was an important learning experience for the humans of Critter Farm. It was also an experience that, I hope, will not ever be repeated. Holly, one of my jennets (female donkey), became disoriented and walked into our electric fence. This freaked her out so much, that she then fought her way *through* it. All the way through it - to the other side.
Of course, I take full blame for the situation. Up until now, I have let the donkeys tell me when they want to come in for the night. This is generally between 7:00 and 7:30pm. Last night, though, I looked out the window at 7:30 and nobody was waiting at the barn. Finally, around 8:30 - it was still light out but the sun was setting - I decided it was time to go round them up.
By the time I got their water buckets filled and had gotten their bucket of "tempt-you-to-the-barn" sweet feed, it was definitely dusk. I was rattling the bucket at the barn gate, calling "Donkeys!! Donkeys!" I could see them looking up at me, but not really moving toward me. Finally, my three burro boys came trotting up and quickly and easily went into their stalls. The two girls, Sarah and Holly, and the youngster, Ian, were still hanging out in the middle pasture.
My sweet man, Jim, offered to help coax them up and took off with the sweet feed bucket. Ian Donkey came pretty quickly and was on the other side of the fence separating the two pastures with Jim now. Holly, forgetting there was no gate where Jim and Ian were standing (with the treat bucket), walked straight into the fence. I was coming down the hill to help just as this whole thing transpired. I heard the panicked noise she made in her confusion and watched her come bursting through the fence. It was horrible.
Things I've learned:
1) Don't try to stall donkeys at dusk in a wooded area. It's dark and hard to see.
2) Don't hold a tempting bucket of treats outside a fence section that has no gate.
Thankfully, sweet Holly is fine today:
but she was pretty frazzled last night. She was pacing in her stall and even her best buddy, Sarah, was unable to soothe her. Talking to her in a quiet and low voice, I went into her stall and started to brush her. She let me brush her for almost forty-five minutes. Generally, she's a "quick and to the point" kinda girl with the brushing, so I felt happy that she let me comfort her in this way. She was much calmer when I finished our brushing session and she nuzzled my face before I left her stall.
Now I'm off to find some materials to repair the fence. Two of the seven strands are broken, leaving a huge gap in the middle of the fence:
I am so glad it was an inside pasture fence and not a fence to the road: