Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Are Miniature Donkeys In My Future?

Terry is about to get the acre of property next to the house cleared of scub oaks and manzanita's.  We bought that property specifically for me to raise backyard farm livestock...I just haven't decided what that livestock will be.  I've thought about goats, (I haven't ruled them out) but I am expanding on the idea to maybe include a bigger run for my chickens as well.  This would have a double benefit because it would give me more room for more chickens and it would also move the chickens away from my bedroom window.  Then I might get another rooster so I could fertilize and hatch my own babies to keep my flock growing.

The benefit of not hearing them making noise so close to my bedroom is also one of the drawbacks...I wont hear them if they are frightened by a predator.  That got me to thinking about living predator protection.  We talked about a Great Pyrenees dog, but Terry is such a softy with dogs I cannot see him letting the dog stay out in the barn with the goats.  And from what I've read, you can't make them your pets, you have to let them bond with the goats that they will be protecting.  So a dog wont work.  My next thought was a Llama but one of our friends has one and he is over protective and wont let anyone in the pasture but my friend.  He spits too...yuck!.

Another living predator protector is a donkey.  I have always loved donkeys, but didn't like horses.  I was raised around horses, my father broke them for other people, my uncle was a farrier until the day he couldn't drag his oxygen tank out to the corral, my cousin did barrel racing an showed her horses, but I just didn't care for them.  I liked the donkeys.  They were like the misfits of the horse world and I could relate to them.  There is just something about the 'HeeHaaaaaawww!' sound from a donkey that makes me smile every time I hear it.  The only drawback to owning a donkey is that they cost so much to feed.  Terry says electric fencing would cost less.

Thinking about donkeys got me started down a road that my husband may soon regret, hee hee. I started checking out miniature donkeys, not for predator protection, they are too small for that, but just as pets.  They are so adorable, they look and sound just like full-sized donkeys, but smaller so they are less likely to knock me on my butt.  They eat a lot less too.  Being a research nut, I started studying about miniature donkeys.  There isn't a whole lot available out there but fortunately I discovered a mini donkey breeder not too far from me.  I contacted her and asked if I could visit her farm.  She said 'YES!'

Yesterday I took my 'little' sister (as in Big Brother Big Sister) with me to the 'Pamarosa Pond Minuature Donkey's' in Chino Valley, AZ.  The owner Pam took us on a personal tour of her farm, first taking us to see her huge pond that was filled with the biggest Koi I have ever seen and half of it was covered with beautiful lush green lily pads, surrounded by  a strip of cat-tails. 

This is only one view of the beautiful pond. The other picture I took of the 'lush green lily pads' didn't turn out :-(

Next, we visited her 24 chickens with a mix of Silkies and several other breeds of mostly bantam sized birds.  And then she took us out to introduced us to her 20 miniature donkeys.

I tell you, if I was on the fence about getting donkeys before arriving, I fell squarely on the other side of that fence by the time we left.  They were so gentle and friendly.  They all started Hee'ing and Haw'ing when we approached the pasture, their excitement about our visit was so obvious.  They ran up and greeted us at the entrance by the barn.  My 'little' had never seen donkeys up close and personal.  She was a little bit intimidated at first, thinking they might bite her or push her over, but they were wonderful, kind of like big cuddly dogs. Although they did try to pull the shinny snaps off her back pockets a few times, and one kept trying to steal my keys handing on my belt loop...donkeys do love bling.  They loved us petting them and scratching the insides of their ears.  And even the most skiddish one stood right next to me as long as I scratched her hip/butt area.

It's fly season here in AZ so most of the donkeys were wearing their fly masks. They can see through them like sunglasses.

She had a two new babies just three months old.  One stayed with her mommy the whole time while the other one wouldn't take her eyes off my 'little' sister.

My 'littles' face has been blurred to protect her privacy.
Mother and baby (nursing). At just 3 months old baby is almost as tall as mommy.

Pam told me so much about raising mini donkeys that I didn't know from all my research, and she answered some of my questions about their personalities and strange personal habits.  She said she started with three jennets, then added a jack, then grew from there with only a couple of her current herd coming to her from outside sources.  As it turns out Pam grew up around horses and didn't care for them either...but she is in heaven with her mini donkeys.  She said I could contact her any time if I had questions about donkeys and she would tell me what I need to look for, and watch out for, if I decided to buy donkeys in the future.  She was so sweet, I really enjoyed our tour (and visit) that was well over an hour.

Pam also said that several of her donkeys are Therapy Certified so they can visit with ill, elderly, or handicapped people as therapy treatment.  She gives tours to local schools every year as well.  What started as a few pets has certainly bloomed in to something wonderful for her and our community. 

Yep, I definitely see mini donkeys (and maybe a full-size donkey for protection) in my future.

Enjoy these other pictures I took at the Pamarosa Pond Miniature Donkey farm.

My 'little' and one of the more skiddish donkeys loving the attention. She must have sensed that we were animal people.

One of the original three jenny's she started with.

Pam petting one of her newest babies.

Pam being followed by her 'kids'.

Keeper of 1 husband, 2 grandkids, 3 dogs,
3 cats, and 17 Chickens!
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Did this post stir something inside of you? If so, Please leave me a comment, I would love to know what you're thinking!!!