Donks eat everything!

The rood and norty donkeys seems to eat everything around them! Obviously, it was a mistake to have them indoors when they first arrived a fortnight ago, and I accepted the loss of my domestic potted plants gracefully. However, Matilde and Rubi have been out in their pasture for ten days now and do not simply eat what is growing on the ground. They have now begun stripping the orange trees, and even eating the bark! Here is a photo of Matilde having another fruit breakfast.

More worrying than this has been my discovery that the donks are starting to eat their house. When I blogged here a while ago that I was going to build a wooden structure and cover it with brushwood, two theories were proposed by friends and those who know about donkeys. These theories were quite different. Theory 1, the donkeys won’t eat brushwood because it is dry and contains no nourishment. Theory 2, the donkeys will eat brushwood because, although it contains no nourishment, donkeys always do what you don’t want donkeys to do.

Theory 2 turned out to be correct. There are several holes in the brushwood now. I am having to put up canes inside the donkey house to hide the brushwood from them. I suppose it is too much to hope for that they won’t eat the canes…
The excellent little local museum where I took a group of my Year 8 children recently, the Museu Finestrat , has a collection of old donkey tack on the wall, next to an old stone manger. The tack contains a blindfold (that’s the item that looks like a prehistoric bra from the Flintstones). I wonder if people used to blindfold their donkeys to prevent them noticing the orange trees? Another significant item is a muzzle to stop the donkeys eating the produce while they are pulling the threshing roller. Yes, that is a solution perhaps…


About Gareth Thomas

After a mixed career as an aircraft technician, London fringe theatre playwright, Franciscan friar, and secondary school teacher, I find myself looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I like to listen to BBC Radio 4 and the wind in the pine trees. I am writing a comedy about a school in Benidorm. My favourite film of all time is "Jean de Florette". If I had my time again I would not have spent the early 1970s working for Special Branch.
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9 Responses to Donks eat everything!

  1. Barbara says:

    Yes….I believe I mentioned this habit of donkeys. You could try plastic cane or possibly armour plate.

  2. cherry says:

    Aaaaww! perhaps it’s just a pregnant craving! how about putting coals on the plastic canes..or would that blacken their teeth and give everyone going past a fright?!
    Enjoy the Spring sunshine and oranges -am green with envy sitting in Moscow and a snow blizzard otuside with minus 6 degrees and plummeting!

  3. Frere Rabit says:

    By the end of this afternoon, donks eating trees and their house had become the least of my problems… for I nearly lost the donks completely!

    I opened the gate to their field and intended to take them for a short walk. I lowered the electric fence to the ground, ready to take them out. Previously they had refused to even step over the lowered electric fence, as they are quite wary of it. But before I could get their cabezadas on and attach their lead ropes, they stepped smartly over the electric fence, bolted through the gate, and galloped up the road.

    I realised this was a serious situation now. They were loose and having fun, and they could outrun me easily. Nor have they been here long enough to have a homing instinct. I caught up with them twice as they were browsing. Then they ran off and I lost them completely, about a mile away from home.

    I enlisted the help of three neighbours and we scoured the hillside. We also alerted the Policia Local in Finestrat. Shortly before dusk, and just when I was sure I would never see Matilde and Rubi again, the Policia Local appeared from a hillside track. One officer in a Landrover and the other leading Matilde on a rope. Rubi was meekly following.

    End of panic. I have them safely back behind their fence again and they will not be going out again until I have a full strategy in place!

  4. toadspittle says:

    Seems to me you need to put them in a place where you not only don’t mind if they eat everything around, you actually want them to. Like with sheep. Ground clearance. If there is such a place handy

  5. Meerkat Chaplin says:

    Donkey tack? It looked more like your norty S & M collection. Do you really think you should be showing stuff like that to Year 8?

    Is that a mast I can see in the background of the first photo (with the orange donkey)? Perhaps you could train the donks to eat that.

  6. Frere Rabit says:

    You are indeed a very rood and norty Meerkat Chaplin, and havin trained you in the art of bein a chaplin, I am disappointed to see that you is fallin by the wayside. Admittedly, rabits has also bin fallin by the wayside, but that is allowed.

  7. rebrites says:

    I think your donk Rubi needs more of your individual attention. See about getting her a set of blinkers (or rig something up using her halter, some cardboard and duct tape), if they don´t flap she will be much calmer around roads and bends. Take her out of the pen and round the property just on her own, making a big fuss of her the whole time. She sees her partner is better-trained and gets more attention (just with the saddling and food-getting); she is being naughty because she wants more attention — and probably more training. She is probably very bright, and needs to occupy herself with something. Try hanging a cabbage from a bit of string, dangling from an overhead beam or tree branch. They will have a blast!

  8. Frere Rabit says:

    Reb, thank you for your suggestions regarding the donkey education programme. So, let’s get this clear. Rubi is “probably very bright, and needs to occupy herself with something” and consequently I should try and teach her that cabbages grow in trees. Hmmm….

    Actually, I am thinking of trying the pack saddle on Rubi just for a change, but keeping a light load on it. My neighbour, the swearing Basque chef, says you could put 200 kg on a donkey the size of Rubi. He is showing his age! I remember the sight of a poor collapsed Spanish donkey under a heavy load, many years ago, when Spain was still a place where animals were routinely mistreated.

  9. Barbara says:

    Email on the way, but the basque chef is not far out, at least for short journey. Eighty kilos as a routine if well distributed, up to donkey’s weight for SHORT trips on easy terrain. Yes, I know I only put fifty on Dalie, but then One I am soppy and two I don’t have to fend off the SPA that way

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