Aitana’s first grooming

It is a novel arrangement for me, sitting down on a bench with a donkey on my lap! It is doubtless a novel arrangement for the donkey as well. Aitana – six days old now -sits happily across my lap and after stroking her for a while she can drift off to sleep, and it is just like holding a dozy kitten. The foals’ coats are soft like kittens or rabbits fur.

I am conscious that they will not be so easy to lift up and hold like this for very long, so I am keeping a photographic record. In a few weeks’ time, I imagine they will be too big to lift up and quite reluctant to put up with sitting on my lap any more, like stroppy teenagers who have outgrown parental caresses. Here is Aitana having her first grooming session. She has discovered dust baths and had become very dusty, so I gave her a good brushing.


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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6 Responses to Aitana’s first grooming

  1. karin says:

    Wow…hard to believe how quickly they’re growing already. Amazing how much dust was coming off! She really is a beauty.

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    Isn’t she lovely! Yes, loads of dust came off. Then she went straight back to the dust bath after grooming and rolled in the dust again for a few minutes! I bought a head collar for foals today. Too big for them yet, but I took Aitana and Matilde for a short walk, just a couple of hundred metres up the road and back, to get the foal used to the idea of walking on a lead rope.

  3. Barbara says:

    Gareth, that is charming. it is good to get them used to being handled, but you should consider that they may wish to continue climbing on your lap when they are older. I don’t know how much Mathilde weighs, but Dalie clocks in at 300 kg. Just a thought…

  4. Frere Rabit says:

    That’s funny, Barbara! I don’t know how long it will take before they are too big to sit on my lap, but I have noticed how Aitana has grown in weight over this past week. Not so much with Morris however, and I am concerned about him. He is still very light to pick up and he feels a bit fragile too. I spoke with the vet about him yesterday and he definitely has an irritating eye condition that needs sorting out. As for the vet’s mistake, she seemed a bit sheepish when she visited yesterday, although she jokingly scolded Matilde for ‘hiding’ the baby from her as if it was the donkey’s fault the vet didn’t spot the pregnancy… At least she had the good grace not to charge me for yesterday’s visit. She wouldn’t accept payment when I asked her for the bill!

  5. Barbara says:

    Is Morris feeding well? I saw you cleaning his eyes in the video, and I know you have spoken to the vet about this. It may be a little swelling of the tear duct that will clear up by itself. Dalie always has had slightly runny eyes. Rubi is a lot smaller than Mathilde; and they may well have different fathers.Morris looks lively, so don’t worry just because he is smaller, as long as he is feeding.

  6. Frere Rabit says:

    Hi Barbara, yes Morris is feeding fine. The two foals are feeding on a frequency of three feeds an hour, roughly. I have observed them all weekend, sometimes while gardening but also sitting down just to watch them while drinking a few glasses of a decent Ribera crianza (we finally got our first pay since June…) I’m pretty sure that everything is OK, apart from the tear duct issue with Morris, and the vet did not seem unduly concerned.

    By the way, I took the placenta of the two donkey births to the rubbish dump today (now that the vet has inspected both placenta and pronounced them whole). It has been such an emotional week that I felt strangely bereft driving away from the dump, as if some important part of my experience had been left behind. But no need to feel too sorry: the smell was getting overpowering!

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