The new toy (and other matters)


Happy birthday Alys! I hope you like your new toy!  (Now you need to download Whatsapp to get free international text messaging and I can send you the latest donkey photo as it happens!)

The donkeys had their new toy a couple of weeks ago, pictured above. It is an inflatable boat fender bought in a ship’s chandlers in Vilajoyosa.  Just as last year with the failed football toy, they have still not responded to it. The rope handle is supposed to make it interesting for them, so they could pick ity up and run with it, or throw it around.  So far it simply gets an occasional sniff or a slight kick, but they are diplaying little real interest in it.  Now I have put it in a tyre, so when I return to the field I can see when they have taken it out and moved it.


Animal feed store Nutrivila delivered the monthly food supply a few days ago. The four donkeys get through 14 bales of straw, 8 bales of alfalfa, and 5 sacks of grain every month. (Current cost about 150 Euros per month.) I mix the alfalfa in with the straw, so it works out about 70% straw and 30% alfalfa (straw bales are bigger); and one scoop of grain each per day, just as an aid to digestion. I would like to compare donkey diets with other donkey keepers who comment here.

Nutrivila van after delivery

Nutrivila van after delivery

Aitana and Matilde in breakfast bowl of mixed cereals and carob beans

Aitana and Matilde in breakfast bowl of mixed cereals and carob beans

And here’s a few more pics from recently.

Donkey ear in the sunset (Matilde)

Donkey ear in the sunset (Matilde)

Relleu mural

Relleu mural

Rubí out walking last Sunday, nervous about nearby dogs

Rubí out walking last Sunday, nervous about nearby dogs


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.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The new toy (and other matters)

  1. Alys says:

    Thank you! For Donks in Real Time! I see Matilde’s ears are all set up for the latest in Donk communications! Is there a virtual Space Hopper App? Have you tried floating the Donks’ toy in their water bucket? xxx

  2. Mary says:

    My three miniature donkeys go through about 2 bales of hay a week. We are currently feeding Timothy which weighs about 35 lbs. per bale. I give them each a handful of sweet feed in the morning, and a “blob” of alfalfa (maybe a 1/3 of a flake total) in the evening. They also have access to about 1 acre of pasture, but our grass quality is pretty poor. They do okay. I expect to increase the hay feeding once winter hits and the grass goes dormant.

    My donkeys’ names are Don Quixote (Donkey), Dorotea (Dorie) and Dulcinea (Dulcie).

  3. Frere Rabit says:

    That’s an interesting comparison, Mary. Thank you. Even after factoring in the difference between miniatures and my full-size donks, I still wonder if I am overdoing the alfalfa. Mine have no access to grazing (only at weekends and on walks). I did give them hay once, during alfalfa shortage two years ago, but it was expensive here and they didn’t like the change!

    I like your donkeys’ Cervantes-themed names! When I visited the village of El Toboso – home of the fictional Dulcinea – in the 1970s there was an old “galleon” (a four wheel horse cart) in the priest’s garden and it had a nameplate “Dorotea”.

  4. Mary says:

    Whatever you’re doing, it seems to be fine. Your donkeys look great!

  5. scarygoat61 says:

    Lovely donk pics again 🙂 More peaceful than the Synod!

  6. Jim of Olym says:

    We have two mammoths (both 15 hands tall at the shoulder) They get frequent carrot treats, but their main meals are two flakes (roughly 15″x15″x8″ (you will have to translate that into metric!) of what we call orchard grass or timothy hay. No alfalfa as our vet said it was too rich for them. In the evening they get a large scoop of timothy pellets and some supplement. They are a bit overweight but then they don’t get much exercise.

  7. Frere Rabit says:

    That’s interesting, Jim. Thanks. I’m particularly focusing on your vet’s comment about alfalfa. Maybe I need to reduce the alfalfa down to about 10% or experiment with hay. Problem here is that the supply of hay and forage is far from regular, and the donkeys do not like change in diet. While straw is the alternative staple diet, they won’t eat straw alone, and hence the additional alfalfa. Both of these can be obtained throughout the year.

  8. Sorry, very late response…. Ambrogio ignores his football too but plays door tennis and this evening was seen to be picking up and throwing around (in his mouth, silly) a bucket I had inadvertently left there. He made me laugh as I peeked out from putting the chickens to bed.
    We feed him very little at the moment as he does have access to grass and trees but as the winter comes in he will have a mix of hay and straw, our own hay is very poor quality so we mix it with a little alfalfa hay ( erba medica)? I know it is suposed to be too rich but, like you, we have a limited supply network here. A little in the morning and evening except when I give him prunings or forage instead. He eats no other seed or grain. He is overweight but put on a diet becomes omnivorous so I suspect will not lose weight quickly, it hurts too much!

  9. P.S.He won’t eat straw alone either.

  10. Frere Rabit says:

    Ambrogio doesn’t seem too overweight compared to my little piggies. Interesting to see the variety of food we give our donks, from the various contributions here. And oh yes, the bucket game is always better than the toys we give them! Morris goes right round the field with a bucket on his nose, but runs away from the ball I bought as a toy. Silly donks…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s