Satroma Ranch

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Heat Advisory

In my part of Texas we are under a heat advisory. That means that it can be dangerous getting outside in the heat of the day. Our high today was 101 degrees with a heat index of 107 degrees. It is important to take care of yourself and tend your animals either very early in the morning or late in the day. I prefer to do it about 8 pm.

Make sure your donkeys and all pets have plenty of fresh water. My donkeys are drinking lots and lots of water each day. They enjoy the tanks topped off at the end of the day with cool water. Stay cool!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is it time yet?

Donkeys have a gestation period of 10 1/2 to 13 months. I pasture breed and have an idea when a donkey is due to foal, but I usually do a visual check and feel the udder to help me determine when birthing is close. I begin checking the udder about 11 months after I put the jennet with the jack to be bred. This can be a very reliable way to predict foaling, but sometimes they fool you. Even the most predictable jennet that has foaled several times can fool an experienced breeder. That is because the jennet will bag up and seem to be within a few days of foaling, but after a few days the bag goes way back down. Then about a week later she will bag up again and then it can go down again. This just happened to me. I had a jennet that was hugely pregnant and bagging up, so I put her in the birthing pen, thinking that she would foal in a few days. That was 3 weeks ago. She finally had the baby four days ago and of course the udder was very full and hard the night before. Also, when you feel the udder, there is a front and a back section. When both sections are very full and hard that is a good sign. Some donkeys don't actually bag up very much before they foal, especially maiden jennets. They they will just surprise you when you go to the barn the next day and there is that cute little foal, still a little wet, nursing away.

Monday, May 24, 2010

No April Showers Brings May HEAT

 98 degrees today in the shade. Yes, it is hot here in Texas and it is only May. But the chores still need to be done. The donkeys need to have clean water and mineral available at all times. We have found that putting the water bucket or tank under cover keeps the algae down and the water cooler. We actually use a covered stock feeder (made by the local high school) then we cut it out to fit the stock tank. The mineral is horse mineral. It can be a mineral block that is dark red or loose horse mineral. The mineral also supplies salt. We put the mineral in a plastic feeder under the covered stock tank next to the water. Somtimes donkeys get overheated. Gatorade works well. Keep those donkeys hydrated!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Beautiful day for chores

This spring weather, dry and cool, never lasts long enough for Texas. So I am taking full advantage. I have been doing outside chores. I believe in working out by doing work, not at the gym. I am a yard woman, gardener, pool woman, mrs fix-it, donkey feeder, chicken feeder, egg collector, porch cleaner, painter, donkey feeder, donkey trainer, etc... Warning! the larger your place is the more work there will be to keep it maintained and looking nice. The pressure washer didn't work today, so I just trimmed some more hedges.

After feeding the donkeys, I decided to walk around the large pasture and pond. It is about 15 acres. The sun was getting lower in the sky and there was a cool breeze. I found lots of red dewberries by the pond. Great! they will be ready to pick in May. A cobbler will be so good. I was almost to the back of the pond when I heard the rumble of hooves coming my way. With Cookie leading the way, the donkeys were racing to see what I was doing. I was instantly surrounded by donkeys all wanting me to pet them first, but they were not all here. Looking back toward the sun I saw Rascal, the little fat thing, running as fast as he could to catch up. He ran up to me and started a fight for my attention. I tried to pet everyone, but soon got back to my walk. The donkeys decided to stay in that area by the pond and not follow me on around, but I used their well worn paths to make my way around the pond and back up the hill just as the sun was going down.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ranch Rules # 1

I grew up in the city and so did my husband. So we learned most everything about ranch life by trial and error. Therefore, the rules.


Just today this was brought to my mind when I almost went out the pasture via another gate after putting out feed. But no, I remembered my rule and went back out through the same gate that I had entered the pasture. I am glad I did or else I would have forgotten that I had turned on the water behind the barn. Water running all night and day can cost a bit of money and I am sure I wouldn't have found it until tomorrow's feed time. But the water is not the primary reason for the rule. Sometimes I will go in a gate thinking I am just doing one thing and will be right back out, so I don't latch it...then I will get distractied and go out the other gate. So, the first gate will stay unlatched. The way I will be reminded of this is when the next day I see, or a neighbor sees, or hopefully not, a sheriff's deputy sees, the donkeys roaming OUT of their pens or worse in the road! Yes it has happened a few times, but fortunately no donkeys have ever been hit by cars and very nice people stop and help. Usually the donkeys are just outside their pen going for the "greener" grass.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

As the storm rolls in...

Of the 38 miniature donkeys that live here at Satroma Ranch, 12 - 15 stay in a large pasture by the pond. These are girls (jennets) that are either bred, waiting to be bred, or too young to breed. [We breed jennets after they reach 3 years of age, as recommended by the National Miniature Donkey Association.] 

These girls felt the cool wind stirring up from the coming storm and got frisky. I was eating supper in my kitchen which looks out onto the back pasture. The girls were running and prancing all over that pasture. Now when any donkeys start running I always look to make sure they are just having fun and not running "from" something. So I checked them out. It was the young girls. Nicolina and Trixie that were really going fast. They zoomed by the older girls and stirred them up. It is quite entertaining to see the girls get excited, they are usually very laid back.