Last year we adopted two donkeys into the family. I still get excited when I think about them. They are such foreign creatures to me, they delight me to no end! We named the brown, five year old girl Rosa and her best friend Paulie, a two year old male. They live here and there, since donkeys are nomadic by nature. We move them around to a new field or hill every time they finished the food in the old spot. And let me tell you, donkeys eat a lot! So we learned. They can also drink a lot, especially in summer, so one of our daily tasks is to bring them fresh water. Even if they didn’t finish the old water, we change it because donkeys are picky when it comes to the quality of what they consume. Who can blame them, I also like fresh things!
So we let them graze and we treat them to (veggie) kitchen scraps or leftover produce, basically the stuff that otherwise would end up on the compost. I don’t like to waste food, I always try to figure it out just right, but sometimes we just have an excess of something. You may remember that we had a lot of zucchini, well, as it turns out, donkeys don’t like zucchini. But they do love a lot of other veggies and fruits, they even love lemons. It is so funny to watch them eat something juicy, they chew the apple or lemon or orange but they can’t keep their mouth shut so the juices will just stream over their chin onto the grass. Rosa gets real protective over treats, she always tries to kick Pauli away so she can eat it all! We obviously make sure everybody gets their share.
These past winter months they got a little extra, a combination of peas, oats and corn. I didn’t expect it but they loved it. It must be the sugar in the corn, right? Usually the winters here are very green and there is enough to eat for the grazers, but this year we had the feeling that they were hungry. It has been really cold for a couple of weeks and even though they have a winter coat, (Paulie has a bit of orange in his!) we both felt that a little extra nutrition couldn’t hurt. We are careful though, donkeys tend to overeat and get fat!