Thursday, March 6, 2008

More Ignorance Is Still Not Bliss!

MISTAKE: Do not assume that a fence alone is enough between the boys and the girls AND/OR do not assume that youth will preclude breeding.

A friend was going to Texas to purchase some miniature donkeys and told me about the website… I checked it out and fell in love with a young jennet. “Bonny” was my Christmas present, my first jennet, and I thought she was very unusual, as I had never seen solid donkey with a blaze (her mother was spotted).

Bonny was incredibly sweet and did very well on our visits to retirement centers in our area, and as part of the “petting zoo” we took along for pony ride occasions. No one could resist that beautiful face.
Here she is with Flash the spotted gelding before a parade
The following year we bought two more jennets (sisters) from the same Texas breeder, the older of which had been Bonny’s best buddy when she lived there. The three girls were inseparable and we were happy to have such sweet girls as the beginning of our miniature donkey breeding dream…

Bonny, Susie Q and Betty Lou
We were careful never to let the jack out with the jennets, due to their young ages and also to the fact that these particular jacks were our “mule daddies”, intended to breed with the miniature mares. The plan was to purchase a spotted jack someday when the jennets were old enough to breed. Due to space and fencing material availability, however, the boys and the girls were kept in adjoining pens… Not long after Bonny’s 2nd birthday, we went out to feed one night and were struck by her appearance… she either needed a serious diet, or we had a teenage mom on our hands. I quickly checked her udder and compared it to her best friend of the same age, and we knew a diet wouldn’t help. Somehow our little girl had gotten pregnant… We knew she was too young, but also knew that she was too far along to stop it from happening. So we researched teenage moms and tried to arm ourselves with as much knowledge as we could to help her through this.
As luck would have it, Lindsey was home sick from school the day the baby decided to be born, and called me at work to tell me the baby was coming, so I rushed home.

After two hours with no progress despite pushing and assistance from neighbors who had delivered calves before, Randy, Lindsey and I rushed her to the vet. I rode in the trailer with her hoping to prevent injury to either of them, but the foal’s front legs, which were sticking out, were icy cold - I knew it was already gone but we had to get it out to save Bonny. Unfortunately the baby was not only very large (and mom very small), but his head was also turned VERY wrong, so even though the front feet were in perfect position, she couldn’t push him out, even with help. The vet told us we could go sit in the waiting room, we didn’t have to stay and watch, it would be bad - but Bonny was too weak for them to give her anesthetic and I couldn’t leave her. We spent a total of 7 hours at the vet, me mostly on my elbows and knees at her head, talking to her non-stop and trying not to look at what was happening at the other end (fetotomy). At the worst point there were seven of us working together, four of us holding her while three people pulled the baby out. In the end I couldn’t keep from saying goodbye to the baby, a jack foal we gave the name “Boyd” (short for “boy donkey”) - even though he couldn’t feel it, I wanted him to have a loving touch and some tears to send him off. After what is undoubtedly the most horrible experience of my life, we took home a very torn up jennet… the vet said any horse, of any size, would have died, but she was a tough little girl and had hung on through her ordeal, and now only time would tell. Weeks and weeks of home care and worry and it seemed she was actually going to heal up and be ok… she’d probably never be able to have another foal, but we didn’t care, after what she had been through it seemed a miracle that our Bonny was ok. What we couldn’t see was, she was healing TOO well… suddenly one day she was having difficulty urinating and we rushed to the vet only to discover that the scar tissue had sealed over her urethra. Surgery was scheduled but she went downhill rapidly and did not survive long enough to have the surgery. I sat with her head in my lap while she slipped away, telling her it was ok for her to be with her baby… and when she was there, to take care Dandie for us too. Out of nowhere two tiny butterflies appeared, fluttering around her body, and she slipped away… after she stopped breathing I looked up to see them, along with a larger butterfly, flutter away. Could it be that Boyd and Dandie came to escort her over the rainbow bridge?

Based on the foaling date, she had gotten pregnant at only 14 months old – and the only way it could have happened was THROUGH THE FENCE. Needless to say, unless we are purposely breeding, the boys are now kept FAR AWAY from the girls…

1 comment:

Carroll Farm said...

Sad, good story. Thank you for sharing. And, lessson noted.