The Great Escape

First of all this is a RE-POST from way back when nobody was following me….excuse the not so perfect photo’s, it is the story that counts.

I’m choosing to re-post this post since this week marks one year since my sister and I adopted two wild burros from the Bureau of Mismanagement (BLM).   We adopted them for Rosie to be a guard donkey for my goats and Francis to be a guard donkey for Susie’s sheep.   I agreed to tame Francis until she was ready to go to her new home across the valley.  I would keep Rosie at Sundog.  This post was a little more than half way through their taming.  Enjoy

The Grass is Always Greener on the Other SideImage

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The Brothers: On the Prowl

I was going to do a “A Typical Morning at Sundog” post and feature all the animals I feed in the morning but the Manz Brothers were on the prowl and I had my camera in hand. TCM (7 of 1)-11As you can see Mangus is alive and doing well.  He and Milton think they are “The Bad Boys” now.TCM (7 of 1)-9They have plenty of trees to scale but the little scrub oak forest next to the barn is their favorite place to practice their new skills.TCM (7 of 1)-17I hope there is not some unsuspecting birdie up there.  It is a good thing the finches did not return to the barn this year.  I don’t think they will be back.TCM (7 of 1)-15Crazed kitty look.TCM (7 of 1)-8“I may be tiny but I’m looking down on you.”TCM (7 of 1)-7Meanwhile on the ground Milton is on the prowl.  He looks over at Rosie and the goats in the pen who are being so patient waiting for some one to feed them.TCM (7 of 1)-5“We are in jail.  We are hungry.  Let us out”.TCM (7 of 1)-3Rosie watches the Manx brothers in the little forest and wonders why I have not fed her yet.  I better hurry and feed or let her and the goats out to browse but I want time to document the Manx Brothers in the little oak forest right now.   They are just little kitties and will grow to big kitties soon.  After Rosie’s first bray (hee haw) she usually gives me about 5 or maybe up to 10 minutes to act if I am lucky.  TCM (7 of 1)The goats are extremely patient this morning.  They are enjoying the mild morning sun.TCM (7 of 1)-4Mangus eyes locked on Milton from above.TCM (7 of 1)-10Milton dives for the cherry picker in the wheelbarrow.  Hmmm….manure balls, good for batting around. TCM (7 of 1)-12“How did Mangus get down there so quick. And what is he up to?”TCM (7 of 1)-13Mangus does not want to use the litter box any more.  Yeah I say.TCM (7 of 1)-14Good boy.  Just wait until he finds the round pen with 60 feet of sand.TCM (7 of 1)-18“Now what can I do?”

TCM (7 of 1)-16“I feel the need to sharpen my teeth.”    Fierce isn’t he?TCM (7 of 1)-19 “Someone’s coming….in the bucket.TCM (7 of 1)-20“Why I see movement out there.  I can’t keep myself in here much longer”TCM (7 of 1)-21“Out of bucket and look what happens.    Don’t laugh.”TCM (7 of 1)-24I told you they were fierce kitties.TCM (7 of 1)-22GQ like Rosie and the goats is very patient for his breakfast.  He is watching the Manx Brothers play too.  I’d better hurry with hay though or the stall banging may start and we don’t want that.TCM (7 of 1)-25“Who me?  I don’t bang stall doors…..unless you ignore me long enough”TCM (7 of 1)-26 I look down from GQ thinking I better start getting hay out and I squint to see Mangus with something flapping in his mouth.  It looks like he has caught a tiny fish or something.  He crouches and appears to not know what the heck he has.   I swing my camera around and can’t get my settings right but oh well.   You can see something here.  It is NOT a wood rat which is what he is suppose to be feasting on.   Mangus is as surprised as I am.  “Hmmm…what to do with this?”   Then before I could say MEOW…….TCM (7 of 1)-27Mangus does the spins with a very unlucky creature in mouth.  I almost deleted this photo as junk until I looked in the bottom right hand corner.  OMG The poor creature was a lizard and he or she is fleeing for his or her life.  National Geographic material?    TCM (7 of 1)-28Mangus wonders  “what happened to that thing I had”? TCM (7 of 1)-29“Oh well I’ll just find something else to destroy.”TCM (7 of 1)-30

“When in doubt crawl into the blocks.”

Adios Amigo’s!


Color (1 of 1)-22Rosie and Francis are getting used to being apart.   It is sad but it is how it has to be.    They both have “jobs to do” and “places to go”  Francis is going to her new home soon so in preparation I have put them in separate pens.   Learning to be apart is not easy for donkey’s.  We used to hear them bray at 2am, 4am, 6am and of course right before we go out to feed around 8am.  But we are making PROGRESS!  Lately they have dropped the 2 am,  4 am and sometime 6am bray!   Sleep is not the only benefit Rockin Roy and I have gained.  Color (1 of 1)-6The donkey’s welcome MOST humans even without treats in hand.  They halter easily, allow their hoofs to be cleaned and they can be lead somewhere.   At least most of the time! LOL    Another step in the progress direction is I have taken a leap and purposely let them out of their pens.  This is how it goes.  On given day Rosie OR Francis gets to come out for the day and play guard donkey.  And since I don’t want to panic about them leaving and going back to the wild only one donkey gets out at a time.  You see they are joined at the hip and if one stays around the other won’t go far.    Of course the thought crosses my mind perhaps they would not leave Sundog if they were out happily grazing together but I don’t want to find out.   Francis is going to her new home soon and I do not need chaos in my life.  So far this tactic is working EXCEPT  Rosie sometimes does not want to go BACK into her pen at the end of a day of freely grazing and browsing with the goats.  This behavior tests my patience since the goats and Francis go right back into their pens in the evening.  One night I did not have time OR patience with this behavior so Rosie ended up spending the night outside of her pen for the night.   The next morning I found her looking a bit embarrassed huddled next to Francis’s pen and Francis.  Color (3 of 7)She gladly accepted a hug and a treat then allowed me to halter her and lead her into her pen.  After that experience she is thinking twice about evading me at put back time.  Last night she decided to play run away again.  Too bad for her I had plenty of patience and time.   Eventually she came around to my way of thinking.    In time she will see the value of a nice secure place to spend the night and stop this foolish behavior.

Image  As many of you know I originally I acquired Rosie and Francis to be guard donkeys since we lost a couple of goats to mountain lions last year.  When shopping for a guard donkey they say “Jenny’s” which is a female donkey, are the best for guarding.  Even so one never knows if the donkey you get, Jenny or Jack,  will be well suited for the job.  SO it is amazing to me that Rosie and Francis are actually starting to do their jobs.  This was my original plan and it is working!  Imagine that.  Things going as planned.


Adios Amigo’s until next post.

The Great Escape

The Grass is Always Greener on the Other SideImage

As I meandered to the kitchen sink to rinse out my coffee cup Friday morning Rockin Roy calmly informed me of the fact Rosie and Francis were OUT.  The burro’s getting out is a HUGE fear of mine as I am convinced they will say “screw you Jo, we are finally free again and are going back to were we came from”

Fortunately for me they did not take off so fast.  From the kitchen window I could see them happily munching away on our overgrown lawn.  Maybe I should just let them stay up here for awhile I thought?  That thought did not last long.  Visions of fresh budding roses chomped down to the nubs prompted me to make a move.  I grabbed my camera (of course) slipped into muck boots, put a smile on my face and was out the back door.   No big deal I told myself, with all the loving and training we have been doing these gals will just follow me right back to the barn.  Well not quite.  After a few more munches of lawn Francis took one look at me in that cute way looking down, and Rosie too using her monocular vision.  They had other plans for the morning.

ImageOff they went into our newly tilled vegetable beds.ImageWhoa……what nice soft dirt.  But where is the grass?ImageHere it is!  ImageAt this point it was apparent the donkey’s had plans other than following me to the barn.  And food is always in their plans.   I called out to Rockin Roy who unlike me was getting ready for his work day.   I NEED TREATS!!ImageWell so much for that plan.  I guess they did not see orange.  At least today they did not.  They were having WAY to much fun being knotty.ImageImageOh….. maybe they are going to run right back into their stall for breakfast.  ImageNot a chance.  Francis wanted to show me how beautiful she looks in a more natural environment. Image
Francis looked at me as if to say goodbye and Rosie started to travel down into the canyon.  This is when I thought my worst fears were going to come true.  Rosie and Francis were starting the next chapter in their life titled  ” The Wild Burro’s of Rock Creek Canyon”

But no sooner than I could say BOO…..they made a swift decision to high tail it back up the hill and back to the ranch.  There were many things to investigate.  Like the pool pump, and the picnic table.  I this point I had to stop and think about how far they have come since they arrived at Sundog Ranch.   They WERE actually curious and investigating and NOT being scaredy cats.

ImageImageImage     OK I said,  you guys have had way too much fun today.  While I have you on the OTHER side of the fence how about I put into action some of the training we have done.  Time to put down the camera, put down some grass hay then grab a halter and lead.
As soon as the grass hay went down Rosie made no bones about it and trotted right into her stall.  OMG big smiles from me!!!  However,  Francis being the girl that she is decided she was not going anywhere quite so fast.  But she DID stand quietly and allow me to halter her  HALLELUJAH!ImageImage     Francis then took one look back at the canyon as if to say “so much for The Wild Burro’s of Rock Creek Canyon”.   At this point I had to AGAIN put my camera down and get down to do some serious training…..or so I thought.  Francis did eventually allow me to lead or DRIVE her into the stall.  I can honestly say I did not get kicked or run over either.  Let’s just say we need to work on leading some more and put off that video presentation we thought we’d do.


Needless to say my day got a little off track.  Rockin Roy was off to work and I was living on donkey time.

Adios Amigo’s