Buddy the mule has been with us for over a year now, and he is slowly integrating with the John donkeys. For a time, we tried to put him with the love of his life Cowgirl the shepherdess mare, but that did not work out. He was displaying too much aggressive behavior towards the sheep, so we had to move him out of there. Now he will hang his head over the fence and cry for Cowgirl’s attention. That unrequited love may be what has caused him now to shift his attention over the the John Donkeys.
Now Buddy does not display affection towards humans like the donkeys do. In fact, he kicked me when I tried to harness him upon his arrival. Perhaps he was abused in his past, and despite him being here this long, you still can’t get within five feet of him. That does not keep him from snorting and crying when it’s time to eat, however. He will follow me along the fence line and pace back and forth next to his feed bucket when it’s time to eat. So at least he knows where his food is coming from.
The mule tends to dominate the smaller donkeys at feeding time. Even thought the John Donkeys are of the American Mammoth variety, he still has a few hundred pounds on them and knows it. When we lay out the food, Buddy knows which bucket is his and he vigorously defends it. Despite that, you can see in this video that he does now hang closely to the donkeys and interacts with them now more than ever. If it is raining, they will often all run in to the old hangar barn together.
We are hopeful that one day Buddy will learn by observation that we are kind to the other equine here – and perhaps he too will allow us to pet him. For now; however, we are content to ensure his safety and health.