Muddy Donkey Hay Time

Boy do those John Donkeys love to roll in the mud after a big rain! Here they are down at the old hangar barn jostling for hay and showing off their dirty hides. Once it clears up, the mud will flake off and they’ll groom chunks dirt clods out of each others’ manes.
Even “Buddy” the mule has been rolling in mud. He’s slowly integrating in to the herd as well. He’s much larger than the donkeys so he has a tendency to dominate the smaller equines. Here, you can see Buddy loitering outside the barn as I go in to the feed room to fetch some hay. The donkeys are bunching up at the entrance to the feed room kind of crowding me. Buddy will usually wait until there are only two donkeys before he exerts dominance at feeding time.
At the beginning of the video, Jules (the dark donkey) peers at Buddy through the swinging gate to the feed room. Buddy stays outside for a little while, biding his time until he sees an opportunity to maneuver himself. 
After tossing some hay into the middle of the barn, Jules and Herschel go after that and I’m able to clear a path so I can get a flake or two closer the the entrance to coax Buddy in to the barn. Here you can see Kharma and his dad Zeus make for the bucket right away. 
Equine body language is very nuanced… It only takes a moment for Buddy to cross the threshold into the barn to assert control of the hay. Note how he offers a few clues to the others: 1) Upon entering, he bends his ears all the way back; 2) He gestures towards them with a slight head nod; and 3) he swings his hips in towards them ever so slightly. This combination is a clear sign that he means business! That’s all it takes for Kharma and Zeus to back away.

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