Five of the eight donkeys at the LGRS sanctuary are geldings. Four of the five live in a wrap-around pasture with access to the new barn on one side, and a covered loafing area on the far side.
When the John Donkeys congregate at the gate for breakfast or dinner, it’s usually in this order from Left to Right: Zeus (skewbald), Kharma (skewbald, Zeus’s son), Jules (dark brown), and Herschel (lighter brown).
Just a few minutes before this video was taken, Jules was causing a real ruckus kicking at the gate. That’s what he does when he sees us and it’s time to eat — he puts on an obligatory show.
When I stepped down into the corral, he quit his fussing. But it only took a minute for him to start kicking again as I watched. Somehow he knew I was making him wait for no good reason. Just by making him wait before I let him in, he’d be sure to act up again…
Notice how Jules starts with nosing the gate. He backs up a little bit then his sidekick Herschel rests his chin on the fence and eyeballs me. Herschel then follows the leader and noses the gate as well for good measure.
Next, Jules noses the gate once again and asserts his dominance by mouthing Herschel a bit while pushing him out of the way (“Hey, it’s my job to nose the gate – I’m the boss”).
Finally Jules cannot contain himself (even with me standing there), and he executes his signature move: kicking at the gate.
When admonished (“Jules Stop That!”), he gives me a small snort and backs up a few steps. At this point he knows I’m going to open the gate and let them in…
Jules and his sister Mocha came to LGRS as yearlings in 2014. By 2016 once full grown, Jules gradually established himself as the herd alpha male (Zeus’s former role). Although they all get along pretty well, they pair off a lot. Zeus and Kharma, being related, will often go off on their own. Herschel pretty much sticks to Jules no matter what.
When we turn out Nestle to graze for a short while with the older geldings, he’s low on the pecking order. But that’s OK with him so long as he can run back to his mom BonBon.
Jules is especially rowdy when it comes time to round him up for hoof trims and inoculations. Coming up soon we will have the vet come out to sedate the donkeys for that procedure. Our farrier needs to have them calm and not kicking in order to tend to their hooves. It’s an expensive visit. The medicine, checkups and farm call for the vet is usually five hundred dollars or more. The farrier charges 50 – 60 dollars a head. So the next visit will end up costing the sanctuary around 800 – 850 dollars. This is why we are so grateful for our donors and friends of the sanctuary who make donations to help with expenses like these.
If you come to visit the sanctuary, be sure to stop at the grocery store to pick up some carrots. The donkeys love to be hand-fed carrots. Yes, they are spoiled but you’ll have a lot of fun feeding them!