On The Farm- Hoof Care

Hoof care is important for donkeys. Picture the animal as a house and the hoofs as its foundation. If the foundation is faulty and crumbling, then the house will eventually develop structural problems. A lack of hoof maintenance is similar. It can lead to all kinds of complications.

In her previous life, our donkey Cece had minimal care…if any. And her hoofs were a disaster. The whole year she’s been here, she wouldn’t let me go near them. Finally I had the vet come and sedate her. Cece was still able to stand while Bill, the farrier, worked on her. But it will take several visits from him to get the hoofs back to where they should be. We’re off to a good start though.

(Photo- Martha Browne)


On The Farm- One Year Together

The donkeys have been with us for just over a year. And what a year! We’ve had our good days and bad days but overall Beatrice, Audrey, Dusty and Cece have become a joyful part of our family. Life wouldn’t be the same without them.

(Photo- Martha Browne)

On The Farm- Dusty Gets Gelded

Gelding Dusty was an important issue for him…and for me. I have three female donkeys and to have an ungelded male with them meant trouble. My biggest concern was that he could get them all pregnant. Also, Dusty is such a sweet natured donkey and gelding would help him to remain that way. So last week I made arrangements with my mobile vet to come and do it.

The vet tech above preps a sedated Dusty for surgery. She tied a rope around his back leg in order to lift it up and keep it out of the way during the procedure. A towel was placed over Dusty’s face to keep flies away. She would check his pupils often to see if he was coming to. There was a portal in his neck to add medication as needed.

(Photo- Martha Browne)


It’s been over two years since we made the move south and I still miss our last house. How long does it take to feel at home in a new place?

(Photo of the front porch of our previous house, 2015- Martha Browne)

On The Farm- Donkey Updates

Several of you inquired about the donkeys and how they’re doing.

Beatrice She’s made major improvements in letting me touch her. The back hoofs are still off limits, though.

Cece Poor girl. She’s had a rough few months after delivering Dusty. Her health declined and she was agitated most of the time. One evening while putting her hay down, she reached out and bit me in the shoulder. I called Barbara and we discussed what to do. Cece has now been on an increased diet of hay, supplements and vitamins. Her health has gotten better and because of that…her mood is better, too.

Audrey She has a lot of energy and needs to have some sort of purpose. I had started clicker training (more on this later) but her lessons slowed down after Dusty was born. She became bored and started girdling a tree in the paddock. The tree trunk is now covered in a tarp…much to Audrey’s disappointment.

DustyHe’s growing up fast. Although he gets a lot of his nourishment from nursing, Dusty began eating out of Cece’s morning feed bucket. He now has one of his own which makes him feel like a big donkey.

Curtis says goodbye to the donkeys (left to right)- Audrey, Dusty, Cece & Beatrice.

(Photos- Martha Browne)

Person, Place & Thing- July/August

Person- Portrait of Curtis, age 21.

Place- The view on Whiteside Mountain, North Carolina.

Thing- An isolated tornado ripped through our area bringing down a hundred trees. Audrey inspects the massive root ball of one tree that fell behind our barn.

(Photos right- Martha Browne. Photo left- Scott Browne)

On The Farm- Dressing For Work

We all have romanticized images of farm life.You know…the fashionable woman from Vogue holding a pitchfork with nary a stain or rip in her attire. Well, you can forget that. The reality is this. I get up at 6 am with bed hair. While still half asleep, I put on a pair of beat-up old jeans, cotton shirt, sweat jacket and wool socks. Just as I’m heading out the back door, I manage to slip my feet into black muck boots. For morning chores (the next two and half hours) I work feeding the donkeys, brushing them, doing their hoofs and cleaning up a whole lot of manure. There’s no way anyone can do that in a pair of stiletto heels. :)

(Photo- Italian Vogue)

Related Nibs posts-

On The Farm- Meet Our Donkeys: Cece, Beatrice, Audrey & Dusty