I knew everything was going just a little too smoothly. That just doesn't happen in my world.
I was up early this morning, eager to get my hands on my baby donkey (who still remains nameless). The very first thing I saw when I got to the barn was that one of his ears looked rather moth-eaten at the tip. Then I saw that the end of his tail was a bloody mess. Think about walking into your baby's room to find a big rat in the crib, that's about what my reaction was.
The problem is that Emma is trying to be the best mother ever born and she has gotten a bit obsessive about trying to clean her baby. So obsessive that she bit the very end of his tail right off and also bit the end of his ear.
Once I reassured myself that, despite being a bit mangled, baby was OK, I started thinking about how to fix this. I have heard of this kind of thing, but never dealt with it personally. The first thing I did was treat the tail and ear with Vetericyn (my new favorite wound dressing) and then treated him with Swat fly repellant. The biting flies are unbelievably bad this year even in the barn. I am hoping that the Swat will help control the flies (and deter Emma a bit as well). The only real solution that I could think of is to make sure that Emma can still be with her baby but can't bite him. What I came up with is an old grazing muzzle that I have had laying around in the barn for several years...
I got a hold of the vet and discussed it with her, she says that she has seen this a number if times. It is fairly common in very young mothers (Emma is just now 23 months old) and that my solutions are the best way to deal with this. She said that the really strong maternal instincts tend to kick in about 36-48 hours after birth and if we can just get through a few days Emma will settle down and get past this. She just needs some time to get the hang of things and learn that she can relax just a little.
I really don't want to be limiting Emma's food too much right now so I am only making her wear the muzzle when I am not there to supervise. (Here is where I need to insert a big Thank You to my very understanding boss who gave me the week off for maternity leave. I don't know what I would do if I had to leave for work right now.) Needless to say, I am spending a LOT of time in the barn right now.
So, if you have made it this far and are feeling the need for a bit of reassurance that this little wild child is still doing well, just watch this short video clip. He zooms around much, much faster than this, too fast for my video skills, but this will give you a little idea....
I've had a lot of great name suggestions, but I haven't found the one that sticks to him yet. This baby has a lot of personality, energy and opinions. He definitely has opinions. I'm sure he will let me know what his name is sooner or later:)