Friday, January 17, 2020

One More Hurdle

This afternoon, Tessa went back to Riding Buddy's place for the rest of the winter, which means that my little baby mule (who is just shy of 8 months old now) got weaned for reals today. 

We've been working on separation a bit here and there, but I only have the one barn so he wasn't really weaned.  Now, he is looking for mommy, who stepped into a big, red box and disappeared. 

Meanwhile, mommy is out visiting with her beloved Hawkeye and a new boyfriend, Sammy.  She has her hooves full and is not worrying about her offspring.

  She got all prettied up before she left

Speaking of hooves, she even got a full pedicure before she left, which Qilin felt the need to inspect in great detail (Ramsey has a fascination with hooves and, apparently, so does Qilin.  It must be a donkey thing as I have never seen horses do this, but have heard of a few other donkeys and mules who do).

Another step in the growing up stage and it went very smoothly.  Qilin had a very brief temper tantrum when I led Tess to the trailer and left him behind, but I came back, tied him up and gave him a good grooming and some extra hay and he settled right down.  I have gotten to hear his odd, rather mystical sounding Qilin Call (a cross between a unicorn and dragon is about as good a description of that sound as you can get) a number of times today, but there has been no other drama. 

The fact that Qilin is almost 8 months old helps a great deal.  I believe strongly that babies should not be weaned too early unless there is a pressing health related reason to do so.  Six months is the earliest I would do it and later is better, especially if you have a good mom like Tessa teaching him how to behave.  At eight months, with a herd of donkeys to keep him company, it is no big deal deal.


  1. But, but, you took away the only other spotty! The other kids will laugh and call him names for being different! Good thing he has the right ears....

  2. I'll miss Tessa- beautiful girl.

  3. I am sure he will adjust, big transition:)

  4. Some friends who are new donkey owners in Iowa brought home a ONE WEEK OLD MINI Horse colt from the sale barn, dumped there by whom else? An Amish farmer. ONE WEEK OLD. The baby cried and cried and cried. The vet said "Give it water and hay, it will settle down". Not even a bottle. It eventually did settle down, and the husband figured out he had goofed and they found someone to buy it from them. I was so angry that I almost lost my friendship over it.... but realized it was totally out of ignorance. You way is the best way, Kris.

  5. I too am an advocate for putting weaning off to no sooner than six months. My parents had horses in Poland and they *couldn't* separate the mare and foal for their own safety (wolves, etc.) Instead, they waited until the mom started to tell the baby off a bit on her own, then bought a halter with metal studs (not sharp) in the noseband. The cold metal on mom's udder had her weaning that foal on her own in no time! They lived together happily as friends after that.

  6. When I weaned our last mule it was early but not because we wanted to. Mom wasn't doing well but I agree, I like to leave them together for at least 6 months.
    Seems he will have friends to keep him occupied!

  7. Delrene in Carlsbad,CaJanuary 18, 2020 at 7:31 PM

    He will have his friends but yes a very big change in his young life. As for Tess she loves her men friends !

  8. This is a low stress way to do it.

  9. Wow, that babyhood went fast. So is Tessa getting bred again this year?