So this isn’t the donkey update I was hoping to make.
I started Remy on the milk replacer at 11am on Wednesday, and he drank it heartily every three hours. Emma was more curious about this that she’d been about him in days, but likely because she thought I had something she might want. She’s a very food motivated donkey.
On Thursday morning at his 3am feeding, he seemed a little sluggish. He didn’t jump up to eat like he had been, but once I encouraged him to get up, he did. He only drank about half of his milk, then stopped showing interest, so I let him lay down after giving the milk he had drank time to settle. My thought process was that maybe he was full from receiving full meals for the entire evening vs. whatever he got from Emma the previous days.
So I went back to the trailer to get some sleep. When I came back at 6am, he was gone. His little body was still warm, but the life had gone out of him. Emma was munching hay, unconcerned. I was in complete shock. I called K and woke her up, though in hindsight, I don’t know why since there wasn’t anything that could be done. I blubbered to her for a bit then called Jason and did the same again. Jason told me that he’d come bury him for me that afternoon once he got off work.
I opened the stall to let Emma out and picked him up and put him in the next stall over and cleaned their stall so that I could stuff the still very pregnant Chloe in it. I showed Emma his body before I put it in the stall, but she just shook her head, pinned her ears and walked away. She’d apparently known this was coming for a week now. Chloe acted angry with Emma and wouldn’t let her near her, which meant that she was that much closer to foaling herself, so I felt good about my decision to clean the stall and put her in it.
I then went home and showered before crashing in the bed for more sleep. I’d already texted my co-worker to let her know that I wouldn’t be in and why. Jason texted me before I fell asleep and told me to reconsider my cancelled trip to DC that I was supposed to be going on (pre-Remy). He thought the time away would be good for me. He was right, because had I not gone, I would’ve just sat around the house all day crying.
So I went to sleep and slept for 3 hours despite being incredibly hungry. When I woke up around 11am I got dressed and went back to the barn, halfway expecting to see Chloe mid-labor or with a baby by her side, but she just looked at me with a mouthful of hay like she didn’t have any plans to have her baby today either, so I left.
I needed 24 hours without seeing a donkey. So I went to DC, watched an excellent concert, and stayed with my college roomie til the next afternoon when I returned home. Naturally, Chloe decided that Thursday was a good day to foal after all, and had her baby around 9pm while I was at the concert. I wouldn’t have left without having a plan in place for her, so K got to be the one to find this baby after teaching her class that night. He was still very wet, so he’d only just arrived when K found him, so his birth worked out well.
As for Remy, I have no idea what happened. I can only speculate as to what went wrong. Maybe he was born with more issues than we realized? Maybe he hit his head falling when trying to walk? I can’t consider that Emma had anything to do with it because I need to start liking her again after she refused to feed him anyway. Plus, she really just ignored him unless I was trying to get him to nurse, so I don’t think she did anything to hurt him.
So, donkey baby season has come to a close. I’ll share more pictures of the new boy as I have them. He’s yet to be named, mostly because for the first couple of days I struggled to look at him without crying. He’s spicy like his sister, and I think Chloe realizes this as she’s shoved him around a lot since day one. It’s like she’s trying to raise a more respectful child this time around…though I don’t think she’s going to have much luck.
Even after losing Remy, I was filled with a sense that I’ve been blessed. I walked out in the field to check water and four of the best horses were watching my every move. Robin walked up to me and shoved her head in my chest while Copper, Paige and Joey looked on from where they stood. I’m forever grateful that I didn’t have any of these issues with Joey when he was born and that my herd is otherwise healthy and happy. It hasn’t been an easy year horse wise between losing Remy and Copper’s navicular diagnosis, but hopefully we’ll manage to keep it together the rest of the year and be able to make progress that will keep our minds off of our losses.