My Love For Donkeys

This was originally written in the early days of The Angora Chronicles, with the times freshened up for this time period.

In about 1959 I got Tar Baby. He was a fine specimen. Kenny always had good horses, but I preferred riding Tar Baby. He was given to me by my Grandmother Leona’s brother, Uncle Ed Purcell.

I rode him in many rodeo parades and just for a leisurely ride. I usually wasn’t in a hurry and neither was Tar Baby.

When it came time to help gather cattle or goats, I’d have to mount up on a horse. Otherwise I was fine with my donkey.

We kept him around until about the time I left home in 1970. He was given to Loftin Meredith to tie colts to, so they could be taught to lead.

I was out of the donkey business until we moved to Bertram.

Needing something to guard my Barbado sheep from dogs and coyotes I decided to buy some miniature Sicilian donkeys. They are reputed to be very good for that purpose.

I started out with a Jack (male) and 3 Jenny’s (females) about 27 years ago. The gestation period is a long 11 months but it seems like there were always little ones running around. I gave donkeys to everyone that came along. Several times the ones I gave away came back, because the owner would need to get rid of them.

About 10 years ago, when we’re were moving to Corpus Christi I decided to take them to an exotics sale in Lampasas just to get them off of the place. To sell a donkey (or horse) in a public sale they have to be Coggins tested. The Coggins tests cost $25 per head, but it mandatory.

With help from my brother, we took them to the vet for testing and then Kenny took them on to the sale. The only one that didn’t go was the little jack. Lucky is his name. He is the smallest donkey on the place, Always. When one of his offspring become a few months old, they become bigger than him.

I have a tender place in my heart for a poor little fellow that has spent 2 decades with his only duty being to make more babies.

Figuring his days were numbered, I’d let him retire and hang out by himself.

Kenny returned later that evening with one donkey, a little jenny in the trailer. The vet had made a mistake. The paper work on the test showed a jack, so they refused her.

I told him to dump her out.

Maybe Lucky did need a little bit of companionship.

I looked up a few months ago and 3 more donkeys had appeared. One by one, every 11 months or so.

The 4 left together in a trailer a few months and Lucky is there alone. He will soon make his home over with my grandson, William (Catfish) Lewis.

Back to selling the donkeys in the exotics sale. It was at a time when the central Texas drought was at its worse. There was no grass. Hay cost was at an all time high. Donkey prices were at an all time low. Therefore with the price for donkeys being so cheap they charged a per each price to sell them instead if a percentage. I think it was $20 per head. So that and the cost of the Coggins test was $45 total expense each.

They brought as much as $30 and as low as $5. There were more than 20 head. I think it cost me about $400 just to get rid of them. Not a good business deal but one I didn’t regret.

This is a picture of me on Tar Baby with our Cousin Peggy on Sunburst (a very fine Shetland that we raced at Paleface several times) and Kenny on the ground. This was taken in 1961 when I was 9 yrs old.

This is a momma and baby at Bertram a few years ago.

Footnote; Lucky, my little Jack that was suppose to go to my Grandson Will, sadly died there on the place in Bertram a few years ago.

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