Spring 2021 Peaceful Valley Gazzette

Peaceful Valley Gazette
News, tips and more for PVDR adopters and donkey lovers
Donkey Health and Well-Being

Putting a Spring in Your Donkey's Step

(Photo credit: PVDR West Newbury, MA)
With a brutal winter behind us for much of the United States, it's time to turn our sights to donkey health and wellbeing this Spring. Below are some of the more important considerations:
Donkey Diets and Spring Grass
The pretty spring grass that emerges as a beautiful shade of Kelly green can bring a surge of laminitis cases, especially for donkeys. It, along with unrestricted grazing can cause weight and other health issues. We encourage donkey adopters to learn about a proper donkey diet for their climate, their animals, and their conditions. There are many resources available, but we always recommend starting with your veterinarian who knows your donkeys, has seen your pasture/paddock space, and can make recommendations specific for your situation.
Fly Season
With the warmer weather comes the inevitable fly season. There are many ways to mitigate the volume of flies such as a good manure management plan, feed through fly control, fly baits, and even fly predators. The best cure is prevention - so doing everything you can to limit the flies before they get out of control is always the best practice, but not always easy. If flies do become an issue, masks, fly spray and fly sheets are options, but they can sometimes be tricky with donkeys, and typically don’t address the real issue - which for donkeys seems to be fly strike on their legs. Getting ahead of the flies and limiting the leg bites with cream based fly repellent products has worked well for some of our adopters. Fans in barns can provide relief for the donkeys and their humans. Again, your vet and/or County Extension office may have other suggestions specific to your location.
Spring Vaccines
We recommend following the AAEP core guidelines for annual vaccinations for your donkeys, which includes: Tetanus, Rabies, West Nile Virus and Eastern, Western and Venezuelan equine encephalomyelitis. West Nile Virus (WNV) and Equine Encephalomyelitis (EE) are transmitted by biting insects, so it’s generally suggested to give these vaccines in the early spring, several weeks before mosquito season starts. We also suggest talking to your vet about Risk Based Vaccines which require a risk-benefit analysis by a qualified professional. The use of risk-based vaccinations will vary regionally. To learn more, visit https://aaep.org/guidelines/vaccination-guidelines.
Internal Parasite Control
Worming protocols for equines have changed significantly over the past years, and we now know more about the best methods of controlling and treating internal parasites. The best practice is to conduct fecal tests. The fecal test will let you know what the worm load is, what type of worms your donkey has, and the best worming plan for your specific animal. This needs to be done in conjunction with your vet and your spring vaccine and dental check appointment is a great time to do it.  
Dental Care
While your vet is out to give spring vaccines, please ask them to look at your donkeys teeth. Dental care is often overlooked in equines, but without their teeth functioning properly, digestion, weight and other issues can turn into life threatening situations. Even if your vet doesn’t provide “floats” or other dental procedures, they should be able to tell you what your donkey needs and likely refer you to an equine dentist. Trust us - we see some shocking neglect when it comes to mouths - most of which could have been prevented with routine dental exams.
Hoof Care
This is the season where donkey hooves seem to grow at an accelerated rate. If you skipped a trim (or two) over the winter, don’t delay in getting back on your farrier's schedule. Regular and routine hoof care is the best way to prevent problems before they start. We see an increase in abscesses, thrush and whiteline this time of year due to spring showers softening soles and hoof walls. Your farrier will be able to spot and help correct these and make suggestions for ongoing care and maintenance of your donkeys feet based on your topography, climate, pasture and overall donkey diet.
Special Projects

Wild Burro Update

(Photo: A wild burro foal giving our founder and CEO, Mark Meyers, a little "love tap" while loading from the capture pens into a transport trailer)
Our Wild Burro Project team opened the 2020 season with a bang! 48 Burros were humanely captured and safely transported to the PVDR Furnace Creek Holding Facility to await blood work and eventual transport to both our Scenic, Arizona and San Angelo, Texas Facilities. These 48 were all from Butte Valley, the southernmost part of Death Valley National Park.
Next, the crew will be heading to Saline Valley on the western border of Death Valley to remove the Burros around the hot springs. Because of COVID-19, the hot springs are closed to visitors and will give the team a better chance of catching the burros without the interference of local campers. The campers feed the Burros and encourage behavior that ultimately leads to the Burros becoming a nuisance. While some visitors enjoy the interaction with the Burros, others do not and will abuse the Burros to make them leave. We have had issues with people sabotaging our traps in a misguided attempt to “help” the Burros. The National Park Service has a strict “Zero Horse and Burro Policy” and can shoot them if they are not removed.
After Saline, the crew will head to Wildrose, another area of Death Valley, to remove the small herd there. Much of Death Valley is surrounded by Bureau of Land Management administered lands. Their Burro populations are usually over populated and tend to wander onto PVDR controlled land as we remove our Burros. Wildrose and Butte Valley were virtually Burro free after last season, just to be repopulated by Burros coming from adjacent areas.
The final phase will occur at Owl Spring. This is a new area for us in 2020. In 2019, Senator Feinstein strengthened the California Desert Protection Act by adding certain areas to the National Park Service’s control. The “Bowling Alley”, a strip of land separating Death Valley from Fort Irwin is now a part of the Park. This means that all of the Burros roaming from Fort Irwin through this area into Death Valley are all now under PVDR Management.
To date, we have saved 506 donkeys, including the babies born to the wild jennies after they were in our care, as part of the Wild Burro Program. Stay tuned for more exciting updates as PVDR solves the Burro management crisis in our country.
Follow the Wild Burro Project on Facebook@WildBurroProject
By Founder and CEO, Mark Meyers

20 Years of Saving Donkeys

December 3, 2020 marked a very special occasion for the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue; the Twentieth Anniversary of Amy and I receiving our Articles of Incorporation from the California Secretary of State.
When we founded PVDR, it was with the intention of helping donkeys within our community. At the time we lived in Acton California, a small hobby farm town on the outskirts of northern Los Angeles County. We thought it would be a good way to teach our sons responsibility and compassion. We had no idea how much our lives would change because of that fateful decision.
Five years and two hundred and fifty donkeys later, we decided to sell our businesses, move to a larger property in Tehachapi, CA and rescue donkeys full-time. It was quite a leap of faith, fundraising was doing well but the rescue could only afford to pay Amy and I $400 per week. An amount that remained the same for the next five years.
The Tehachapi Facility was on 140 acres in the mountains above Bakersfield. As we were starting from scratch, Amy and I lived in a small RV and the boys lived in a small building that would eventually become the tool shed. The facility had several large paddocks, Quonset hut type shelters, two hay barns and several smaller pens for the seniors, special needs and even a bison. We offered free field trips and could manage 200 students at one time.
The Satellite Adoption Center (SAC) program began in 2006. As I sat looking out the window, drinking my morning coffee and staring at 100 newly arrived BLM Sale Burros, I realized that we were
going to have to get creative if we were going to adopt all of these donkeys. The SAC program had never been attempted by an equine rescue before and Amy thought no one in their right mind would take our donkeys, love them like us and help us find them homes. Lucky for us
and the donkeys, she was wrong.
Without a strong adoption program, we could never solve all of the issues that donkeys, both wild and domestic, were facing and that is exactly what PVDR is doing. Solving all of the issues that donkey are facing here and throughout the colonized world.
In 2008, Texas Parks and Wildlife was exposed for shooting 98 wild donkeys in the Big Bend State Park. The news went national and we were called in to remove the remaining donkeys humanely. I went out to Texas to get the project rolling...I never left. After appearing on Texas Country Reporter, a very popular TV show in Texas, my phone exploded. It seems every Texas Sheriff had a donkey problem and now they had some fool from California to solve it for them.
Amy and our sons remained in Tehachapi for the next two years managing the ranch and its employees. Every once in a while, Amy would meet me in Tucson for a date weekend. In 2010 we had found someone to take over for Amy and she and our sons joined me in the metropolis that was Miles, Texas - population 800.
In 2011, Amy and I boarded a flight to Kona, Hawaii and flew back with 120 Kona Nightingales, the nickname for the wild donkey population there. A prolonged drought had forced the donkeys from their mountain home down to the lush golf courses of the resorts. It was the largest shipment of equine ever flown. When we arrived at LAX, we were met by a fleet of trucks and trailers, including our Satellite Managers Joan Dunkle and Fred Clark. The donkeys were taken to Tehachapi to decompress from the stress of the long flight.
Later in 2011, we purchased our current ranch in neighboring San Angelo, Texas. It is a 172 acre former dairy. It was well suited to our needs but was in desperate need of refurbishment. In 2012, the Trustees decided to close and sell Tehachapi and consolidate in Texas. I spent the better part of that year hauling several hundred donkeys, 24 at a time, to Texas.
Project Sanctuary was launched in 2012 in an effort to cut costs by putting some of our donkeys on grazing leases instead of dry los. It was slow to get off the ground as West Texas Ranchers were skeptical and afraid we would simply dump our donkeys and never return. Fortunately, Skipper Duncan took a chance and allowed us to place 100 donkeys on his ranch in Irion County Texas. After seeing our commitment to the donkeys and the fact that we paid our bill each month, Skipper became an advocate and reference. We now have over 20 Sanctuaries capable of holding between 50 and 200 donkeys each.
At the Spring Trustee Meeting in 2018, it was decided to open Regional Facilities in Scenic, Arizona and Concord, Virginia. These facilities would each have Regional Managers responsible for training, Satellite Adoption Center management and donkey transportation as well as conduct rescue cases in their areas. With all three facilities up and running, PVDR can typically respond to rescue cases within 24 hours anywhere in the country.
Amy and I never set out to become the largest equine rescue in the world, only the best. It looks like those two qualities go hand in hand.
Best of Social Media

Sanctuary Sunrise

We always have amazing photos of the donkeys on our social media pages. Fan favorites are “Tongue out Tuesdays” and “Flehmen Fridays” and of course photos and videos of baby donkeys. But this photo shows another side of our organization, and it’s spectacular to boot.
PVDR manages over 20 sanctuary sites where herds from 20 to 150 donkeys are placed in areas where there is sufficient grazing available to support the donkey’s needs. The donkeys are inspected daily to ensure that they are healthy.
Vaccines are provided annually and deworming takes place twice per year. Hooves are either trimmed on-site or the donkeys are brought back to our main facility. Our sanctuary sites allow us to care for many more donkeys than our main facilities would allow. For Wild Burros who wouldn’t be eligible for our adoption program, it allows them a sense of freedom and closely mimics their natural habitat.
Follow our Sanctuary Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/donkeysanctuaryus/ to see more fantastic images like this one.

Join our Team of Volunteer Satellite Centers

Our Satellite Center program is the key to our success in helping to gentle and train our donkeys then find them great homes all across the U.S. To learn more and apply, visit https://donkeyrescue.org/adoption/become-a-pvdr-satellite/. After we receive your application one of our Regional Managers will contact you to discuss the program further and review next steps.  

Donkeys and Children: A Magical Mix

By Claudia Campbell, Southeast Florida Adoption Center Manager
Have you ever noticed how animals respond to children differently? I have noticed this with my donkeys every time children come to my farm and it’s always beautiful to watch. Our farm offers programs for children that are designed to educate and to heal. The donkeys are such a wonderful part of these programs. They LOVE when children are here and when they see groups of children -, they bombard us at the gate with anticipation!
They surround the children and are even especially careful not
to accidentally step on a little foot. Their demeanor is so gentle and loving, and always curious. The way they stand for the children to wrap their arms around them is such an amazing sight to see. It’s as if they know they are innocent and there is an innate sense of trust.
What these donkeys have helped accomplish is an understanding that can’t be learned without experience. I allow the children to enter THEIR space. We go into THEIR paddock. So I teach the children to respect their home and their space. I teach them that they can only pet or hug them if the donkeys come to them. If the donkeys aren’t at the gate waiting for us, I have the children stand and wait for the donkeys to come up, which they always do now.
I tell the children about how they are rescued and what that means. It’s such an important thing for children to know what rescue is and how much it is needed in this world. With my donkeys, I am able to help these children have an understanding of how much animals in general need us and equally how much we need them. You can’t learn that from a textbook.
I am grateful for my goofy little donkeys because they are helping to create good little people. We need children to lead the way in the future to help animals. Learning from experience is the best way to start. We look forward to creating many more life changing positive memories with the help of the donkeys.