Usefulness of a donkey
I currently own a horse and I keep him at a stable not far from where I live. The owners of the stable have offered to give me a donkey (a California Mule — I think that is name of the breed) He is a 4-year-old gelding with a great personality. However I have never owned a Donkey in my life! was considering using him as a pack animal for when my husband and I go hunting. But other than that I have no idea what I will do with him for the rest of the year and I don’t know much about Donkeys. I looked on-line for info, but found it lacking. So any info you have will be great! (Like how long they live, uses other than packing, how much weight can it carry etc.)
Donkeys are different from mules. Donkeys are fertile and can reproduce. Mules, on the other hand, are a hybrid cross between a jack donkey (male) and a mare (horse). We have two donkeys and a mule and love them all. Donkeys can easily be trained for riding, packing loads, and driving carts or light buggies. Like most homestead animals, the more use you get out of them year around, the more economical they are. Of course, some end up as large pets. Mine don’t get the use they could, other than petting, hugging, and feeding. Donkeys, with good care, often live into their thirties. This good care not only means feeding and keeping them well housed but regular hoof and teeth care. As horses and donkeys get into their teens, their teeth tend to get longer and wear to sharp points/edges which lessen their ability to eat and chew their food well enough for good digestion. A simple check by your vet will tell you if this is happening. If so, they can float the teeth. This means they file the edges and points down smooth. Then the animal can once again eat and chew well. Donkey hooves are quite hard and without being trimmed regularly will grow and grow. And they grow crooked and can eventually lame the animal. With regular trimming, the feet grow normally and very seldom ever need shoeing like a horse, even when used on rocky ground.
Donkeys can carry more weight than a pony of the same size. As I don’t know how big your donkey-to-be is, I can’t give you an exact weight limit. Generally, you can pack a 13-hand donkey with about 125-130 pounds, including the weight of a pack saddle and pad. The smaller the donkey, the less weight they should be asked to carry. There are, of course, many stories of huge weights carried by donkeys (also called burros), especially in the mining days of the Old West. But these are not “good” weights for a donkey to carry and can cause permanent damage to its back and legs. — Jackie
Planting Brussels sprouts in an asparagus bed
Would it be possible to plant two or three Brussels sprout plants IN the asparagus bed? The soil is really great and the asparagus would be dying back by the time the sprouts were ready. I add composted manure every fall.
Unless your asparagus bed is quite new, I’d not plant Brussels sprouts in it for fear of damaging the long roots of the asparagus plants. If the bed is new and the plants are still far apart with smaller roots, you could do it this year, but I wouldn’t want to do it next for fear of possible damage. If your bed is weed free, you might get away with either planting quite small plants or seeds. The growing Brussels sprouts wouldn’t hurt the asparagus a bit and you could get away with that. — Jackie