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Let’s Meet Martha Stewart’s 5 Donkeys

Updated: Jan 18, 2022

While she isn’t decorating her beautiful homes or showing us how to make a magnificent appetizer for the holidays, Martha Stewart takes care of her five donkeys at her beautiful farm in Bedford, New York

They’re local celebrities. “No one ever passes the donkey paddock without saying hello to my five fun-loving donkeys - Rufus, Clive, Billie, Jude “JJ” Junior, and Truman “TJ” Junior,” Martha said recently.

Photo Credit: Ed Attanasio

This quintet spends most of the day outdoors in a paddock just down the carriage road from my home. Like many animals, donkeys are happiest when outside where they can roam and play. These donkeys also bray quite a bit - one can hear them from across the fields. In the late afternoon, the five are brought back into the stable, where they are groomed and fed.

Here is a brief update that was originally posted back in March. “When the weather is wet or windy, donkeys need access to a warm and dry shelter. A run-in is essential for donkeys. Donkeys originated in a desert climate, but are very hardy, provided they are given adequate accommodations.”

“Donkeys are herd animals, so they are often seen together in one group. Ideally, their outdoor space should consist of donkey-safe grazing pasture, and at least half an acre of land per donkey – more if possible.”

“Whenever someone comes near, the donkeys start walking over to say hello. Do you know… a donkey is capable of hearing another donkey from up to 60 miles away in the proper conditions. They have a great sense of hearing, in part because of their large ears.

“Some donkeys love to play with balls. The donkeys have several Jolly balls in their enclosures. Sometimes they will bite, throw and run with these balls. They’re a fun way to expend energy and provide good mental stimulation.”

“The important thing is to keep the donkeys from overeating. Eating too much protein and other nutrient-rich foods can make them sick. They also tend to gain weight very easily. I am very glad these donkeys are in excellent shape.”

The donkey or ass is a domesticated member of the horse family, Equidae. The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African wild ass, E. africanus. The donkey has been used as a working animal for at least 5000 years.

Back in their stall, the donkeys are eagerly awaiting their dinner. Billie and Rufus are hoping it will come soon. Donkeys are generally calm, intelligent, and have a natural inclination to like people. Donkeys show less obvious signs of fear than horses. In fact, Rufus looks like he is smiling.

“The donkey’s sense of smell is considered to be similar to the horse. Donkeys greet each other by smelling and blowing in each other’s nose. The smell of breath imparts important information to the donkey.”

“Although donkeys are very conscious of safety in their surroundings, they are also quite curious. All the donkeys have very different and fun personalities. Donkeys also have a reputation for stubbornness but this is because of their highly developed sense of self-preservation. It’s difficult to force or frighten a donkey into doing something that’s contrary to its own best interest or safety.

About Oscars Place Adoption Center & Animal Sanctuary

Oscar’s Place | The Selway Family Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization committed to the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of donkeys abused or abandoned. When an animal suffers because humans are unkind, Oscar’s Place steps in. While we’re just a team of everyday individuals, we deeply care for and are committed to providing a safe haven for farm animals in need.

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