I was at Town Barton Farm recently and thought you would like an update on some of the mules our staff are working with.
Fidget is clearly led by his stomach!
Fidget is part of a large group of mules that were rescued and relinquished into our care in October 2008. Fidget’s feet are very long and he doesn't like them being touched or lifted off the ground. It's important that he learns how to do this so that the farrier can trim his feet. The grooms at Town Barton normally work in pairs when training the mules. This is because mules can be very unpredictable, but in this case, they have found that three is definitely not a crowd! Emma is able to rub Fidget’s shoulder and run her hand down her front leg if Genna is rubbing him on the other side. This prevents him moving away from Emma. Lil has the easy job! She holds the bucket with a small amount of tasty chopped fibre. Fidget is clearly led by his stomach as he tolerates Emma picking up his front feet while his head is in the bucket!
Terrific progress for Rags
The grooms have been working well with Rags until she got an eye infection so had to have drops in her eyes which made her very wary of human contact again.
Lil has been spending some time just getting her confidence. Here you can see that Lil has Rags’ attention although you can see from her expression, she is worried as she is standing quietly. Rags was later able to accept Lil rubbing her withers and was able to quietly approach Rags and put on a head collar - which is terrific progress.
Improving mule partitions
Our workshop staff have built these lovely new divisions for the inside of one of the larger barns that houses three groups of mules.
We are now able to safely separate the three groups. The high boarded partitions are attached to the feeders and the floor. With “donkey height” partitions the mules tended to jump over or climb over them so this improved system will be much safer for them this winter.
Effective mule fencing
Mules do tend to eat the post and rail fencing so our workshop staff have also devised a method to prevent this.
From this photo you can see that the inside of the rails are now lined with aluminium strips. Simple but effective.
The plastic mesh also helps to reduce the wind blowing into the yard and stops the loose straw blowing out.