On this day in 1732, George Washington was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, the second son from the second marriage of a colonial plantation owner. An initially loyal British subject, Washington eventually led the Continental Army in the American Revolution and became known as the father of the United States.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 69 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $15,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  6. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  7. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  8. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  9. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $2,400 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. A selection of canned meats containing a 10 pack of 28oz cans of Premium Beef and a 5 pack of 28oz cans of Premium Pork from Wertz’s Farm Market (a $300 value),
  9. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  10. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  3. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  4. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  5. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  6. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  7. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  8. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  9. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
  10. Fifteen LifeStraws from SafeCastle (a $300 value).
  11. A $250 gift certificate to Tober’s Traditions, makers of all natural (organic if possible) personal care products, such as soap, tooth powder, deodorant, sunscreen, lotion, and more.

Round 69 ends on March 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Donkeys As Pack Animals For Survival And Recreation- Part 2, by B.W.

We are fortunate to have a mother donkey and two of her offspring from subsequent years who are both females (jennys). We have had the younger ones since they were foals and have hiked with them and their mother since they were four or five months old. The mother was always on a lead, but the younger one were both on lead and off lead. By doing this we trained the younger ones to keep up with us off lead when we are in wide open spaces. As a result of this, we can hike in the state forests on old logging roads with the younger ones off lead even without the mother, and the youngsters look at us as the lead donkey and rarely ever get more than 100 yards away from us. The mother donkey can not reliably be turned loose off lead. She doesn’t run away, but she considers herself to be the leader since she was older when we got her and makes little attempt to keep up with us. We are blessed to live in a place where we can go with our donkeys and dogs off lead. This is definitely an advantage of rural living in areas with vast expanses of public land. Our donkeys also forage as they go through the woods with their packs. This makes for more efficient travel as it reduces the amount of roughage that must be carried. When the younger donkeys are off lead, they sometimes lag behind and sometimes run ahead, but they do not impede our general travel speed. When they come back to make contact with us, we reward them with a scratch behind the ears or a treat. When we were at the second annual International Donkey Symposium in Davis, California a couple of years ago, I talked to a donkey rescuer who would go for extended treks into the desert alone with seven or eight pack donkeys. He would lead the dominant donkey, and all the others would follow. This made it feasible for him to carry alot of gear and water while only having to control one donkey.

In addition to the fact that donkeys’ feet are smaller than a horse, they are much tougher and more elastic. They rarely if ever need to be shod. I jog with my donkeys on back country gravel roads, which naturally keep their feet trimmed, and I’ve never had any lameness issues. If your donkeys spend all their time on lush soft pasture, you will need to manually trim their feet. Donkeys are much less likely to get laminitis than horses. Laminitis is an inflammation of the feet often caused by over eating of concentrates, among other causes. It causes immediate lameness that can permanently change the conformation of the feet leading to chronic lameness.

Donkeys have the reputation of being stubborn, ornery animals, which I believe is undeserved. I will admit that all our donkeys are jennys and not jacks (males), making them much easier to handle. It would be my recommendation that if you get a male donkey for working purposes that you get a gelding or castrated jack. The reason that donkeys appear stubborn is that they are more cautious and less reactive than horses. Horses, especially horses that have not been handled a lot, respond to you on the ground in a round pen situation because of their reactive natures. You can create a desired movement by the horse as a reaction to a movement by you on the ground in the center of that circle. This is due to the self preserving herd based nature of the horse. A similar movement by you to a donkey may produce a donkey that looks at you as if to say ” What on earth are you doing?”. Donkeys are actually more intelligent than horses, but they learn their lessons more slowly and in a different way. However, once they learn a lesson whether good or bad, they rarely forget it. I have always tried to use coaxing rather than coercion on my donkeys when training, and as a result they are very loving and tractable animals. As with all animals, all training sessions should end on a good note with the animal doing something no matter how small that it can be praised for. Donkeys are also extremely steady. The first time I put their harness on they acted as if they had worn it their entire lives. In addition, they seem to be completely unaffected by gunfire. They frequently come and stand by the fence while I target practice with my Ruger Blackhawk in 44 mag.

One advantage of having several smaller pack animals rather than one large animal, such as a horse, in an emergency situation is that in the case of a debilitating injury or sickness you can redistribute your load between the remaining animals, whereas if your one large animal goes down you will have to leave most of your supplies there and only take what you can carry on your back.

Besides carrying loads, donkeys can pull carts and wagons, if the terrain allows. They can easily pull two times their body weight. Another job that they are used for is as a guard for other animals, such as sheep and cattle. Donkeys are very tuned in to dogs as possible threats because of this, so if you get donkeys I would recommend exposing them to your dogs at a young age to allow them to get comfortable with each other.

In the actual packing of your donkeys, the most important idea is to not overload them and to balance their load. Some people carry a small hanging scale for this purpose. I tighten my cinch which goes around their chest pretty tight with the girth less so. A small tie between cinch and girth strap will keep the girth strap from slipping back. The packing harness also has a chest strap and a rump strap to keep it from sliding backwards and forwards. These should be loose enough to not impede motion but tight enough perform their function. I try to keep the chest strap loose enough to allow the donkey to put its head down easily. My last pack I purchased had a saddle pad that attached to the wooden saddle. This was a great improvement over a saddle that just sat on top of the pad in that it kept the pad from sliding around. Also it is best to pack heavier items lower and lighter bulky items higher in the pannier.

I vaccinate our donkeys for tetanus, equine influenza, eastern and western encephalomyelitis, and rabies. I deworm them every three or four months and rotate the classes of wormers I use to minimize parasite resistance. However, proper manure management has been shown to be just as effective in reducing intestinal worm burdens in equines. Other vaccines, such as West Nile, may be important in your area. You should contact your local veterinarian.

After considering the possibility of using donkeys as pack animals for quite some time, the final impetus for actually getting animals of our own was a trip to Colorado for a veterinary meeting. While there, we learned that donkey racing is very popular in Colorado and is being considered as the Colorado state sport. There are five mountain towns that during the months of July and August have races on subsequent weekends that range from five miles to the granddaddy race that is 26 miles long and ends at 13,000 feet in altitude. The rules are simple; you run with your donkey and both of you must cross the finish line together. The donkey must also carry a shovel, a pick, and a gold pan, since this is supposed to be a re-creation of the old miner’s races to establish gold claims. So we went to get a young donkey from a breeder in New Jersey and came back with the mother who happened to be pregnant, and now we have three. This is about par for the course from what I hear from other people with donkeys. They are like potato chips; you can never have just one. Had I known that these animals were so loving and affectionate and such a joy to have around, I would have had them long ago. I can not walk in my back yard without them braying at me for attention. This appears to not necessarily be a need for treats, since they seem to be quite happy with a hug and a scratch behind the ears.

I purchased my packsaddles and panniers online from Bantam Pack Saddles in Idaho. These are custom made based on your donkey’s measurements, were reasonably priced, and have proven very functional. As far as where to get a donkey, there are breeders online, and the U.S. government has a program to find homes for excess donkeys on BLM lands. There are also various donkey rescue organizations, which have donkeys for sale. Lastly, there are animal auction houses where donkeys are available. If you get younger animals I would recommend trying to see the mother and father to get an idea of how big they are going to be. Donkeys don’t reach their full height until they are two years old and don’t fill out completely until four or five. So you can’t fit their packs until they are two. If the animal is an adult, handle it a lot, especially the feet, and see it in action if it is a working animal. A veterinary pre-purchase exam is always a good thing also to insure you are getting a healthy animal.

While I hope that our need for our donkeys will only be for recreational purposes, such as donkey racing in Colorado, hauling an elk out of the woods in Idaho, or just having some really sweet pets, I have no doubt that in an emergency situation they will meet our needs as pack animals. They are always eager for adventure and practically run to load in their stock trailer for hiking trips now. Mechanical means of transport are great in times of plenty and on trails where they are allowed, but in Pennsylvania there are almost no public lands where you can take off road or on road vehicles with the exception for snowmobiles, which are obviously only wintertime vehicles. So for recreational purposes in the state and national forests, pack animals are a good way to go for long camping trips. In times of emergency when there is no fuel or electricity to pump the fuel or vehicles functional to use the fuel, we truly will be thrown 100 years into the past, and pack animals will be a must. Consider owning donkeys. You won’ t be disappointed.

Letter Re: License Plate Readers

HJL,

There are lots of comments on defeating plate readers. Before anyone gets too cranked up about defeating them, they should consider that plate readers may be what helps the cops recover their vehicle when it’s stolen.

They are a powerful tool and like any other information collection system, I suppose the information can be misused, but I’m not clear exactly how that would happen.

Our local police department had a residential burglary with a witness providing a partial plate. Cops ran the partial for similiars and got a picture of the whole plate and the driver and recovered all the loot. Put the burglar in jail. – H.L.

HJL’s Comment: This is always the trade– freedom for safety. How much of your freedom are you willing to trade for a little bit of safety? Our society is steadily marching towards the “safety” zone and giving up more of their freedoms in the process. However, then the question becomes: “Is it really safety or just slavery under the guise of safety?”.

Economics and Investing:

Natural Gas Bulls Crushed As Prices Tank. Natural gas prices have plunged to their lowest level since November due to mild weather and the threat of increasing supply.

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Silver Bullion – The Buying Opportunity of the Decade – DSV

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CONTINENTAL RESOURCES: Example Of What Is Horribly Wrong With The U.S. Shale Oil Industry

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Global Trade Disaster Nearly Certain

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SurvivalBlog and its editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for details.

JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Books:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

The Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook: Easy Recipes for Fast & Healthy Meals

Movies:

God’s Not Dead

Galaxy Quest

Music:

Lau: Lightweights & Gentlemen

Leo Kottke: Six And Twelve String Guitar

Instructional Videos:

DIY How to add Paracord to your MFT Battlelink Stock

Podcasts:

Radio Free Redoubt: Episode 17-06: Do Not Oppress the Sojourner – and – HUNTED: Analysis and Review. (Also available via iTunes.)

The Survival Podcast: Episode-799- Greenhouse Thoughts, Construction, Usage and Considerations

Blogs:

Total Survivalist Blog

Brushbeater

Gear:

Rothco Flyers Helmet Shoulder Bag, Olive Drab (These are great for organizing and transporting sets of web gear for your defensive guns.)

Flambeau Outdoors 7-Tray Hip Roof Tackle Box. (Not just for fishing, these are perfect for storing spare gun parts.)

AlienTACS CQC Transformer Wide Padded Quick Adjust 2-Point 1-1/4″ Sling

Odds ‘n Sods:

France slaughtering all ducks in key region due to bird flu – B.B.

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Supremes to Decide if Foreigners Have Constitutional Rights – DSV

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‘Progressives’ Fantasizing about Civil War like Children Playing with Fire – S.L.

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Runner’s foot impaled by nail purposely placed on trail, 40 total found in park – G.P.

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Connecticut governor proposes massive fee hike on gun owners – P.R.

Notes for Tuesday – February 21, 2017

February 21st is the birthday of Zimbabwe’s President For Life, Comrade Robert Mugabe (born 1924). Despite the 2011 revelations of the apparent murder of at least 640 political opponents, Mugabe was elected again in 2013 to a five year term in office. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF henchmen must be driven out office and sent to prison, where they belong!

February 21st is also the birthday of Group Captain Douglas Bader (born 1910, died 5 September 1982). He was a Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter ace during the Second World War. He lost his legs in a pre-war flying accident, but that didn’t stop him from re-entering the RAF when war broke out. He was credited with 20 aerial victories, four shared victories, six probables, one shared probable, and 11 enemy aircraft damaged. Bader was eventually shot down and became a POW in Germany. Since the Luftwaffe ran its own POW camps, he became a celebrity with his captors. The Germans would lock up his hollow metal prosthetic legs each night to prevent him from escaping. Bader’s autobiography Reach for the Sky is a must for those studying aviation in World War II.

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Today, we present another entry for Round 69 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $15,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate that is good for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,195 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper with a hammer forged, chrome-lined barrel and a hard case to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel, which can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools and a compact carry capability in a hard case or 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. An infrared sensor/imaging camouflage shelter from Snakebite Tactical in Eureka, Montana (A $350+ value),
  6. Gun Mag Warehouse is providing 20 Magpul PMAG 30-rd Magazines (a value of $300) and a Gun Mag Warehouse T-Shirt; (an equivalent prize will be awarded for residents in states with magazine restrictions),
  7. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  8. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  9. Two cases of meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value).

Second Prize:

  1. A Tactical Self-Contained 2-Series Solar Power Generator system from Always Empowered. This compact starter power system is packaged in a wheeled O.D. green EMP-shielded Pelican hard case (a $2,400 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. A pre-selected assortment of military surplus gear from CJL Enterprize (a $300 value),
  8. A selection of canned meats containing a 10 pack of 28oz cans of Premium Beef and a 5 pack of 28oz cans of Premium Pork from Wertz’s Farm Market (a $300 value),
  9. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
  10. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Third Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  3. A custom made Sage Grouse model utility/field knife from custom knife-maker Jon Kelly Designs, of Eureka, Montana,
  4. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  5. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  6. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  7. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances,
  8. Montie Gear is donating a Y-Shot Slingshot and a $125 Montie gear Gift certificate.,
  9. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value), and
  10. Fifteen LifeStraws from SafeCastle (a $300 value).
  11. A $250 gift certificate to Tober’s Traditions, makers of all natural (organic if possible) personal care products, such as soap, tooth powder, deodorant, sunscreen, lotion, and more.

Round 69 ends on March 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.

Donkeys as Pack Animals for Survival and Recreation- Part 1, by B.W.

Moving unobtrusively over land with pack animals whether for recreation or in an emergency situation is both enjoyable and possibly a lifesaving endeavor. This article concerns my experience with donkeys as a veterinarian and as someone who has prepared as much as possible over the years for whatever circumstances may arise in the world we live in. I hope this information will persuade you to look into pack animals, such as donkeys, in your preparedness planning if your circumstances will allow.

My wife and I have owned and ridden horses for the majority of our lives but got out of the horse business about eight years ago primarily due to a downsizing in pasture acreage. We have had donkeys now for the past four years. I did not consider myself “expert ” enough to write an article on donkeys, but after reading a few discussions about donkeys on other survival blogs, I realized that the public has many misconceptions about them. To most they are cute but rather stubborn lawn ornaments, but as I have learned they are actually very hardworking affectionate pack animals with tons of personality.

Donkeys have been working animals for man for over 5000 years. They are by far the most used and abused working animal in the world with over 41 million worldwide. The vast majority of these are in third world countries, where the availability of mechanized implements are limited primarily due to economics. The conditions existing in these countries now are similar to those that would exist in the United States after a total grid breakdown, economic collapse, or other nationwide debilitating natural disaster. Donkeys in these third world countries today are hard working survival animals that allow these people to do jobs and provide for their families when otherwise they would be unable to do so. However, due to limited resources and social mores that don’t allow for the promotion of the human animal bond, these animals live shortened lives with the average being 12-15 years in these countries while donkeys are fully capable of living twice that long if treated well. The Donkey Sanctuary is a U.K.-based donkey welfare group that is active worldwide showing people how to make inexpensive pads for packing donkeys and inexpensive harnesses for other donkeys that haul carts and wagons. By teaching these people that it is not only good for the animal when they care for its welfare but also good for them economically since the animals can work better and longer, they are showing them that a positive human-animal bond is a win-win situation for both man and animal.

The reasons I got into donkeys were multi-fold, but primarily I wanted a smaller, easy to keep, low impact animal for extended back packing trips that I could house in a relatively small area. I felt they would allow my wife and I to travel further with more supplies by reducing our number of resupply points and allow us to travel with lighter packs on our backs. Donkeys would allow us to carry our more valuable, delicate items, such as firearms, ammo, optics, GPS devices, and other small items in our packs while they could carry food, bedding, and other large items in their panniers. These possibilities would make them ideal for either recreational or emergency travel uses. Whether we were traveling on the trails nearby or trying to escape our local nuclear plant in the case of an EMP with grid shutdown and non-functioning vehicles, donkeys would lighten our load and allow us to carry more of our essentials.

Very early in my thought process about whether to get back into riding horses or walking with pack animals to meet the needs of moving myself and material over difficult terrain, I considered several ideas. First, when I had horses, I would sometimes go on overnighters in the mountainous woods of Pennsylvania with my supplies: this was always a great time, but because the horse was carrying me, it greatly reduced the amount of supplies I could carry. I always wondered where those cowboys in the movies used to keep that big coffee pot, cast iron skillet, side of bacon, et cetera on their horses when all I could see was a small bedroll. Another issue I had was that taking the horse off of an established trail or logging road in mountainous woods was not an easy thing to do. I still always felt that I would still be able to travel much faster over distance riding a horse. However, once when we were on a continuing education trip out west one year, I picked up the book Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne. The book was about the Comanche Indian Nation and the war against them by the U.S. Cavalry during the late 1800’s. The book went into the logistics of moving men and material over long distances using horses with riders, donkeys, and mules with packs and wagons, and infantry walking. The interesting idea that I noted was that the mounted riders only outpaced the walking people and animals for two or three days and then their pace was the same. This bolstered my view that in a situation where my wife and I were moving ourselves with the maximum amount of supplies over long and difficult terrain, we would be most efficient on foot with a small group of pack animals. Donkeys, for their size, can carry a larger load for a longer time than any other pack animal. Donkeys can easily carry 20-25% of their bodyweight in their packs for 10-12 miles per day for extended periods of time and higher weights over short distances. Our donkeys, except for one, are in the 350-400 lb. range, which means that they can carry 80-100 lbs. We do have a smaller donkey, Chili Pepper, who is half mini and weighs a little under 300 lbs. She can’t carry quite as much, but she makes up in spirit what she lacks in size. Donkeys come in many sizes, from minis that weigh as little as 100 lbs. to the mammoth donkey that weighs over 1000 lbs. Our donkeys are small standards, but there are large standards who weigh in the 600-800 lb. range, which is in the small horse size. We chose our donkeys because we felt the smaller size had many more advantages in our situation.

Donkeys are extremely hardy animals that can survive on much less than a horse or pony of similar size. A horse will not do nearly as well on the types of forage that a donkey can live on. It is unclear exactly why donkeys are so much more efficient than horses at thriving on substandard forage, but one reason put forth is the fact that while both species grind their feed by a circular motion of their jaws using their molars as grindstones, the jaws of the donkey make a much larger circle than those of the horse. In addition, it has been suggested that the differences in the donkey’s intestinal microflora make it digestively more efficient than the horse. The bottom line is that a horse requires 2-2.5% of their bodyweight of a higher quality forage on a dry matter basis to thrive while a donkey can live on 1.5% of its body weight in a lower quality forage.

While donkeys, in a pinch, can live on straw– a very low quality forage, I have found that mine do best on first cutting grass hay, which tends to have more stems and seed heads present. First cutting hay is usually less expensive than second cutting hay, which has more broad leaves and is more often fed to horses. Our three donkeys live on 3/4 acre of land in our backyard. We have their space divided into two sections during the warm months. One section is a grassy area; the other area, which is more wooded, contains their barn. Their barn is about 10 feet wide by 32 feet long and is about 10 feet tall. This has proven to be ample space for the donkeys and for the storage of about 60 bales of hay. The donkeys have taken out all of the underbrush in the wooded area but are pretty good at not bothering the larger trees, especially evergreens, if they are provided an equine mineral block. We turn them out on the grassy area for thrre or four hours every day or two during the growing season depending on the amount of grass available. This lets them have the taste of green vegetation, but because of their small area we feed them year round. They each eat an average of 1/4 bale of hay daily and 1/2 lb. of 12% pelleted horse feed daily. Where we live in Pennsylvania, a bale of grass hay runs about $2.75 a bale and a 50 lb. bag of pelleted ration runs $10 dollars, so each donkey costs about $300 a year to keep. If these three donkeys were one horse, the ground would be turned to mush and completely devoid of vegetation in their small area, but because of their small feet the donkeys still have vegetation. These Sicilian donkeys we have were originally desert dwellers, so they do like to roll on bare ground. These are the type of donkeys that lived in the Middle East during the time of Jesus and have the large cross on their back. Because of this need, they do tend to paw out a few bare rolling areas in their pasture that are six to eight feet in diameter that they use on a regular basis.

Another item of concern, especially in a small area such as we have, is manure management. Fortunately, donkeys tend to concentrate their manure in several piles around their living area rather than going in many different places. Where they have these manure piles they will not eat the grass, even though it grows prolifically. I rake my barn area daily and pile it up. Once a week in the winter and more often in the summer, I sprinkle hydrated lime on my barn pile and the various pasture piles. The lime helps degrade the manure, stops insects in their tracks, balances the pH, and controls intestinal parasites. When the smaller piles degrade, I just go over them with a riding lawnmower and puree them over the ground to add organic matter to the soil. A couple of times a year, I move my barn pile to a composting area to make room for more. If you cover it with black plastic in the spring after a season of composting and just after the weeds and grass have sprouted, you can put it in your garden after all of the vegetation in the manure has died.

Letter Re: Total Solar Eclipse 2017

Captain Rawles,

You are correct in publishing that Greenville, SC will be in the sweet spot for viewing the total solar eclipse. In fact, schools in the state are already making adjustments to their schedules, either delaying the start of school or dismissing early the day of the event. Your insight into possible traffic conditions highlighted for me the fact that I-26 from Asheville, NC to Charleston, SC should be in the direct path of totality. I’m running scenarios through my head about regular commuters to the three urban hubs in South Carolina and the eclipse watchers. Perhaps I’ll take a vacation day and stay home. – G.O.

News From The American Redoubt:

Idaho: Dozens of dead owls showing up along I-84: ‘It’s like they fell from the sky’

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A 51st state, called Liberty, would have political clout and an ag-based economy

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An acquaintance who lives near Sandpoint, Idaho is selling an amazingly versatile Bug Out vehicle, based on a U.S. Army 5-Ton M934A1 6×6 multi-fuel truck with an expanding shop van on the back. It even has a snowplow blade. It has been painted charcoal gray.

Description of the truck:

  • Extended Cab-Seats (2)
  • 2 Upgraded Air Ride Seats
  • Cab Entry to Expandable Box
  • Expanded Range Dual Fuel Tanks
  • 10’ width detachable snowplow blade
  • 18,000 lb Waterproof 24VDC Forward Facing Winch
  • Roof Hatch (with Ladder)
  • 2 Forward Facing LED Light Bars
  • Engine Block Heater
  • Roof Mount Tire, Crane and Winch
  • Upgraded Batteries
  • Hitch for Standard Trailers
  • Cummins Diesel Engine (Multi-fuel)
  • Allison Automatic 5-speed Transmission
  • 50″ Tires and Includes a Mounted Spare.
  • Rockwell Axles.
  • Rockwell High/low Range Transfer Case.
  • 4-Person Cab with In-cab Heating.
  • Rear Box Expands from 7’ X 17’ to 14’ X 17’, (230 sq. ft. of interior space)
  • Equipped with Full Electrical Panel with Lights and Electrical Outlets.

Some photos can be seen at this web page. The asking price is $65,000 (negotiable). It can be seen near Naples, Idaho, Idaho on Highway 95. Contact: Kevin or Missy at Bee Safe Security, at: (208) 267-0000.

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The web editors of AmericanRedoubt.com put together this great little promotional film that extols the virtues of The American Redoubt: Flee The City!

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