Identity staked mule! Donkey thinks it’s a dog after it’s been raised among dogs


A farmer said his donkey acted “like a dog” after spending more than a month living in two houses surrounded by companion dogs.

John Nuttall, 64, whose family runs a donkey ride business on England’s east coast, said three-month-old Kye answered a whistle, played with balls and even followed him.

The miniature mule began to exhibit hunting dog-like behavior after its mother rejected it, leading John and partner Gražina Pervenis, 40, to hand-raise it.

The couple fitted the foal with a “dog diaper” and shared caring duties for him over the next six weeks in their separate homes, where he often played with their dogs.

John said the time Kye spent with the puppies had caused him to exhibit characteristics similar to these, although he has now moved to an enclosure with other donkeys.

He explained, “I kept him at home, then he used to go out in the garden with the dogs, so he grew up with me and the dogs, really.

“As I would whistle at dogs, it has just whistled now.

“He even started playing with a ball and things, and now I can go for a walk down the street, and he’ll follow me like a dog.”

John, who has 70 donkeys at his stud near the village of Ingoldmells, Lincs., Said little Kye got off to a rough start after his mother turned on him and turned violent.

He said: “The year before the mother gave birth to a foal she didn’t want to take, and he ended up dying.

“We thought there was something medically wrong with the colt, so we tried again this year, but she rejected this one as well.

“I was lucky to be there when she attacked him, and I managed to get him in.”

John initially fed Kye his mother’s milk from which he was separated to make sure the little foal was getting the right nutrients he needed when he was young.

But after his health started to deteriorate, his dog trainer and breeding partner, Gražina, decided Kye needed a more hands-on approach and took him under his wing.

John said: “I still didn’t dare leave the colt in the stable with the mare because she was determined to hurt him.

“Then he came down, so I contacted my partner, and she came down at midnight that night and said, ‘Okay, I have to take the foal right now.’

“She put a tube in his nose and in his stomach and fed him formula milk for orphaned foals.

“She kept it on for two to three weeks. She was feeding it every hour at that time – she was like a zombie.”

Kye spent six weeks living between Gražina and John’s separate houses, during which he wore “large dog diapers” to keep him from dirtying the floors.

John said, “I went to the pet store and bought the large dog diapers because you don’t want baby donkey poop all over the house.

“We also let him out, but I would bring him inside at night because he needed human contact as well.”

Meanwhile, John let Kye run with his dogs since they were the right size for him, and that’s where he picked up some of their features.

He said: “There was nothing I could really put him on that was his size, and I didn’t want him to get hit by other asses.

“So he used to go out in the garden with the dogs during the day. I used to whistle at the dogs, and then he comes to whistle.

“Now, if I get in my van to get out, he’ll see him go and run after the van. He’s definitely a character.

John hopes that one day Kye will join his other donkeys, who take visitors for walks on the beaches of Skegness, Cleethorpes and Mablethorpe each summer.

His family has run the tourism business for a century, with John’s three sons and one daughter becoming the fourth generation to help run it.

But for now, he’s just happy that little Kye, who moved into a paddock with other donkeys three weeks ago, is getting stronger every day.

He said, “He grew up. He has all his teeth and he eats well. He’s a decent colt.

“He’s going to live, but he’s not as strong as my other foals who feed on their natural mothers.

“But he’s alive, that’s the main thing. My main concern was to keep him alive. I didn’t want to lose another one!”


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