Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fine food for donkeys

At Gamone (and in most other places in France, I imagine), we're right in the middle of the dandelion season. That's to say, the slopes—including my lawn—are covered in yellow flowers, and they're about to be metamorphosed into spherical seed heads, ready to be blown into every available square centimeter of the neighborhood.

As usual, I've dragged out my electric lawnmower and made a valiant effort to remove the flowers on my lawn. But I can hear the vast hordes of dandelions on the outskirts of my lawn laughing at me cynically, since they'll be taking off shortly, in kamikaze squadrons, to make amends for their fallen brethren.

The green press often warns us that cattle fart noxious methane into the atmosphere, and that humanity would be much better off if we all resorted to eating kangaroo meat, since these Down Under beasts apparently fart more sweetly.

I don't know what my compatriots—not to mention the kangaroos themselves—might think of that great idea. It's a fact that the kangaroo appears on our national coat of arms, which—in the words of a militant vegetarian and nationalistic Aussie—must not be considered as a menu! Meanwhile, when I observe the huge annual stock of dandelions here at Gamone, I say to myself that it's a pity we can't all get around to eating rabbit meat, since everybody knows that they thrive on dandelions. Here's a photo (found on the web) of a champion Flemish Giant specimen, raised in Germany, capable of producing 8 to 10 kg of meat.

Admittedly, there might be an organizational problem in making sure that the herd of meat-producing rabbits settles down in exactly the places where you have a surplus of dandelions. And you would need to slaughter them all as soon as your dandelions run out… by which time the rabbits would have switched to eating the grass of your lawn. So, I'm not sure that my idea's well thought-out. Meanwhile, I've found that mowed dandelions and grass are fine food for donkeys, particularly when it's seasoned by a sprinkling of oats.

Neither Moshé nor Fanette needs such a supplement to their diet, of course, since they're both as plump as baby mammoths.

Maybe I prepared this fodder for the donkeys to symbolize my destruction of the dandelions… which was indeed a purely symbolic destruction.


  1. Hmmm. Your thoughts on rabbits remind me of various attempts at biological control in Australia - think cane toads and the damage they continue to wreak.

    But at least your donkeys are happy!

  2. Whenever I dare to talk about rabbits, Annie, you must not take me too seriously. I once set out to breed a few rabbits, in cages, as many rural families do. One weekend, I ran out of their greenish food pellets, so I fed them similar stuff that I had purchased for my donkey Moshé. The next morning, I was alarmed to discover that they had all dropped stone dead, like a Viennese sulky horse. Apparently the equine product contains small quantities of mineral additives that are excellent for horses and donkeys, but lethal for rabbits. Incidentally, it would be an interesting idea to test this product on cane toads… except that there's a risk they might thrive on such stuff and grow into giant toads.