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Care & Feeding

Lineup of Donkeys
Lineup of Donkeys

Donkeys are desert animals and thus with our wet temperate climate and lush pastures are in a somewhat alien environment. This single factor determines the basis of their care and particularly feeding and how it significantly differs from horses and ponies. Donkeys are herd animals and a single Miniature Mediterranean Donkey is a very lonely donkey and is unlikely to thrive. They should always have at least one companion.

Feeding of Deonkeys

Feeding of Deonkeys

FEED – The donkey is a very basic, low-maintanence animal. They require good grass hay, clean, no or very little alfalfa. MUST not have any mould or mildew (grey dust) on the hay!! NO sweet feed or horse crunch – too much protein!

WATER – must be clean and access able as they drink 2-6 gallons a day. A mineralized salt block should also be provided in the pasture or shelter.

SHELTER is an absolute must! Donkeys don’t need a heated barn – they do need a barn or shelter (three-sided facing south) where they can get in from the snow, wind and rain. Their coat is not water-proof like a horse and be quite sodden in a heavy rain or snow sometimes resulting in pneumonia or bronchitis when chilled.

PASTURE can be coarser than for a horse – very lush grass is not good for donkeys – too much protein. Allow 1/2 to 1 acre per animal depending on the quality and growth of pasture. Old grass with thick, coarse stems is not very palatable.

Fencing is necessary

Fencing is necessary

FENCING is also very necessary in the safe housing of a donkey. Page wire, wood, electric or combination of all three will be respected.

GROOMING is loving and enjoyable. Loving for you – very enjoyable for your lon gear. Use caution in the winter as you may destroy the natural air pockets in his coat and this provides insulation. In the summer donkeys love to take dust baths and they will establish a nice round spot where they can roll back and forth making low satisfying grunts. Of course this is done AFTER you have just groomed. Donkeys will also groom each other nibbling in the spot they would like their nibbler to nibble.

HOOF CARE is extremely important! Left untrimmed can cause permanent crippling of the animal – this has to be done every 6 – 8 weeks depending on age and growth. Pick out hooves regularly and if you cannot find a good reliable farriery in your area, one who has trimmed donkeys hooves before as hooves are trimmed differently than a horse, ask your vet. or the nearest donkey breeder.

Donkeys Teethcare

Donkeys Teethcare

WORMING is also very necessary in your donkeys health. This should be done at least 3 times a year. Consult your vet as there are a number of paste wormers on the market.

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