Feeding and Care of Mules and Donkeys


everyone thanks for your patience as we
get ready here but welcome to our my horse University and extension
horsequest live webcast on feeding and care of mules and donkeys our presenter
tonight is dr. Amy McLean and a Quine lecture and equine extension specialist
for the University of Wyoming she teaches equine science courses
coaches the collegiate horse judging team and serves as an advisor for the UW
collegiate horsemen’s Association and the UW polo team
dr. McClean earned her PhD from Michigan State University in the area of equine
science focused on donkey training management and welfare and she’s worked
with donkeys and mules for years she actively participates in the industry
showing all around mules at national shows including Bishop mule days bishop
california the great celebration mule and donkey show in Shelbyville Tennessee
and the Houston Houston Livestock Show mule and donkey show in Houston and she
has shown in red and mini world and national champion mules so please note
that you are able to ask questions as most of you have found the text chat on
the left of your screen and we’ll try to answer those throughout
and also go back at the end and get any that we missed and we are going to
record our presentation tonight and that will be posted to our website my horse
University comm by the end of the week and at this time I’ll turn the
presentation Thank You Amanda can everyone hear me
okay okay hopefully so all right so tonight I’m basically going to go
through some basic management care in terms of how to feed animals with really
big ears as well as just some general tips in terms of management it’s
probably helpful to most people that own mules and donkeys because there’s really
not a lot of research that’s available there’s a lot of information that is
available online but I caution anybody that goes online to find information
some of it is facts and a lot of it their myths and policies so most of the
information I’m going to share with you today is information that comes from
both my practical experience dealing with mules and donkeys for about over 20
years I’m not going to tell my age but for quite a while as well as scientific
studies that have been conducted you’ll find throughout the presentation that
most of the scientific studies predominantly focus on donkeys and
there’s even less information that is scientific information available for
mules so I’ll try to use my practical experience in the few studies that have
been done on mules to incorporate that into this presentation tonight okay so
one thing I think is always important and I bring this out in a lot of my
basic equine management classes is to really look at how many mules and
donkeys are out there we kind of tend to think that it’s a niche market there’s
not a lot of mules and donkeys but when you look at the world equine population
which is over a hundred million animals equine that is and this was done by the
food and agonize ation in 2002 so this is an estimate but yeah there’s a party
100 million equites in the world almost half of those equine have big ears okay
they’re either donkeys or there’s some sort of cross between a donkey and a
horse either a mule or a hinny the other interesting factor is the fact that 9
percent of these animals are found in developing countries and they’re having
to work for a living yeah we still know very little about
what makes a donkey or a mule healthy and why so I just think that’s something
really important to point out so what do we do with mules and donkeys today this
is just a slide that kind of covers basically anything you could do with a
horse from gated mules Tudor saj racing mules pleasure cutting trail riding you
can do with a donkey or mule and because of this animals great agility and
athletic potential they’ve really drawn a lot of people into the mule world a
lot of people start out wanting to own a mule because they want to go on a trail
ride and they don’t ride horses down in the Grand Canyon because they’re pretty
sure footed so anyhow so a lot of people are attracted to mules because they are
so athletic and they really have a unique personality so they’re really
they’re really great animals they do anything a horse can do alright so the
things that we’re going to focus on today are some of the differences
between donkeys and mules in terms of management how you take care of them as
well as some of the differences between the two I will not talk specifically
about hinnies and I apologize if any of the listeners today or any owners and
for those of y’all who are just learning about mules and donkeys a hinny is the
cross between a stallion and a female donkey at Ginny
there tends to be not as many Kenny’s but a lot of people don’t keep
registration papers on these hybrids so and there’s really no anatomical
differences when you look at any compared to a mule even though you will
read they’re smaller and they’re longer and all that but it’s really hard to
detect the difference in a hinny or mule just looking at their phenotypic
characteristics so anyway I will lump the hinnies into our mule category okay
and just to point out these two pictures that I have today I’ve got a column of
donkey pictures here let’s see here that going to work said the black donkey
right up top if you notice she’s in good body condition but she has a huge fat
roll over her neck we’ll talk about why she has that the donkey below that is a
friend of Mines donkey that’s won a lot of national World Champions
championships and this donkey is also an extremely good condition but due to the
nature and the genetics of a donkey you’ll notice there’s some areas across
the ribs where fat has been deposited as well as back around the tail head even
though this donkey is work continually and it’s fed very carefully it’s still
kind of the nature of the genetics that predispose a donkey to depositing fat
deposition over on the other column I’ve got a donkey I’m sorry a mule that was
an Indian to India last year and amazingly this animal is in pretty good
shape in terms of body condition and the way it’s being cared for and then below
that we have a mule that’s been shown a lot that’s in what I would consider
ideal fit and shape but we’re going to talk about how to manage these animals
so they all continue the donkeys and mules to look like these images that I’m
sharing with you okay so first and foremost I think one of the things that
people find most difficult with our long-haired equine is how to feed these
animals and honestly it’s not rocket science
these animals live in places where a lot of times horses can’t live and I’m
surprised that humans can even live there so they’re very efficient at
digesting feed so the number one rule with mules and donkeys in an industrial
country such as the US or Europe or other places like that is not to
overfeed them and for those of y’all you’ve had mules or donkeys for years
you already know that but but why is it such an issue and we’ll touch on that a
little bit today in general and again for those of y’all who have mules and
donkeys you’ll notice that you’re young growing mules and even some of your
young donkeys especially your mammoth donkeys they tend to be harder to keep
weight on especially a mule that’s out of a gated type mare or thoroughbred
mare it seems like until they get to be four
or five it’s a lot of time it’s hard to get some finish over their hips and
really put weight on them and the same is true for some of your mammoth donkeys
once both have matured but the mule as well as the donkey and I tend to believe
like our mules will mature later like your warm Bloods then the issue is
keeping the weight off so we go from thin to then worrying about obesity and
that’s definitely a problem if we’re not monitoring their feed intake if we’re
not exercising them and then how we’re managing them okay so in 2007 there was
kind of a big breakthrough for for donkeys in terms of nutritional
requirements the NRC the National Research Council which produces a very
comprehensive book on nutrient requirements for horses actually
included in their sixth edition a whole chapter on donkeys in terms of
nutritional requirements as well as wild equites primarily wild equites that were
kept in zoos such as zebras and wild ass breeds and things like that
unfortunately again there was no information or much mention to how to
feed a mule so you know I just like to point that out but if you’re looking for
a really good text or reference I would like to advise you to look at the NRC
the requirements of horses the sixth edition that will give you more
technical information on dry matter intake gastrointestinal time microbial
populations and everything science you everyone to learn about the nutrition of
donkey you could probably find in this text you know like I said earlier
feeding a donkey mule is not that much different than a horse if you properly
manage your feeding mechanisms and schemes so you still should look at just
like when you’re feeding a horse okay is this a young donkey or is this a young
mule that is growing and I’m working because I’m trying to get ready for a
show or I’m on the trail riding or is this an older donkey that has really
poor teeth or an older mule and I need to you know feed extra fat or fiber
keep weight on so you still want to look at some of the factors you would
consider when you’re looking at how much to feed a horse so obviously the level
of work you know how much are they being exercised how often they be used during
the week again most of us here that use mules and donkeys for pleasure showing
recreation purposes we never really meet a high level of work okay most of our
animals are probably exposed to light work an animal that would be exposed to
more extreme levels of work would be mules that are being used for endurance
races or even some of your race mules that are being continually exercised for
longer bouts of time that might need more protein and energy in their diets
the other thing is environment severe weather if you’re in the great state of
Wyoming where it gets pretty cold at Toms there’s a windchill factor as well
as precipitation to be concerned with that can increase the energy demand for
your donkey or your mule so that’s something to consider on the opposite of
an end of that if you’re from a hot and humid area like I used to live in
Georgia where it get over a hundred degrees in the summer and 100% humidity
that’s another environmental factor that might actually require the animal to
need or require less energy one way or the other
the other thing to think about is the weight of the animal I know a lot of
people feed with a coffee can well how big is your coffee can and what are you
putting in that coffee can a coffee can full of of pellets compared to a coffee
can full of complete feed way completely different it looks like the same but
it’s not the same so so consider the weight of your donkey or the weight of
your mule and then what you’re putting in that coffee canter or feed scoop and
then monitor your animals body condition and we’ll get into that here in a little
bit okay so another thing that’s pretty interesting and unique specifically
about donkeys they have been compared to small ruminants and a remnant animal is
an animal that has a multiple compartment stomach they’re very
efficient at digesting poor quality feeds or forages
example of a small ruminant would be a sheep or goat generally we think of
horses they eat enough they increase their intake if they are receiving a
poor quality food or Forge however donkeys they’ve actually done
some studies in Africa looking and comparing donkeys to Bedouin goats and
have found them to be almost as efficient as a goat which I shall note
goats can pretty much live on anything and maintain their body weight so so
donkeys have this unique ability to maintain their body weight on really
poor forages and again that’s why it’s so hard to keep weight off of these
animals we tend to think and it is a positive thought that donkeys as well as
mules can survive on less feet when compared to a horse if you have had a
chance to travel to any developing countries you’ll normally notice that
the mules and donkeys are in better shape than the horses and keep in mind
that’s not saying much but these animals are able to utilize these poor quality
forages and still have enough energy to work so the diets that are found in a
lot of these developing countries they are originally a lot of our donkeys
originally came from such as the African acids like the Somalian wild-ass and a
Nubian Valdez these are very desert areas so there’s not a lot of water the
forage that they do find is extremely high in fiber but it’s low in protein
and energy the exact opposite is true here in the United States we tend to
have an abundant amount of fiber I’m sorry abundant amount of forage
which is usually lower than five or higher and protein and energy and things
like that and the other big difference the animals in those countries have to
work for a living in most of our animals they do very minimal work and they’re
exposed to extremely good nutrition another probably not big surprise to a
lot of you all that do I’m donkeys and mules donkeys especially love to browse
so what that means is they won’t go out and just
consume one type of plant in a pasture setting they’ll go out and they’ll eat a
lot of different types of plants and it’s not uncommon for a donkey to to go
and find a more fibrous plant or plant that might have thistles on it something
that your horse would never touch but maybe the goat would eat you can
oftentimes find a donkey or a mule consuming that as well as bark on a tree
or even wooden fences another kind of unique feature to donkeys especially and
some mules also have this taste kind of for tannins there’s a lot of plants such
as Johnson grass and and grass they’re high as well as even tobacco they’re
high in something called tannins and tannins are a part of this plant that
helps it be drought resistant and in a lot and it has kind of a bitter taste so
a cow or goat would prefer not to eat it or horse but the donkey’s as well as the
mules tend to seek out a lot of these forages that do have tannins in it
there’s been a little research done looking at if there’s also any
correlation between tannin concentration and using that as an implementing or a
dewormer because the tannins can presumably possibly kill or treat
parasites okay don’t quote me on that but there has
been some research done on that another kind of unique feature to the donkey
compared especially to the horse and there’s been quite a bit of research
actually more than one paper which is a lot for donkey research looking at how a
donkey’s gastrointestinal tract time is actually slower compared to ponies or
horses so what this basically means is the two donkeys up here in this corner
munching on this Bermuda hay they’re gonna eat that hay and it’s going to
stay in their small intestine large intestine longer than it would say for a
horse meaning hopefully the microbial
population in their hind gut then can spend more time digesting
the source of Forge okay so there might be actually you know a major advantage
to the donkey having this lower gastrointestinal tom because when you
think about where the donkey originally came from places there are very harsh
conditions they have very limited amount of forage or food that they can consume
the longer they can digest that material and get the most out of it the more
beneficial it is for them so that’s kind of a unique probably
natural selection factor for donkeys I don’t know if this is true and mules so
all my mule liners out there when it was that same for my mule I’m not sure I
would say probably similar to a lot of the studies that have compared donkeys
mules and horses the mule is probably in between the gastrointestinal time of a
donkey and a horse again do not know that for a fact but making that
assumption based on other studies comparing the three animals the other
thing that donkeys do that’s a real survival tool for donkeys is the fact
that donkeys will continue to eat during times of dehydration there was some work
that was done in the late 70s in Nevada was some BLM donkeys and they looked at
how donkeys even when they were dehydrated had no access to water for
several days on it they would still continue to eat again donkeys sometimes
as well as mules are thought to be stubborn but they’re actually highly
intelligent animals and this is another survival tool the donkey continues to
eat he’s still going to have energy so he can still survive so he can go out
and find a watering hole or source of water some other things that donkeys and
mules obviously do and when we look at their big ears those big ears serve a
purpose and that’s to dissipate heat so when we think about again where these
animals originally came from or where they live today the large ears help in
keeping the body cool as well as their coarse rough hair coat that they have
and it’s possible to that you know this helps in them needing less water
compared to a horse of similar size because they do have the physiological
abilities to dissipate heat and remain cooler okay
so this slide there’s a lot of information on it and I apologize it’s
kind of small but it’s a lot of information I just feel like it’s
important to share it with you these are some tips for how to feed your long ears
okay again this is basically a very general talk on how to do that but the
most important thing to keep in mind and I think a lot of new owners they tend to
forget this donkeys and mules are not workers with big ears okay if you’re
gonna feed your donkey or you’re gonna feed your mule exactly the same way you
feed your horse I’ll just pre warn you it could lead to
some issues okay so so you know treat them as their own species you really
need to monitor their grass intake especially for your miniature your
standard donkeys that tend to look at grass and they become obese okay
consider limiting how much grazing time they have especially for your miniatures
and standards in the morning time it’s best if they can graze in the morning
because the plants have been dormant all evening all night they have the lowest
amount of non structural carbohydrates at that time and non structural
carbohydrates are basically the sugars and starches that gives plants a lot of
energy and basically what horse would prefer to seek out but we’d like to keep
our donkeys from eating a lot of non-structural carbohydrate so so let
them graze in the morning monitor how long they’re going to be out there
grazing generally you know the mules can graze all day and depending on the mule
and its genetic background in terms of what type of mare is out of you know
then you might even need to supply additional forage you might even need to
supply a supplementation with grain or concentrate depending on what you’re
using that mule for and then also how well it is maintaining its body weight
and the same is true for your donkeys but generally your miniatures and
standards do not have an issue staying in good body condition again
just kind of remind your feet based on late not volume you’re generally gonna
feed your mules and donkeys a lot less than you would a horse of the same size
I tend to prefer high fiber high fat diets for both mules and donkeys
especially your high fiber diets that are coming from non-structural
carbohydrates so this is basically the skeletal system of that plan the lignin
the hemi cellulose the cellulose the source of the plant that we tend to
think that is not as digestible but like we spoke of earlier the donkey is going
to keep that source of forage and its gastrointestinal time much longer and a
horse and actually have the ability to break down some of these these fibers
the other thing that has been looked at is actually microbial populations that
are species specific and different in donkeys compared to horses that are more
suitable to actually utilizing these sources of forage that are high in fiber
I mentioned the fat because fat has about two times two and a half times
more calories compared to sugar or starch so it’s an excellent way to add
weight to your animal and it’s also a kind of cool calming form of way of
energy that you can supply to your mule or donkey so just kind of another
general rule try not to overfeed carbohydrates your non structural
carbohydrates that is or protein and the reason I mentioned protein and again
this is actually some research they’ve done with donkeys in developing parts of
the world and when specific study from Mexico noticed that donkeys had a really
unique ability to recycle high levels of urea okay so and that’s when they were
found a level of 3% proteins so imagine how much urea how much nitrogen is
remaining in the kidneys the liver and inside that that donkey if you’re
feeding a much higher protein feed to your animal
okay um the other thing to keep in mind if you go out and purchase a donkey or a
mule and it’s extremely overweight its obese and you want to get some weight
off of it I caution you to do that in slow bouts do not rapidly take the
weight off of that animal that can lead to a condition called hyper leukemia
which is basically fat mobilization and that can cause all sorts of liver damage
and problems and you don’t want that to happen so if you do go out and you
purchase like a set of donkey or a mule or you rescue one and it is extremely
obese gradually take down its feed intake okay cuz that because that’s the
main problem with art with our obese animals the other thing too to watch for
these animals that do become overweight or they are exposed to fresh green grass
is laminitis and it’s more common in the hind limbs and donkeys and mules prior
to the front and it’s also not uncommon for them to founder or have cases or
have symptoms of laminitis in all four limbs so that’s something else that if
you do have one of these animals and they are obese that’s something to look
out for okay so how do you monitor in a current condition as well as the past
nutritional history of of how a donkey or mule has been cared for well there’s
two different body scoring body condition scoring systems there’s a
specific body condition scoring system for donkeys so it’s on the basis of one
to five it’s still very similar similar to the hanneke scale of one to nine
which is which was developed in the early 80s to be used for horses but it’s
just a little simpler because there’s not as much variation in my opinion when
you’re looking at fat and condition on a donkey compared to that of a horse the
other difference is where the fat is deposited on a donkey and this scoring
system that was founded or started by the donkey sanctuary
and also a lady by the name of an Pearson did a lot of work with this you
know recognize the anatomical differences in a donkey compared to a
horse and where this fat would be deposited so so I highly encourage you
to use the scale when you’re looking at the overall condition of your donkeys in
terms of your mules again we don’t have a lot of information and depending on
how that mule is bred depending on the genetics of the mayor or what type of
mare as well as even the type of jack is it a standard jack is it a mammoth
jacket etc that can have a lot of effect on how that animals can be made as well
as how it deposits that and and I would encourage you to use the Hinoki scale of
1 to 9 with some caution and still use some common sense about the hips and the
shoulders and things like that as well as a rib cage because you can see I’ve
seen mules that you can see their rib cage but then you can see fat bones on
the top part of their rib so you know how do you score that so that’s just
something to keep in mind it’s something also that should be developed probably
specifically for mules all right so here’s kind of a scale looking at using
the donkey sanctuary 1 to 5 scale 1 you’ve got really thin donkey right here
you can count all its ribs the pelvis the hip bones are protruding along with
the backbone you have the same idea as maybe an emaciated horse that’s on a one
or two scale a moderate donkey you notice this donkey you can still see his
ribs his hips are prominent his withers are somewhat prominent the neck is
actually fatter than the rest of this animal so that that’s a little different
than if you looked at maybe a horse on the head a key skill that was at a 3 or
4 but we’d consider this donkey to be moderate this picture right here I would
consider this donkey to be ideal you can still see a kind of a slight image of
his ribcage there’s a little flesh covering his his hips as well as as well
as his croup very smooth over his withers and his shoulder nice underlying
to me this is ideally what a donkey should look like I
Sofya donkey of Catalonia and AmpliTube bloodlines so he’s got what today we
would call a standard type of donkey based on their height along with mammoth
donkey that the larger donkeys he’s got both of that in his genetics in his
background and but still how he should look even though he’s a really large
donkey probably more common a lot of the donkeys you see are you’re fat and obese
donkeys a four and a five this donkey kind of falls in the middle of that
cannot see any sign of her rib cage she’s got a layer of fat over her ribs
cannot tell where the hip bone is the croup or anything like that and then
she’s also got a nice crusty neck so I’d consider her probably a 4.5 and I’ve
found a horse in here just for reference to me this horse would be a five and a
half to six nice and round and fat as a horse I saw over in Ireland and I just
think that’s a nice reference to look at the difference in the smoothness of the
condition over the skeletal system of the donkey compared to the horse
okay what about mules now you’ve taken an animal that varies and is genetic
background on both ends okay again I’m using the horses of reference this mule
right here to me is an ideal condition you can still see where the hip is you
can tell where the croup is but there’s a nice finish over over this mules top
line and it’s not too much of a finish I generally like to see the underlying
tucked up just a little more about this is a really big animal and so this is
fine and adequate when you look at his spelling is underlined and on him you’re
just really never gonna see his ribs based on his breeding okay again I refer
to my little mule from India down here you know this mule is in decent shape if
we’re using the hidden key system you’d probably say a 4.5 because the hips are
protruding you can’t really tell it in this picture but you could see its ribs
anyway moving on to my race mule here on the Walker its meals in excellent
condition also and what if this meal had as much kin
addition is this meal up here you wouldn’t be able to run as well so we’d
probably call this race meal about a 4.5 and it’s in really nice shape adequate
amount of finish and then this meal again the pictures a little dark but it
would be on the extreme end of being obese it was covered in fat bones over
and when I say fat bones and talk about the fat deposition large amounts of fat
deposition concentrated in one area her tail head and her croup is lumpy along
with her neck which is very thick and crusty along with her top-line in the
ribs so we don’t want to get our Mules looking like that ok alright so here’s
some species differences in terms of comparing donkeys and mules the
information on this slide it’s probably pretty important if your mule of your
donkey ever gets sick and needs a go to a veterinarian I need to go to that
hospital and I’m just going to briefly go through this but this is more
information you might want to write down or come back later and record because it
makes the difference in if your mule is really healthy or your donkeys really
healthy or is this or is he really sick ok say some of the differences in a
donkey in and these values are compared back to a horse okay they lack the
presence of the reticulocytes they have fewer but larger III sites they have a
higher mean value for corpus corpuscular volume the MCV okay the other thing
that’s quite different in our miniature donkeys compared to our mammoths or
standards is the fact that the serum lactate dehydrogenase an enzyme is much
higher for miniature donkeys compared to our other two donkey groups so if your
veterinarian or owner treating that animal and you didn’t know that was the
norm you know you might think that animal is really sick and that’s the
gist of this whole slide is and know that there’s some major differences in
blood chemistry hematocrit and even vital signs for donkeys compared to
horses and mules compared to okay the other thing you’ll notice that
liver enzymes specifically creatine kinase and glutamine transferase are
much higher in a donkey these two enzymes and horses are around 33 or so
where they’re close to 70 to a hundred in a donkey so that’s a huge difference
in something that’s important to note another thing that’s important to note
because if you are monitoring the health of your donkey is a normal body
temperature the normal rectal temperature for donkey tends to run
lower than that for a horse and that is 98.6 compared to a horse we generally
say is around 100 0.5 degrees Fahrenheit heart rate sometimes is a little bit
higher just you know looking at the average horse’s can range anywhere from
30 to 45 beats per minute again depending on the horse environment
things like that and that can change it can be a diurnal effect our respiration
tends to be a little bit higher – in donkeys 21 breaths per minute at rest
compared to say 8 to 16 breaths per minute
unfortunately the mule I do not have any heart rate data respiration data
available for you but I do have some information that I recently gathered
this past fall on looking at some of the blood hematocrit and chemistry values
and how they compared to a horse so we found comparing the some of these
parameters to a horse such as the MCV to be higher and some of these different
values relate to if the immune system is working if that animal is anemic if
there’s an infection or things like that said so it’s important and if a
veterinarian or someone wants to read this and say these are higher values
oftentimes that can send an alarm to that practitioner thinking well
something is not working right you know so but it so it’s nice to have a
reference value in general there’s a lower white blood cell count them you’ll
lower lymphocytes lower monocytes red blood cells tend to be lower than horses
and the main platelet volume tends to be lower I’ve given you some
references there again this data has not been published yet but hopefully will be
soon and the normal temperature for mule was
similar to that of a horse there wasn’t a large difference I highly recommend
you getting a copy of the AEP proceedings from 2002 where they
actually had a whole special lecture with some experts in the mule and donkey
industry veterinarians that came in and spoke about a lot of this information
that I’m sharing with you today ok so let’s briefly look at some anatomical
differences and the donkey compared to the mule compared to the horse and I
have all three of these pictures on here so you can look at kind of how the
horse’s mane compared to the donkey and then compared to their offspring
so you’ll okay so the donkey in general just starting out with the way a donkey
talks to other animals they have a little bit of a different whinny
they don’t really whinny they break and again for my audience that owns mules
and donkeys this is nothing new to you but why why do they produce a different
kind of sound compared to our horse and that’s due to their laryngeal anatomy
they actually have a different structure to their throat to their esophagus their
trachea and things like that that produce this different sound that we
call a Bray say some of these are kind of fun facts
another thing that’s different compared to a donkey to a horse is the fact that
no dots are found in the hind legs and that probably goes back to when the
horse evolved from a small you know hippest the dawn horse up to the modern
horse we know today and those toes were descending up the limb of the horse as
possible the donkey didn’t have five toes in the hind end maybe they were in
a drier area compared to the marshy area that yo hip this was first found in so
there’s no air guts on the inside of the back hind legs they’re hose as we know
are quite small they’re very boxy the donkey tends to have a lot of heel and
not toe and they’re hopeful be oftentimes
much smaller than that of a horse compared to that at the same height okay
another unique anatomical difference is the fact that on male donkeys on their
sheets it’s not unusual to see teats on either side the other thing that’s
important to know especially if you go to draw blood and or veiny ously from a
donkey is the fact that they have a much thicker cutaneous coli muscle and that’s
the muscle that’s protecting the jugular vein so when you go to insert a needle
especially in an obese donkey or even obese mule it’s much harder to find that
vein it’s harder to go through there thicker skin and find the jugular okay
and that probably goes back to again a natural selection factor in the fact
that donkeys when they do fight especially jacks they will go towards
that jugular towards the throat latch for fighting so that’s probably why that
evolved to be so much thicker than that of a horse as well as the jugular furrow
being deeper than that of a horse generally just like with this donkey you
see there the withers are less prominent the hips tend to be more prominent and
then the sternum usually protrudes out more than that of a horse
another thing that’s worth noting is that a donkey has a longer gestation
period than a horse it’s about 12 months they also tend to live longer than a
horse okay so it’s not that uncommon to find donkeys 30 and 40 years old
however when we’re aging donkeys there are some dental differences in terms of
how the teeth erupt they don’t exactly match that of a horse the angle of
incidence is a little bit steeper so those are some things that are different
when you are aging a donkey you might age it to be younger than it really is
because the donkey at the age of 10 will not appear to have a smooth mouth like a
lot of horses will some other anatomical differences there’s a difference in the
open the guttural pouches as well as the
difference in the angle of the airway going into the guttural pouches and into
the trachea and that presents some problems when we go to use a nasal nasal
tube and donkeys oftentimes a practitioner will have to use a smaller
diameter tube and a stiffer tube in order to pass a nasal tube through a
donkey it also can we can run into some problems so we’re trying to use an
endoscope on a donkey because of its smaller more narrow passageway as well
as the angle being more severe okay so the the mule what about the mule
they have like we’ve already spoken about combined traits of the donkey and
the horse and the picture I have right here is a gated mule so this meal tends
to have more traits that are more similar to a gated horse like a
Tennessee Walking Horse so you have to keep that in mind when you’re looking at
some of these physical differences they obviously have longer ears their
vocalization and similar to that of a donkey but not quite as deep and long of
a brain as a donkey because it’s still mixed with that of the horse okay
generally mules have more prominent withers and most of our donkeys but
again that varies depending on the genetic makeup of that mule when you
compare our mule of a thoroughbred compared to a draft horse the drafts at
a lot of times will have much flatter broader backs and withers so gotta keep
in mind how is this animal bred the head sometimes is larger than that of a horse
but not as large as a donkey and so that presents some problems and we try to
find halters and bridles and head stalls and things like that that adequately fit
this unique hybrid animal typically we will find our guts on the hind limbs on
the back end so so that must be passed on from the horse side of their heritage
if they’re hitting or a mule and as we all know that if we do ride mules and
donkeys finding tack that fits appropriately can obviously be difficult
and if that tack doesn’t properly fit a lot
of times we wind up on the ground or in bad situations sore backs and things
like that says some other things that mules oftentimes prefer is to be turned
out compared to stalled again they have personal preference just like some
horses prefer to be turned out but generally speaking a lot of mules would
prefer to be on a pasture both mules and donkeys are very social animals they
prefer companionship but mules especially can get very bloody soured
over being very close to another horse or to another mule and donkeys will
actually even really go through a mourning stage if they lose their
companion they become very attached another thing I don’t like to spend a
lot of time about it but a lot of times you will find your mules and even some
of your donkeys will have what we call quirks and you will probably also find
the longer you have your mule you’re going to have to deal with that quirk or
that issue versus trying to correct it the biggest one we probably see in a lot
of our mules is the fact a lot of them are ear shy or they’re hard to catch and
you know that can be true in a horse too but it seems like a lot of our mules in
some ways are more severe in terms of them being ear shy and hard to catch and
the air shyness then obviously presents an issue when you go to bridle them but
there are some bridles available that actually clip behind the ears of the
mule and that way it just takes all that fuss and fight out there also some
special head stalls made for donkeys that appreciate their nice broad
foreheads as well as their large ears because you have a lot of issues
sometimes trying to fit a normal horse sized head stall on a donkey and even
some mules depending on the mules heritage in my experience the food
reward system generally works well in training systems especially one that’s
hard to catch you got there with a treat we got there with a little bucket of
grain and that seems to be much easier than chasing them around a passion
because they don’t tend to tire as quickly as a horse so that is a piece of
advice I would like to offer in terms of maybe how to work with some of these
clerks like the donkey mules especially if they do develop fat bones they can
still be a moderate body condition so just keep that in mind too
you might see a mule in good body shape also with fat podes okay so it’s another
anatomical difference you wouldn’t really see in a horse if a horse has fat
bones it’s probably gonna be fat all over okay so just to get into a little
bit about pharmacokinetics and donkeys and somewhat in mules
there are some differences when you go to anesthetize or to sedate one of these
unique longer hybrids or animals especially looking at donkey donkeys
kind of like in terms of how they metabolize their nutrients they have a
unique ability to metabolize pharmaceutical products extremely
rapidly and they also can an example of that would be like nason such as Butte
or Banamine if you’re administering butor Banamine to your donkey you’re
probably going to have to administer it more frequently and at a much higher
dose than you would for a horse of the same size or the same weight the mule
tends to be closer to the horse and how he metabolizes Nason’s or other or
sedation or drugs use for Anessa tightening animals but in terms of
Nason’s your mule will be generally close to your horse you still might have
to increase the dosage as well as how many times you administer it compared
again to a regime that you would utilize when treating a horse for some type of
soundness or discomfort issue so just in general veterinarians and again your
veterinarian is a very intelligent person they probably know this because
there has been such a huge increase and interest in the mule and
donkey population but if they don’t you can always ask them and refer with them
you know ask them about using a larger dose on a donkey compared to a horse a
similar body weight this is especially true for my miniature donkey owners out
there so even though it’s a cute little fuzzy miniature he might need the same
amount as a 14 hand horse okay and he might like I said metabolize on a much
shorter period of time miniatures seem to respond best to a sedative called
xylazine or the common name would be Robin and then beuter fan are all okay I
really discourage the use of ACE and mules as well as donkeys my experience
using a spree machine is that it increases the excitatory factor instead
of them calming down they get even more excited so I would caution you on using
that and would prefer that you look at something like the xylazine atom or
sedan but again you know go back and we consult with your veterinarian on that so again just looking at the
pharmacokinetics and the differences so mules for our most part are gonna be
similar to horses however the sedation oftentimes wears
off quicker okay so the dose you’re going to be using is similar to a horse
but it still might wear off quicker so you might have to go back and reach the
date or you think about that anyhow the other thing and the reason
why you see a difference in the sedation factor with mules when you are trying to
sedate them or nessa ties them is because of the genetic variability in
terms of is this mule out of a hot blood mare she ought is something that has
bred to be very excited and react quickly or she odd or is this mule out
of a cold blooded mayor there’s nice and docile and you’re going to sedate them
and they’re going to stayed sedated because of the behavioural difference in
the dam so generally speaking mules require about 50% more xylazine
to produce an adequate sedation and that’s before you
administer the Academy okay that information comes from a paper on
anesthetized on keys and mules that was written by dr. Nora Matthews and you can
look that up in the AEP Proceedings from 2002 which I will later give you a link
to so sorry I didn’t make that up that came from a veterinarian and she’s
actually an anesthesiologist for Texas A&M University that’s done about 20
years of research looking at anesthetize encompasses and mules and their
differences to horses okay the other issue is some of these drugs that are
used to anesthetize orcid a donkey’s especially can cause issues and
complications with breathing and I’d like to refer you back to that paper for
the specifics on the actual pharmaceutical products that have issues
with that so when you’re working with your veterinarian have any type of
surgery done or you’re going to sedate your animal I would highly recommend
pulling these papers and conferring with them and getting their insight on how
they think it’s best to sedate or restrain your animal this picture right
down here I want to point out real quick before I move on if you notice there’s a
string tied around this donkeys neck and this technique was taught to me by very
famous veterinarian by the name of dr. Tex Taylor he was a surgeon at Texas A&M
University and basically in my opinion the godfather of donkey medicine and we
spoke of earlier how it’s much harder to find that jugular vein and the donkey
because of the muscle covering at the cutaneous coleye muscle is so much
thicker than that compared to a horse so he showed me this unique little trick
you just take a piece of baling twine and and dr. Taylor was just a genius man
but he was also just amazing at finding a very simple solution to a heart
problem and so this is his solution you find a piece of baling twine or a small
piece of rope and then you tie off around that donkeys neck and then what
that does that constricts the blood and that vein pops right up so you
find it and then you can put in your catheter or your needle for inner Vania
injection or whatever it is you need to do and then of course you would
obviously release that when you have done your injection or inserted your
path etre okay so some other management areas that I’m going to touch on briefly
is looking at parasite control in donkeys and mules both are susceptible
so type of parasite called lung worms and they can serve as hosts and a lot of
times this is a concern of horse owners if their horses are being stalled or
pastured with a donkey or a mule and as we know donkeys make great companion
animals and a lot of times are housed and kept with very high-dollar horses
anyway well we don’t want to pass on our long worms so a way that you can treat
that is using the implementing ivermectin so that that’s one thing I
would encourage you to look into even if you’re doing a fecal egg count I would
still consider using ivermectin at least once a year with your donkeys and mules
to prevent long worms and the spread of that donkeys are also very susceptible
to skin parasites such as lice and flies it’s just amazing to me that these are
such tough animals and they live in such harsh environments and work in these
environments yeah they come to the US where they don’t have to really work for
a living and we give them all this great food and the Flies just eat them alive
and we’ll actually I’ve seen them eat especially around the canons you know
just down to a bloody area so that’s something to keep in mind you know
consider using fly masks there’s a company that makes special fly masks for
donkeys and mules it allows for their bigger ears and their sores all sorts of
fly wraps you can put on their legs so you know I’d highly encourage you to
look at ways to prevent your donkey or your mule to being so susceptible and
exposed to these claws in the summertime the other issue with lice very common in
emaciated donkeys just about every emaciated donkey you can find if you go
to assail 2×1 or your rescue anyone look for the lice and you’ll be able to see
the Liza tattoo attached to the hair follicles you know you’ll see the white
eggs and you’ll even be able to see the brown biting lice there when you get rid
of the lice then that animal will be able to pick back weight pick weight
back up and I’ve also even seen the license some
of our fat or healthy donkeys so just I guess the lice in joy the taste of a
donkey have not noticed the lice as prevalent in mules okay
so jack sores is another issue and you see the hawks of this donkey right here
there’s a lot of conversation over what really jack sores are you’ve probably
read and heard some saying that this is because donkeys are fed too much protein
and they can’t digest the protein so it causes this large edema on the hawk and
it uses out I’ve heard the same theory about feeding donkeys to a high load of
non structural carbohydrates in all reality I might have some type of
nutrient relationship but that has not been studied we do know that we
typically see these sores in the summer of the year and yes the grass is greener
and that is higher not Churchill carbohydrates but what happens after
this swelling occurs then we see sores sometimes refer to a summer sores or
more commonly Jack sores and if you go in and you take a biopsy of that sore
you’ll oftentimes find remnants or you’ll actually find a parasite called
cutaneous however may some or the stomach worm and that can be treated
with Moxie diketon okay or ivermectin all right very hard to treat they tend
to get it year after year they also seem to be more commonly found in our
mammoths donkeys some really large donkeys Jack’s 14 – hands and taller
okay the other piece of advice I’d like to
share with you in terms of basic health care management while you’re Muller
donkey is healthy have your veterinarian pull some blood
Ron his blood chemistry Ron his hematocrit data see what his normal
glucose insulin things like that are check his body temperature that way when
you do have a problem later on you have a normal values to compare to okay so
how they recommend you do that okay so a few other areas of healthcare and again
a lot of this is common sense especially for those of y’all who own donkeys or
mules for a while donkeys tend to have a really hard time with wet conditions and
again we look back at the origins of the African donkeys in the wild donkey
species they come from a desert they don’t come from what type areas so what
conditions tend to lead to hoof abscesses white line disease and stuff
like that again watch for founder watch for the development of laminitis and the
hind hose as well as the front very common for donkeys to founder back there
prior to foundering in the front the other thing I’m sorry this pictures cut
it off caution should be exercised when you’re castrating jacks
okay so they don’t believe the death the reproductive organs of a jack which is
the male donkey are much larger than that compared to a horse of same size
but one major problem is the blood vessels are also much larger and when
your veterinarian goes to castrate the donkey you want to make sure and you
want to talk to them about litigating or tying off the spermatic vessels so he
does not bleed to death and they can go in and do that with an absorbable suture
okay a lot of great donkeys have passed away because they’ve been castrated
especially jacks that are castrated at an older age and a lot of developing
countries actually won’t even touch or deal with castrating because of this
side effect all right so let’s touch a little bit on donkey mule behavior
because like we said they’re they’re not horses with big ears and they don’t act
like horses a lot of times but I think that’s one of the things that draws a
lot of people to the ownership of a donkey or mule is because
they are so you know independent and different in terms of how they negotiate
different situations so remember her especially when a donkey is sick donkeys
are very stoic animals they’re not going to tell you they’re sick they’re tougher
than everything and it’s a survival mechanism they’re not going to let you
know they’re dead until they’re pretty much dead okay especially with a donkey
that’s colicky usually it’s a chronic colic it’s not a cute they’re not going
to give you all the signs they’re not going to look at their flanks so be
aware of your donkeys behavior you see any subtle changes in food intake water
intake its general behavior out in the pasture in a stall setting you probably
ought to call the vet okay mules tend to be thank goodness a little
more like horses and they will show signs of acute pain but generally it’s
easier thank goodness like I said for a mule letters we can detect there is an
issue however both of these animals have a much higher pain tolerance in general
compared to a horse so even though our mules can show us that he might be lame
he might have been really lame for a long time before he finally said I can
only stand on three legs okay since I listen to their body language and you
know be very intuitive to their to their actions and behavior some other
differences when you’re restraining a donkey or mule so you can shoo that
animal or you can do veterinary work you know pull blood or you can administer an
implement you need to consider how you’re going to restrain the donkey mule
as we know they’re extremely strong animals sometimes too strong for their
own good and they have a lot of power of moving their head and neck especially
compared to a horse but they have a lot of power and leaning all their body
weight on you when you go to pick up a hoof so I I really highly recommend and
avoid ear twitching I believe that leads to a lot of our ear shyness issues they
look like big handlebars you just want to reach up there and twitch but donkeys
and mules are not very forgiving if that causes pain probably next
they’re not going to want you to touch their ears and that presents issues with
bridling and halt Turing and things like that
consider a twitch or pharmaceutical restraint you know your mule doesn’t
like the farrier consider the twitch and consider having the veterinarian
administer something like xylazine ordem or sedan so it is a more pleasurable
experience for everyone involved donkeys in general there has been some studies
that have shown the donkeys tend to respond less to the twitch and say a
mule or horse would their heart rain ever resides back to a normal level
level it actually stays elevated cortisol remains high so you don’t still
have this kind of overall calming effect that some believe that twitch stimulates
by putting that pressure on the nose similar to acupuncture that has not been
proven or shouting the donkey yet okay so a few other management areas in terms
of behavior when you’re working with mules and donkeys if you don’t have
patience I don’t advise you to own one you have to have lots of patience they
really test that again I’m you know a big fan of trying the reward system
because there’s no way you can really out-power one of these animals without
really having to get harsh and brutal and I don’t know I’m not a big person
it’s easier for me to use a kinder easier method like food the other thing
is it’s kind of like having a Mac computer compared to a PC there’s a
difference I think and learning how they utilize the two so I think you have to
be a little bit smarter than your mule or donkey kind of like are you smarter
than your computer so I think you’re playing three before attempting to
execute it so if you know your mule will only load with a can of feed or with
another horse on the trailer go get the other horse and then load them you know
don’t try to pick a fight because once they learn not to do something they
generally don’t do it and I have a picture down here me and my mule going
over a bridge and he’s not a fan of crossing bridges and he learned that a
long time ago when he was young he went across on these
all wooden bridges and fell off of and it scared him he’s never gotten over he
does everything else in the world but he does not like cross and bridges so so
they have a great memory they don’t forget okay the other thing I highly
encourage you all to do especially if you’re into raising mules or donkeys
especially your mule foals get your hands on it don’t wait until as a
yearling to touch there seems to be something with a human mule bond if you
don’t start gaining the trust of that mule the day it’s born it’s not going to
have your trust later on it’s just gonna be a lot more difficult to deal with so
as I highly recommend you doing some form of imprinting or socialization to
that mule foal and it’s boring the donkeys in general the my experience
tend to come out of their mom just want to know who you are and what’s going on
the rest of the world and doesn’t seem to make a difference if you spend a lot
of time with them or not but again you know some people might have had
different experiences so so I do highly recommend you start your training as
soon as that animal is born okay so in terms of reproduction there’s obviously
some differences when we talk about breeding a jack a male donkey to a horse
or looking at breeding a stye into a Jinni to a female donkey to produce a
hinny think about the environment where you’re
going to breed this animal some people do pasture breed but a lot of people
prefer to hand breed because some jacks can be very aggressive and you know a
lot of donkeys that are being bred today are highly prized animals they’re very
valued and and the the jack owner does not want that Jack to get hurt so a lot
of mules today are made in terms of of hand breeding or either your more
innovative breeders are actually collecting these donkeys and shipping
semen and some of even successfully frozen Jack semen so there seems to be
two types of breeding Jack’s one that’s going to take all day long he’s going to
watch the birds fly by or the one that’s going to drag you and your 10 best
friends to the mayor that might not even be in heat and try to breed her so you
know you’ve got some differences there so you know keep in mind too that
there’s some species differences in terms of a Jack that will breed a mare
compared to a Ginny not all Jack’s will breed Ginny’s even though that’s
his own kind and not all Jack’s will breed mares generally if the jack is
raised or a donkey its raised around horses that’s not an issue a lot of your
breeders will train a jack to breed a mare and then later on transfer them
over to Ginny or either collect them and artificially inseminate the Jenny there
tends to be more problems when we reverse this and we ask a stallion to
Bree – Jenny when a Ginny is an Esther so she’s a he she displays this kind of
weird stance and Rises her tail and then she does what’s called mouth clamping or
clapping and and opens their mouth very rapidly and the stands that see this
that they’re not very excited about this posture and this animal they’re about to
breed so so a lot of breeders will either try to collect the stallion and
artificially inseminate the Jenny when they’re trying to make a hinny some
stats don’t have a problem they will breed a Ginny
so that’s one you want to keep in mind for him production other things that can
be used as mayor urine and some people have even said that blindfolding they’re
staying when they lead it up to mount that jenny has worked again no
scientific data on that the other thing to keep in mind in terms of donkey
reproduction some chinees concil all year long so you know consider when you
want to have that foal and a lot of that has to do with where that donkey
originally came from which part of the earth that donkey originated from your
donkeys that are from Mediterranean and tropical areas you will see them cycling
all year long because they had a source of forage or they had a source of food
originally at all times your other donkeys the reasons why they
cycle maybe only in the spring through the summers because where they’re
originally from goes through either a dry period or wet period so they don’t
want to have a foal in the dry period when there’s
thank for it to eat so those are also some natural selection probably
differences something that I caution you to be aware of especially when you’re
mammoth donkeys is 20 or seems to be a higher incidence of twinning and mammoth
donkey so go in and check that Ginny you know 20 to 22 days after she’s been been
bred you know and look for a twin in there generally they don’t survive some
do but it’s easier on the ginny if we don’t have a twin situation another
issue that is a problem especially with some mules as neonatal is Sarala SACEUR
ni and this is where the mule foal basically cannot consume the colostrum
the first milk of the mayor because the antibodies the immunoglobin czar found
in that classroom will actually attack that mule system this goes back to a
difference in blood types and crossing the two different species you can have
your blood drawn about a month prior to that mare falling you can send it to the
University of California at Davis and they can test for this condition and if
it’s found then you can keep you can prevent your mule foal from nursing that
mare and supplement it with colostrum or plasma and prevent the death of that
fault but that is a condition to be aware of when you are raising mules is
neonatal acerola SACEUR ni okay so just to wrap up things this is a list of the
sources that I’ve used for today’s talk the AAP proceedings that I’ve mentioned
a lot here’s a link to them they’re PDFs I highly encourage you to go print them
off have a copy for you have a copy for your veterinarian if you sell donkeys or
mules I highly suggest you give this to a new donkey or a mule owner a lot of
your donkey owners are people that don’t own horses or they’ve never owned a
horse before and they see it more as a companion animal so so if I have any
people in the audience that are like that I hope this will be helpful to you
as well as your veterinarian the donkey sanctuary also a lot of times
puts out a lot of donkey research and information there’s a link for that as
well as the International veterinary information service there’s a lot
there’s a lot more scientific information found on that site in terms
of studies that have been done primarily with donkeys but some with mules and
they’re from all around the world they’re from parts of the world like
Mexico or Ethiopia or China there’s a lot of mules a lot of donkeys and this
is information and data that veterinarians and researchers have
gathered in those countries so for the time being that’s what we have to rely
on since there is very limited information for mules and hinnies with
that I thank you for your time and for logging in and joining the webcast and I
hope you found that helpful I know there’s a still a lot of unanswered
questions out there but I hope that at least addressed most of your questions you thank you so much dr. McLean you have
just a minute to look at some of the questions that are in text chat and
maybe answer just a couple um yes manda I see there’s a lot of
questions jumping up Wow maybe could have done two sessions of this I noticed
one of the questions that referred to a leader in the industry Meredith Hodges
and she referred to only feeding rolled oats to two donkeys and mules you know
my suggestion of what you feed as long as you keep that animal in good body
condition and I was actually at Meredith’s house yesterday and she has a
lot of mules and donkeys that are in their 20s and 30s and they’re in
phenomenal shape they look fantastic so roll the oats have worked really well
for her program but the other thing that she has done she’s also exercised these
these mules and donkeys and she you know she has a very strict exercise regime
with them and she’s also fed extremely good you know grass hay she’s limited
they’re grazing and she’s looked at things like that so sure rolled oats can
work I have used other commercially offered feed because to me a whole grain
can vary in terms of nutrient content you know when it was harvested what
section of the of the land it was harvested and so I just prefer to use a
commercially made feed I prefer pellets or either a complete
feed that’s like I said high in fiber high in fat and we travel so much
showing our mules I like to have something that I can go and get almost
anywhere so we use a commercial feed that’s a national company again there’s
a lot of questions coming in here I see another one it says limit grass hay or
just fresh grass again this is where you’re going to have to consider your
unique situation what body condition score your animal is
at and you know is your animal approaching being obese if it’s not then
turn it out let it graze in the morning and if that’s still not enough then you
know if you’re living in an environment like Wyoming or Michigan where it
doesn’t get cold then you might actually need to supplement with hay so so in
terms of limiting grass or hay you’re going to have to use you know your
management situation and to look at that I see another question asked what can
you do to treat for neck disease and I’m not quite sure what they’re referring to
and if you are referring to the crest of a neck that oftentimes will roll over on
a donkey there’s no cure for that unfortunately it’s it’s going to be like
that from now on so try not to get your donkey overweight and as you noticed
even in some of those pictures such as my friend’s donkey it’s a great ideal
weight it’s exercised on a regular basis but due to its genetic makeup to take
all the energy it gets and to store that as a fat source in case there is a
famine situation it can mobilize that fat you know that’s something we just
have to deal with and having this species of ecwid so and I’m also seeing
a lot of comments about can we do another show so I don’t know that’s up
to my horse University ending if you could just mute your mic for a sec so I
could conclude that would be great okay thank you so much Amy for that
presentation obviously everyone liked it and maybe we will have to try to
schedule a follow-up so we can talk more about it and get some more questions
answered but we really appreciate your time and thank you so much all of you
for participating tonight I know that we didn’t get a chance to answer a lot of
these questions but like I said maybe we’ll try to schedule around two so
check in with us on my horse University comm and see what’s coming next but we
do know right now that for January our free monthly webcast is on the topic of
finding your dream job in the US horse industry so maybe some of you will be
interested in that and you can go to our website to register online
and that will be presented by several faculty members from equine programs
around the country and it will also provide a preview to an equine business
conference that we’ll be hosting in February
so again register online and also again our present age our presentation tonight
was recorded so we’ll post it to our website by the end of the week you can
find that at my horse university calm as well along with a lot of other archived
webcasts so if you have any questions or feedback for us you can email us at info
at my horse University comm or you can call us at


6 Responses

  1. Mirandamoose

    July 30, 2015 12:57 am

    Check out the donkey sanctuary UK website for pdf files on feeding. The donkey sanctuary has years of research (foundered 1969) and research scientists that study donkey nutrition. A healthy donkey needs a high fibre, low sugar and low protein diet. Barley straw with the grain shaken out is ideal. Donkeys should not be fed grain or horse feeds. Some hay mixed into their diet in the winter with barley straw is adequate. Not haylege. Always change your donkeys diet gradually over 2 weeks to avoid colic, hyperlipemia and never allow frosted grass (wait until the frost goes) to avoid excess sugars which can bring on laminitis. Use strip grazing on lush pasture to compliment spring summer diets of barley straw. Fibrous pastures once the grass has gone to seed should be fine. Donkeys can graze a well grazed field safely after horses or sheep have worn it to nibble point. Also sheep grazing keeps worms under control (helps break the lifecycle) always pick up poop from pastures to help keep worms away.

  2. Mirandamoose

    July 30, 2015 1:03 am

    PS. Never give donkeys grass clippings. Grass clippings ferment quickly and because of the slow passage through the gut compared to horses and ponies they will get colic which can be fatal. Donkeys are more stoic than horses and will often hide their signs of distress until it's too late. It can be difficult to tell when your donkey is unwell.

  3. Donkey Whisperer

    May 24, 2016 3:04 pm

    Please never feed grass Clipping, Pears, Watermellon, apples, pears etc.. Abscess, founder, colic, fat cresty neck and big belly can be avoided. Test your hay to come in below 10% sugar low protein hay. Never feed hay with alfalfa as this hay is too hot for the easy keeper donkey. Clean water is 100% imperative to health, a great trim on a reg. schedule, never let your donkey get too fat. Insulin resistance, laminitis is man made. Http://www.donkeywhisperer.com

  4. wert nert

    December 20, 2019 1:40 am

    Does anyone know if I can give my donkey fancy liquid molasses as a treat to help keep him warm? It's minus 22 Celsius up here in Canada and I'm worried he's cold.. i was going to pour a few tablespoons on some apple


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