Think About Grass Height Managing Weight

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Grass Height and Its Relationship to Hyperinsulinemia in Horses

Did you know? Mowing pastures in active growing seasons can help reduce NSC intake of horses, thus decrease insulin response. Decreasing the grass height by frequent mowing decreased the amount of NSC available with subsequent decrease in insulin responses in horses, Donkeys and Mules.

Select Mowing The Grass (Track)

Senior Donkeys Need Help In The Winter

Hi Melody,

I have a 38″ donkey approximately 29 years old.  He is thin and I wondered what you feed your senior donkeys to put weight on them?  He has had his teeth done and is wormed every other month.  I live in Michigan so I want to get weight on him before the winter.  I feed him 3-1/2 lbs. of Timothy Hay Cubes per day

Hi Jeannette,

Most importantly understand donkeys can get arthritis just like people. So we need to be addressing ways to help the donkey with pain during the winter. Pain sucks and can trigger your donkey to slow down eating. I give Cosequin ASU as we have two senior donkeys on this in the winter.

Blanketing is important to help your donkey survive the cold. The older donkeys, sick or very young need a little help. Be sure and take a look at Donkey 102 VIDEO ON DEMAND for blanketing and more. All of my teaching videos come with an E-BOOK. No blanket is waterproof so get two so you can dry the other blanket during long storms. I blanket when we hit the 20’s. Donkeys cannot take the cold. They are made to live in the hot desert and cold at night. Not the cold and frigid weather. It is important to check the blanket often and change to a dry blanket when the blanket is wet. Never leave a blanket on that is wet and take off when the weather is above freezing. Warm clean water is vital for donkeys in the winter as donkeys will drink more water when it is warm and clean in the winter.

Parasite Control

Please do fecal samples with your vet. Over worming destroys the immune system and can cause resistant parasites worms. I have one donkey on my farm that has resistance to Ivermectin. Nothing I can do to stop it. I have tried for the past five years. Since this donkey lives with his donkey buddy’s all the donkeys are constantly gaining parasite counts. I can never let this group of donkeys into a pasture the other donkeys or horses use or the parasites would spread to the entire farm. Resistant parasites are a huge problem as people worm every other month, destroying the immune system.  I send fecal samples to my vet in the spring and fall. My vet tells me what wormer to use. Select De-worming for a healthy equine.


Tested hay 10% or lower in sugar and protein is highly recommended. Test hay at Equine Analytical Lab  For donkeys who have few teeth left a mash is recommended it is important to ensure the sugar and protein content is 10% or lower and portion control is recommended to prevent obesity. Do not feed straw to donkeys with few teeth (all forage including straw must be tested). Obesity in donkeys causes a slow and painful death. Clean warm water is a must. Donkeys will drink more water when it is clean and warm in the winter. I give free choice lose coarse lose salt. Salt should have no selenium if your hay has selenium testing hay is important.

Hay Mash – Hay Pellets

Use for donkeys that have limited teeth or gum problems can not eat dry hay or straw. Standlee Orchard Hay Pellets work best made to be the consistency of oat meal. Miniature donkeys get one cup in the morning and one cup in the evening. Standard Donkeys two cups in the morning and two cups in the evening.

All forage (hay or straw) must be tested to come in 10% or lower in NCS sugar and protein. I feed orchard here in the PNW. Timothy is safe if no alfalfa and you have tested as timothy, teff and orchard can get really high in sugar. If your senior donkey has a hard time chewing you can soak but do not leave soaking too long.  Senior Feed look for low sugar in small amounts once a day will help too. I use the Hay Pillow as this slows down digestion and prevents parasites. I place mine in the shelter inside a plastic slow feeder. This is a wonderful way to keep the fuel moving for donkeys without getting too fat and or colic. Senior feed (small amount in the morning and at night) will help. Make sure to find low sugar. I would do my best to maintain the weight all year in lieu of gaining in the summer. The donkey needs to stay healthy all year long.

I hope this helps,

Melody Johnson

Please Never Feed Equine Without Asking – Death Is Final

Please read. Please share and care. Please never feed any food to a horse, donkey or mule (equine) without asking. Never feed grass clippings. Death is final.

Select Grass Clippings 

The letter also warned that any treats – even apples and carrots – fed to horses without the owner’s permission could be deadly because horses can have food allergies like humans.

Alana Lester

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This is horrendous and we’re all devastated. Our gorgeous, healthy, happy and much loved family horse Boston has been killed by somebody feeding our horses a pile of grass cuttings last night. He was the best horse in the world and we can’t believe he’s gone. The worst part is knowing that this could have been prevented and our lovely Boston could be with us now if he hadn’t been fed accidentally and unknowingly this way. I understand that people who do not have horses will not understand the severity of this but I’m hoping I can reach a few by sharing our story.

I’ve been asked to expand on the reasoning for not feeding horses cut grass which I thought this was a good idea as I would like to possibly prevent something like this happening again with someone else, if I could:

Because cut grass is much smaller than grass taken up by horses themselves, a horse eating cut grass wouldn’t chew it and would gorge themselves quickly on it. This would result in saliva not being added to the cut grass and “diluting” it before it reaches the stomach. Cut grass also ferments (which is why it can be warm to touch) and along with the saliva not being added, gives off gases inside the stomach. These gases cause the stomach to expand to the point of rupture in severe cases like ours with Boston, killing the horse. If the stomach doesn’t rupture due to not as much grass having been eaten, it would instead cause colic in the horse which is dreadful pain in the abdomen which could then lead to killing the horse later too however colic can be treatable.
Horses also do not have a “vomit” reflex meaning they can’t take up the harmful substances once eaten. Another point would be if a horse has been given lawn mower cuttings. These cuttings may also have different plants in, other than grass which could lead to the horse eating kinds of plants that are commonly found but that are poisonous to them and would have otherwise been avoided by the horse due to not being able to take back up the substances.

I hope this post spreads so people can understand how horrific this is. Thank you for reading.

Apples and Pears

Dear Friends,

Apple Season has arrived! As great as they may be for humans this is not great for the domesticated Donkey, Mule or Horse. In fact this may cause DEATH from Colic and/or a huge amount of stress, tears, vet cost or even burying the beloved equine (Donkey, horse or mule).

Never feed grass clippings or bread to your horse, donkey or mule. PLEASE NEVER FEED ANOTHER ANY ANIMAL THAT IS NOT YOUR ANIMAL. Some animals have a form of insulin resistance, most must have a slow change of diet or they can founder, hoof rots out abscess or colic or worse die. 

Select grass clipping

Donkeys, Horses and Mules get Sick, belly aches and gas from eating too many apples! Eating too much human food can increase their risk for colic.

This is one of the most important posts I can write. I will do my best to write it in a way to educate and not offend people as the equine (donkey, horse or mule) need us humans to learn. In fact their lives depend on it!

When you drive by a farm please do not make your hot rod scare the equine as they can and do run through a fence in fear. Not to mention the vet bill for falling down and possibly breaking a leg. Please do not throw bread, apples, pears, watermelon, grass clippings, beer bottles or garbage over the fence at the farm animals. 

Horses, donkeys and mules will die of colic if not treated quickly! Bread will get wrapped in their intestine and they can die.



Please never stop and feed any equine (animal) anything without the permission of the owner.

Throwing apples or any food over the fence of an equestrian farm can cause death or a huge vet bill for the owners not to mention emotional stress, tears.


We have video surveillance on the Donkey Whisperer Farm and signs stating DO NOT FEED THE HORSES AND DONKEYS and still I have to tell people not to feed my equine. This is a huge problem and one I think most people who do not own equine just do not understand. You think you are sharing love, in fact you could kill the sweet Donkey, Horse or Mule living near you.

Thank you for sharing and caring.
Melody & Scott Johnson
Donkey Whisperer Farm





GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!

Melody Johnson, Donkey Whisperer Farm, LLC


GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!

Melody Johnson, Trainer/Owner

Donkey Whisperer Farm ®

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