Donkeys evolved from the desert, donkeys are not horses with long ears. Healthy young donkeys can usually handle winter. Please remember extreme wind chill and cold can kill even the most healthy animal if preventive care is not provided. Donkeys are stoic meaning they hide pain. I do not blanket a donkey because I am cold I blanket a donkey due to health needs. A blanket is like a fire extinguisher we have it ready in case of an emergency. Once you blanket any equine it is important to check the blanket every day for dampness rubs etc., Always replace a wet blanket with a dry blanket quickly. Remove the winter blanket when the weather is back to rain. I do not blanket my donkeys in the rain as they have shelter.
Providing preventative action to prevent colic, hyperthermia should be every donkey owners plan of action. Think about the part of the world you live in, do you get into the the teens and lower with the wind chill? If you said yes, you need to be prepared in case of an emergency.
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How do I keep my donkeys healthy during winter?
Provide shelter to get out of the rain, snow and wind. Use a slow feeder provide three meals a day during extreme cold and wind. Provide clean warm water and lose granular free salt with minerals add selenium if your hay does not have it and remove if your hay has selenium. Make sure your donkey has his/her teeth checked by a veterinarian at least once a year. Provide a worming schedule using fecal samples, fecal samples do not show tape worms so always give ivermectrin after the first frost. Over worming creates resistance parasites. I send fecals to my vet in the spring and fall.
When does a donkey need a warm dry blanket?
Donkey is shivering, shaking and blowing diarrhea, stands still frozen, tail tucked and the ears are very cold. Frost bite is a major concern for donkeys as they are more prone to it than a horse. Senior donkeys, donkeys with health illness such as cushings and endocrine metabolic disorder and obese donkeys need to have a blanket that fits and is ready to go. Donkeys that have cushings and endocrine metabolic disorders need a blanket right before the weather drops into freezing as these donkeys cannot regulate their body temperature. Even fat donkeys age eleven or older can start shivering and shaking from the cold.
How difficult is it to find a blanket to fit a donkey?
Very difficult as most companies sell horse blankets not donkey blankets. Make sure you measure your donkey correctly avoiding having to return the blanket for a new size.
How do I measure my donkey for a blanket?
Thank you for investing in your donkey,