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.

Diet

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 salt. Salt should have no selenium if your hay has selenium testing hay is important.

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 https://www.thehaypillow.com/ 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

www.donkeywhisperer.com

Natural To Blanket Our Beloved Domesticated Horse, Donkey Or Mule?

A blanket is like a fire extinguisher we hope we do not need to use it. We have it ready and learn how to use it before the emergency hits. Please be prepared. Please train your donkey to accept the blanket before the emergency hits. I never blanket unless an emergency or the donkey is suffering cant move due to arthritis and age. As soon as the weather gets out of extreme cold the blanket is off. Or the vet says the stall rest is over etc., No blanket is water proof. We must use common sense. Warm water in the winter (clean) helps donkeys drink more and lose free salt.  

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

Melody Johnson, Trainer/Owner

Donkey Whisperer Farm ®

Natural To Blanket Our Beloved Domesticated Horse, Donkey Or Mule?

Domesticated Equine (donkey, horse or mule) Need Us Humans To Use Common Sense.

A blanket is like a fire extinguisher we hope we do not need to use it. We have it ready and learn how to use it before the emergency hits. Please be prepared. Please train your donkey to accept the blanket before the emergency hits. I never blanket unless an emergency or the donkey is suffering cant move due to arthritis and age. As soon as the weather gets out of extreme cold the blanket is off. Or the vet says the stall rest is over etc., No blanket is 100% water proof forever, we must check the blanket for dampness. This is why we have two blankets for each donkey and horse on our farm in case of exreme weather to add a dry blanket until the rain starts again. I DO NOT BLANKET IN THE RAIN.  Warm water in the winter (clean) helps donkeys drink more and lose free salt.  

Rocket Man blanket nov 28, 2014 age 20

Resources:

Melody Johnson

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

Melody Johnson, Trainer/Owner

Donkey Whisperer Farm ®

Natural To Blanket Our Beloved Domesticated Horse, Donkey Or Mule?

IMG_6904

A blanket is like a fire extinguisher we hope we do not need to use it. We have it ready and learn how to use it before the emergency hits. Please be prepared. Please train your donkey to accept the blanket before the emergency hits. I never blanket unless an emergency or the donkey is suffering cant move due to arthritis and age. As soon as the weather gets out of extreme cold the blanket is off. Or the vet says the stall rest is over etc., No blanket is water proof. We must use common sense. 

mares snow

lilysnownov2014Rocket Man blanket nov 28, 2014 age 20

Is It Natural To Blanket A Domesticated Equine (horse, donkey or mule) when the wind chill and snow is horrific?

First let me step back in time and share how I came to my inner peace with the natural equine world. When I was a kid with my horse in the 70’s we did not do the teeth, blanket, and we sure as heck did not do our own worming.

A few things to consider:

1. Nothing is natural about any equine living a domesticated life, even when we do our best to remove the shoes when not trail riding or use boots for trail riding. My farm is set up so all of my horses and donkeys can choose to go into their stall to eat and drink and get out of the weather if they choose.  Locking any equine in a stall will make them crazy.  Equine were created to walk fifteen to twenty-five miles a day. Most domesticated equine stand around and wait for their meals. Nothing is natural about living a domesticated life.

I let all of my equine grow a fur coat and I blanket as needed per individual equine, when sick or extreme wicked weather comes.  I check the blankets each and every day for sores, rubbing, dampness or a loose blanket/too tight in a place etc., I  replace with a dry coat as needed until the weather changes or the equine no longer needs it.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, WA we do not have weather that stays in the teens very long. We go back into the 30’s pretty fast, I take the blanket off wen we are out of the serious cold wind chills or a sick equine is well. We do however have high winds and this can cause the weather to be more frigid. 

I do not blanket during raining season and let them stand out in the rain. Why?

No blanket is 100% water proof in my experience, must be changed and dried, need to make sure no sores or rubbing, lot’s of work. If you leave on a wet blanket serious illness can occur. Be prepared get two blankets, this way you can dry one while using the other one. As soon as the weather is back to normal or the donkey is healthy take the blanket off.

2. When an equine live in the wild they can run and get warm, find a place to get out of the elements.

The farm we lived on for thirteen years before moving to Sequim, WA had two pole stalls I placed  at the top of the hill (paddock) to stop mud.

Running on ice to get warm can cause serious injuries.  Blanketing keeps our horses calm. farm2014dec

3. Any equine who has arthritis or is sick, surgery, or is way to young to withstand the extreme cold needs a blanket. Blanketing is hard work as you must check it every day and when it is really wet replace with a dry blanket. Sorry, no blanket is 100% waterproof for the entire winter and fall season. Thus why I only blanket when we hit the high 20’s with a wind chill in the Pacific Northwest pushing me below 0 etc., then they are locked in until well if it is raining outside. Their fur coat, warm water, hay is what keeps them warm along with their shelter.

4. When you keep their water clean and warm along with plenty of free choice low sugar hay in your slow feeder you are helping your domesticated equine to stay warm. When you walk into the barn and your equine are shivering or not moving at all frozen stiff you had better blanket. Death can be avoided from ignorance and high vet bills. Heated buckets work great simly keep the cord out of reach for the equine to not bite and get elcrocuted.

5. Not all equine need a blanket in the winter. Please use common sense and check the blanket leaving it on will cause more damage than good if it is left on wet, sores or the leg gets stuck in it.

IMG_6829

Here is an outstanding blog I just read that prompted me to write about this. Select Blanketing is Not Bad And You Are Not Natural to read some more brilliant ways to understand why it is imperative you are prepared for a sick equine, older arthritis or the wicked winter that may or may not come.

Please use common sense when blanketing and locking your equine in a stall, after all you chose the equine and they are depending on you to learn everything you can to keep them healthy and happy.

IMG_6422

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

Melody Johnson, Trainer/Owner

Donkey Whisperer Farm ®

How Cold Is Too Cold? – How do we know when to blanket?

A blanket is like a fire extinguisher we hope we do not need to use it. We have it ready and learn how to use it before the emergency hits. Please be prepared. Please train your donkey to accept the blanket before the emergency hits. I never blanket unless an emergency or the donkey is suffering shaking, blowing diarehea, cant move due to arthritis and age. As soon as the weather gets out of extreme cold the blanket is off. Or the vet says the stall rest is over. A blanket is not needed during the rain provide shelter for your donkeys.  Never keep a wet blanket on any equine, check for rubs on your donkey daily.  I recommend two blankets for each donkey ready to go. We must use common sense. Warm water in the winter (clean) helps donkeys drink more and lose free salt.  

Select Is It Natural To Blanket?

How Do We Know When To Blanket?

My Thoughts and Ideas:

* If your equine does not have a thick fur coat on because you shaved it off blanket – Our donkeys are shed out about five weeks out of the year and that’s it I think they know what’s best. 

If you see your donkey, horse, or mule shaking/shivering, by all means, get a blanket on them something is not right they need help.

*Donkey has diarrhea without a diet change.

* Any equine who is sick just had surgery needs a blanket on until they are well again.

* Anytime we move into the twenties I blanket at night and I check the blanket every day, remove it for a few hours if it warms up during the day giving them a chance to roll.

* Just like people older equine get arthritis and need a bit of help a blanket will help.

* Babys born in the winter need a blanket.

* Donkeys, horses, and mules enjoy warm water so look into a heated water system just make sure they cant bite the cord.

* A little extra hay helps keep them warm. Use a slow feeder, we use the Hay Pillow for all of our donkeys and horses.

*Windchill, pay attention to the true weather forecast.

*  Shelter is a must for all equine, donkeys that stand in the damp cold and have no shelter can get really sick.

* Remember blanketing when it is too warm is not good either as they can over heat 🙂  Talk to your vet about blanketing before old man winter comes to your farm. Never leave a wet blanket on your equine. Change out the blanket with a dry blanket until the weather is above freezing or your donkey is healthy again. 

Please Make Sure Your Blankets Fit before the weather is too dangerous to get stuff shipped or drive to pick up. Training donkeys to wear a blanket should be done before old man winter hits when possible.  Donkey 102 covers blanketing.

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

Melody Johnson

https://donkeywhisperer.com

https://www.facebook.com/Donkeywhisperer