Hello Donkey friends and lovers,
I have been getting so many e-mails and FB messages asking me about Barley Straw for donkeys. I am hoping this blog post will clear things up for you. Here is the U.K Donkey Sanctuary Straw Article
Thinking about Straw:
Please remember if we are lucky enough to find Barley straw in the U.S.A. we must test it before purchasing. No forage hay or straw can be looked at to know the sugar and protein content, none. We must test all forage before purchasing. Barley Straw, Orchard, Teff, Timothy, Yellow Hay can test up to 28% or more in sugar. Testing can be done at Equine Analytical Lab https://equi-analytical.com/ U.SA. All forage should test 10% or lower in sugar and protein for the desert equine the donkey.
- After you find low sugar and protein (10% or lower) hay and straw purchase enough for your equine for the year. This way you do not have to keep searching for low sugar/protein hay and straw.
- Straw has no nutrition. Please give your donkey tested low sugar and protein hay for the main diet.
- If you choose to add straw please add straw slowly into the diet. If you add straw too fast you will cause colic. Donkeys are stoic will not show pain until in many cases it is too late to call the vet. Have dental checks once a year to ensure your donkey can eat hay or straw.
- Use a slow feeder for tested hay. Do not let your donkeys eat off a big round bale or free hay all day and night. Portion control is important even with tested hay. We use the Hay Pillow as eating slowly keeps the donkeys healthier. The hay pillow is quality. Feed on ground level. Here on the Donkey Whisperer Farm ®, we do not have as many donkeys as the U.K. Donkey Sanctuary we have 6 donkeys and 2 horses. We use the Hay Pillow for all equine that have teeth with tested hay. We have one rescue donkey Tuba that is in his late 20’s early 30’s he is on tested hay pellets, turned into a mash three times a day. No dry forage or deep grass, brush, trees for him.
- Create a track to keep your donkeys exercising. Remember a healthy donkey eats healthy and exercises on a regular basis.
- Donkeys and all equine who have teeth or serious deep pocket gum issues cannot eat straw or hay. Why? The equine cannot chew correctly and can choke or colic. Have yearly dental checks to be sure your donkeys can eat hay and straw.
- Watch the poop. If your donkey is not pooping you have a huge problem. Call the vet asap. Donkeys are stoic and will not show pain quickly like a horse.
- Clean water is a must. We change the water every other day on our farm unless the wind comes in and adds dirty than it is every day. All equine will drink way more water when it is clean and cool in the warm season. Warm clean water in the frigid seasons.
- Salt is important. Please make sure your equine have access to free salt at all times.
- Please before you add straw make sure your vet has checked the teeth and gums.
- Watch your donkey’s weight.
Heated Bucket – Make sure donkeys cant grab the cord to prevent electrocution.
GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!
Melody Johnson, Trainer/Owner
2 thoughts on “Thinking About Straw For Donkeys”
You mentioned that Tuba gets hay pellets…the ones I’ve seen are Timothy hay pellets and I thought timothy shouldn’t be fed to mini donkeys. Is it a different kind of hay pellet? I have one (a rescue) who is older and has had her teeth floated and will need to be done again in the fall. She is doing much better and the vet would like her to gain about 50# more. Again, can you please comment on the type of hay pellet you are using? Thanks very much!
Hi Cheryl, I researched extensively hay pellets. The goal is 10% or lower in sugar and protein. I use Standlee Orchard Hay Pellets https://standleeforage.com/products/premium-orchard-grass-pellets as this was lower than timothy and teff in sugar.
Melody Johnson https://donkeywhisperer.com
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