Miniature Donkey Care
Here are some articles written by Caroline and printed by the Asset Magazine and are a must read for anyone rising Miniature Donkeys or considering purchasing them.
Donkey Feed Recommendations
from Carousel Gardens
We feed Grass hay, Wheat hay, and Bermuda grass or Oat hay only. We never feed Alfalfa because it is to hot for the donkeys.
The donkeys are very energy efficient with their food therefore it doesn’t take much to keep them healthy and sound. Just 1/4th flake of hay in the morning and 1/4th flake of hay at night should be sufficient for 1 adult donkey but of course keep an eye on them because one may need a little more and also if they are on pasture as long as it isn’t irrigated you should be in the ball park of how much to feed.
We do give treats a couple of times a week such as carrots, apples, horse wafers and or Alfalfa meal. But we are very careful not to feed treats by hand because this will teach your donkey to nip or bite to find food. Also they will learn this and possibly bite a visitor or child.
We free feed Selenium and mineral trace salt blocks and a loose Selenium mineral trace salt developed by a Veterinarian who put together a good recipe for donkeys. If you think you are Selenium deficient then you can have your Veterinarian give Selenium shots to your donkeys.
Donkeys need water in front of them at all times, they should never run out of fresh water. Also when free feeding any type of salt they need water to keep from overdosing. As long as there is fresh water your donkey cannot overdose on salt.
Contact your Veterinarian as to what vaccines you need every year to keep your donkey healthy and sound. We use a 4/way shot to every year to protect our herd. There are other shots for pregnant Jennies so be sure and consult your Veterinarian as when these shots are to be given. Also we give our donkeys Rabies vaccines every other year but this is an option depending on your area and recommendation from your Veterinarian.
We try and trim our donkey’s hooves every 2 months but sometimes depending on the donkey they need trimming more often or less often, therefore each donkey needs to be trimmed to their specific needs. The average is every 2 months.
It is easy to check your donkey’s teeth to see if they need to be floated. If the teeth have sharp hooks it can interfere with their chewing and cause weight loss. If you are not sure then have your Veterinarian examine their teeth for you. Most Veterinarians will float teeth.
We worm all our donkeys every two months with a wormer that is safe for pregnant Jennies. You can find these wormers at a regular feed store, be sure and read the directions because the wormer goes by weight and an average adult donkey weighs between 250 pounds to 350 pounds.
These are just a few suggestions and hopefully they will help with the care and welfare of your donkey.
Since this is the miniature donkey Herdsire issue of the Asset, one of our first thoughts at Carousel Gardens in Rancho Tehama, Ca, besides health, is the responsibilities of the miniature donkey breeder. One of these responsibilities is miniature donkey hoof care. This is a big issue with us because breeding is an energetic foreplay that involves absolute surefootedness. It is what we call the beautiful dance.
Our miniature donkey farrier, Lanny Morrison from Flournoy, Ca. is conscientious, efficient and has high standards regarding hoof care. When he comes to trim our miniature donkey’s hooves every 8 weeks, he takes pride in his work. If the hoof is trimmed improperly the foot can break down and leave the miniature donkey useless. Lanny uses sound, gentle fundamentals with modern techniques when trimming our miniature donkeys. He is a certified professional.
They say a lame horse is no horse. It is the same for miniature donkeys. It is our responsibility to prevent hoof problems and try to foresee difficulties if these needs are not met. It is far more expensive to try and correct a problem then prevent it.
There is much misunderstanding about donkeys and their hooves. Many people think that miniature donkeys will wear them down on their own, or that they break off if they get too long that nature will take care of it. The problem with this thinking is most of the miniature donkeys are in controlled environments where everything including their physical and mental health is at the fate of their caretakers.
When searching for a farrier, try to get a referral or ask a lot of questions. If the farrier is good like our Lanny, he won’t mind discussing his techniques with a future client. Don’t be afraid to ask about his experience with miniature donkeys and how long he has been in the field. These are important questions and need to be asked to put you at ease. Lanny not only has been certified for several years but has patience and an understanding of the miniature donkeys that includes the different personalities of these gentle carousels. A good farrier will be humane, patient, reliable and have a strong database of knowledge about his craft. After all, they, are an artist.
Our miniature donkey herd sire Casper, thanks to Lanny, has no problems dancing for his girls and believe me he knows the dance!
This was the summer 2000 issue of the Asset, since that time we at Carousel Gardens now do our own miniature donkey hoof trimming!!!
Dental Care -Floating Teeth
June 1, 2001
Miniature Donkeys need to be vaccinated, wormed, hooves trimmed, grooming, quality hay, correct salt block, shelter, fresh water, other miniature donkey friends and their teeth floated when needed. The last is probably the most neglected besides their hooves not being trimmed.
Our old miniature donkey girl Moana has her teeth floated every year. We noticed when we purchased Moana that she had a difficult time chewing her food and it seemed to take her forever to eat. Upon inspection of her mouth we realized she needed her teeth floated and some rasping done to both sides.
We made an appointment with our farm Veterinarian Debbie Fox for the floating of teeth and to give a dental exam to all the miniature donkeys. While giving a dental exam Debbie also looks for other problems such as sores, broken teeth, tumors, abscesses, as well as anomalies before starting any procedure.
The veterinarian should take into consideration many variables before starting any dental procedure regarding the temperament, health and age of the miniature donkey. In our case Moana was 17 years old at the time of her first floating and this last time was 19. Moana needs a slight sedative to relax her because she had not had her mouth handled much, therefore is Leary of a stranger and foreign objects roaming around in her mouth. The sedative is just enough to relax her, not put her to sleep. She is aware of what is going on and our veterinarian converses good thoughts to her during the procedure. Barbara an animal technician assistant loves animals and gives lots of hugs while the veterinarian continues to perfect Moana’s bite.
Because Miniature Donkeys are so small the proper dental equipment is necessary for the floating of teeth. Our veterinarian uses small head and mouth gear as well as the correct size rasp. Miniature donkey’s mouths are very small compared to a regular size horse or mule and using the incorrect equipment can cause difficulties not only for the veterinarian but also discomfort to the donkey.
Sometimes because the miniature donkey has been chewing unnaturally it well create sore ligaments when the bite has been corrected therefore our veterinarian administers phenobutezol (bute) to help with any discomfort or pain the animal may be experiencing.
The age of a miniature donkey needing their teeth floated varies depending on the individual animal. Usually a middle age miniature donkey can be a prime candidate for floating, but we have a miniature donkey that is only 3 and she is already showing signs of needing regular dental care due to sharp points and hooks.
Not all miniature donkeys that start out with regular dental care need to be sedated because just a few swipes with a rasp does the job. A yearly dental check up by your local veterinarian should be sufficient to discover any problems. Your veterinarian will make proper recommendations in regards to future regular exams and the floating of teeth according to your animals needs.
Not all veterinarians have floated teeth or have experience in floating miniature donkey’s teeth therefore ask questions and find a qualified equine dentist. Patience, understanding and gentle handling of our animals are very important. We would like to give our Veterinarian Debbie Fox and her assistant Barbara a couple of big HEE HAWS for a job well done.
Caroline of Carousel Gardens
Carousel Gardens recommends that you look in your phone book under the yellow pages to find a Farm Veterinarian in you area before your donkey comes home. Be sure and call the Veterinarian’s office and ask if they make farm calls by appointment as well as emergency calls.
Also if there is more than one (1) Farm Veterinarian then keep those numbers also just in case one Veterinarian already has been called out to an emergency you have another Doctors availability in case you have an emergency.
Post your Veterinarians phone number in your barn as well as in your personal phone address book for your convenience.
You will probably have to establish the Veterinarians trust so be prepared to pay the full amount if there is an emergency until the hospital gets to know you.
Also ask if the Veterinarian comes to your area they may have a specific route that they handle and you may not be in that area.
This list should be handy when you need it!
For additional information regarding miniature donkeys
www.miniature-donkeys.org -- General resource of breeders, rescues, and associations, including a selection of pictures of Miniature Donkeys and informational links.
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This page was last updated on Friday October 05, 2007