Friends of the Donkey Whisperer Farm,
After the semi-truck accident select GOD created a miracle for me I was unable to ride, walk, do much of anything period for years. My main way to get around the farm is using the little red A.T.V. my husband purchased specifically for me so I could feed and see the equine as walking the big hill was impossible. I literally had to pick what I could do for each day as my body could not over do it or I would have such bad spasms and pain for months after.
Our dogs put weight on and became very depressed and guess who else put weight on?
The donkeys and my horse as we use to take them for trail walks and I was riding my horse two and three times a week for three and four hours. Now they are standing around and eating, and when they are not eating they are waiting to eat from boredom. Our sweet donkeys and my horse quickly became depressed and it was a very hard time for all of us.
Why Is Obesity Dangerous For Equine?
Just like people equine can get diabetes but it is called laminitis. Additionally they can founder, abscess and colic directly linked to not getting enough exercise and over feeding. The last three years I have spent many, many hours reading about the paradise paddock, health, diet, hoof and much more. We will be incorporating the paradise paddock into our new farm when we move.
Baby steps works the best just like for us humans – Take the weight off slowly
1. Test your hay and get orchard or timothy hay 2nd cutting is the best – My hay comes in at 7% sugar levels try to get below 10%. Please remember that fescue is high in sugar and is dangerous for some horses especially pregnant mares. Alfalfa is a NO, NO for all donkeys and mules and most domesticated pet horses who do not get enough exercise.
2. Get a slow feeder helps the equine eat slower and this helps to prevent colic but it also uses less hay and keeps the equine satisfied as they are able to eat more hay during they day. No need to try to feed three and four small meals anymore with the slow feeder and low sugar tested hay works great on a dry lot. Please remember it best to not starve your equine but ensure what they are eating is healthy and safe for them. We never feed oats, sweet feed, beet pulp or Alfalfa hay to our donkeys.
You can make your own How to make a slow feeder from the Dancing Donkeys blog. Please remember donkeys are wood eaters this is why I use the plastic slow feeder. Donkeys and horses can destroy a hay net and this is dangerous too as they can choke on the string from the hay net. I do not use these either for this reason.
3. Stop feeding grain and treats. 1 cut up carrot or 1/2 green apple per day in small pieces is fine remember equine can choke.
4. Make sure your buckets are scrubbed and cleaned out at least every other day to encourage water drinking
5. Add loose Morton salt along with a white salt block for them
6. Make sure your equine are getting some exercise, they all love to go for walks with the human they trust. If you cannot ride them as they are not big enough or old enough remember you can go for walks.
7. Ensure they have toys to play with and a buddy all equine need a buddy. It was always my plan to get my horse another horse but after the accident this was just not possible. Why? Well horses play different from donkeys and she needs a horse. Donkeys need another donkey it’s really that simple.
8. Put a grazing muzzle on them for short amounts of time – This is much better than having them suffer from all of the above side effects of obesity. The muzzle is very helpful for dark green spring grass, and when you do not have a dry paddock available, the muzzle encourages the donkey to keep moving, physical movement is vital to optimum health in humans and animals. Please do not leave the muzzle on without watching your donkey for safety. Fitting the muzzle is the most important educational issue as the muzzle must fit perfect to work and keep the donkey healthy and relaxed. I personally do not use a muzzle, we have a dry paddock and they are given no more than 1 hour a few times a week access to green brush high in sugar and stumps. Stumps are a donkeys most favorite thing along with digging for roots.
* Teach them to pull a cart
* Train them to carry a light pack and go for hikes
* Build a Paradise paddock for them
GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!