In many parts of the world Spring has arrived and with it bulbs are blooming and birds are singing. It is a joyous time as we all stretch our wings from a long winter slumber, BUT, Spring is also the arrival of one of donkey’s worst enemies…GRASS!
If there is any health threat that is the most difficult to understand and get across to donkey (and all equine) owners it is the extreme dangers of spring/summer grass.
Grass, whether in a pasture, field or lawn has been dormant all winter. In response to increased temperatures and more direct sun, high concentrates of sugar are produced by the root system to signal sudden growth. This sugar is carried from the roots of the grass to the stem. Grass becomes lush and green and brimming with sugar and simple carbohydrates. It is the equivalent of a rich pastry for us human beings.
Our donkey’s have been in mud, cold and gloom for months and we cannot find it in ourselves to keep them from “getting out”, “being in the warmth of the sun” and “doing what comes natural”. BUT, grass is NOT natural for donkeys and is detrimental to their health! As desert dwellers donkeys rarely have access to green grass in the wild. Their natural diet is high fiber woody materials and every inch of their anatomy is designed for this, including their gut and their feet.
The list of health ailments caused by grass consumption in donkeys are numerous, including foot abscesses, colic, Cushing’s Disease, laminitis, metabolic disease and founder. Access to grass is often the cause of death in donkeys.
Remember SAFE GRASS is an oxymoron. No grass is safe for donkeys. Please monitor your donkeys access to grass. NO grass is best, but if you must turn your donkeys out turn them out when the sugar content of grass is at its lowest: Early AM before 10AM and Early PM after 5pm. During these hours the sugar has receded from the stem of the grass back down to the roots. Sugar will be at its lowest. But remember, donkeys love to dig/root up grass and plants, so they are still getting sugar no matter what time of the day it is.
Here at www.donkeywhisperer.com we are dedicated to donkey healthcare and wish you and your donkey a beautiful Spring.
Source: Kelly Probst
GOD Bless You And Your Family Two And Four-Legged!