JUST DO IT!
Play is an integral part of donkey health and welfare. Donkeys are extremely playful by nature and can be observed running, jumping, boxing and wrestling with each other when in a herd or when in a partnership.
Play is a vital component to donkey physical and mental health. As with human beings, play is important to the development of the muscle skeletal system including leg strength, joint flexibility, mobility and muscle development, including heart health.
Play also facilitates psychological and emotional health by releasing specific hormones and endorphins in the brain that encourage a feeling of well being, relaxation and even joy.
Here at Donkey Whisperer Farm each donkey is paired with at least one friend or more. No donkey is ever alone. We always encourage donkey owners and caretakers to have at least two donkeys for companionship. We encourage that you match up geldings to geldings and jennies to jennies. Geldings and jennies have a different way of interacting and playing and it is best that they are allowed to bond and play with a same sex partner.
If you only have one donkey, please encourage play by putting enrichment toys around their barn and paddock. Use slightly deflated soccer balls, equine toy balls, construction cones and black rubber feed trays. Please don’t use wood or metal objects. Many donkey owners make the mistake of letting their donkeys play with a stick or tree branches. Sticks and branches can be a favorite toy, but we have seen numerous emergency cases including chokes, splinters in the throat, impacted splinters in the teeth and eye injuries.
Be safe, have fun and lets play!
Source: Kelly Probst
Melody Johnson, Donkey Whisperer Farm, LLC
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