Donkey Info – basic needs
Donkeys are quite hardy and relatively low maintenance. However, there are a few basic needs which we, at Fangorn Donkey Stud feel need to be met in order to sustain happy and healthy donkeys…
Pasture: The general rule is a minimum of one acre of pasture per donkey, obviously “the more the merrier!” It is also beneficial to divide the pasture into two or more paddocks (depending on the space available), this enables paddock rotation. Rotating the paddocks is important, particularly on small acreage, as doing so helps to “refresh” the pasture and keep intestinal parasites to a minimum. It is also very important to “muck out” night paddocks and stables on a daily basis to maintain a healthy and hygienic environment.
Fencing: All fencing should be safe, sturdy and secure. It is a good idea to check all fencing, making sure there are no “weak links”, such as very loose fence wires or old posts which could be easily moved. Also check for, and remove anything which could cause injury. Placing caps on star-post fencing is a recommended safety precaution. Electric fencing also works very well, but bear in mind, that some donkeys will periodically check the electric tape with their muzzle whiskers, just to make sure it’s still a barrier!
Water: It is essential to ensure that donkeys have a good supply of clean, fresh water readily available at all times. Water troughs should be checked on a daily basis – Donkeys won’t drink dirty water.
Shelter: Shelter is not particularly essential. However, donkeys do appreciate it, especially in very hot or very wet and cold weather. It’s a sad sight to see donkeys caught out in the pouring rain; with their heads down, ears back and coats sopping wet.
Mineral block: Donkeys should always have a good quality equine, mineral block readily available to them (preferably in their shelter) as this helps to replenish a variety of different minerals which the donkeys need to maintain good health.
Companion: Donkeys are naturally herd animals and are happiest with a constant companion. Ideally this should be another donkey. However, donkeys can form special bonds with other animals including; sheep, goats, pigs, horses, ponies etc. and even humans (as long as it’s constant company). Donkeys become very sad, distressed and even noisy if left alone. Donkeys love company, that’s what makes them such a great companion animal!
In order to maintain good health in donkeys there are a few basic requirements which need to be addressed regularly…
Worming: It is very important to worm donkeys regularly (every 3-4 months). It is highly recommended to alternate with different equine worming pastes which have different active ingredients. This helps to reduce a possible resistance to the worming treatment.
Vaccinating: Regular Tetanus and Strangles vaccinations are necessary for the donkey’s well being. Annual Tetanus Toxoid and Strangles boosters ensure that donkeys are always protected against these terribly painful and potentially fatal diseases, which with a simple vaccine are totally preventable.
Hoof Trimming: Hoof trimming by a reputable farrier is extremely important. The donkey’s hooves should be trimmed every 3-4 months, depending on the terrain and typical weather conditions. For instance; if the donkeys live on hard, rocky, dry land with little wet weather, the donkey’s hooves will need to be trimmed less often. However, if the donkeys live on wet, boggy, soft land, where it rains frequently, here the donkey’s hooves will need to be trimmed more often. Regular “Picking out” of the donkey’s hooves, using a hoof pick will also help to maintain healthy hooves.
Dental Checks: Occasionally donkeys will need to have their teeth checked by an equine dentist to make sure their teeth are wearing evenly and haven’t formed any sharp peaks or edges which could cause pain and discomfort while the donkeys are eating.
Grooming: Grooming provides a great opportunity to give the donkeys a thorough check to make sure there are no problems, such as small cuts or sores or making sure there are no external parasites such as, lice, ticks or fly sores.It is reassuring to note; that in today’s market there are several products available to help keep external parasites under control.
Grooming also helps keep the donkey’s coat looking lovely and healthy. But most importantly, grooming provides a terrific opportunity to truly bond with the donkeys – they really enjoy being brushed and love the company of humans!
The information stated on this website including all advice given should be taken as a guide only. All is given in good faith and to the best of our knowledge is true and accurate. It is intended to be used as a guide only. Any person using this information should make their own assessments to determine the suitability in all respects for their particular circumstances.