View Full Version : We've become Donkey-ville...

Mar. 27, 2012, 08:43 AM
My roommate & I just rescued 3 donkeys... 1 mini that has recently been gelded, and 2 regular jenny donks that were left to starve in a drylot. The people that had the mini were the original rescuers of the jennies, and said they have gained weight since they found them... Oy... So here are Thelma, Louise (https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/536769_10150624666551713_511691712_9502080_1092512 338_n.jpg)and J.D. Badonkadonk... (https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/546751_10150624662246713_511691712_9502075_1179105 265_n.jpg).

Thelma and Louise are apparently a mother/daughter pair and are basically unhandled, though their feet have at some point been done (that's a whole 'nother story!). J.D. has been handled and is curious, but not trusting yet. They all are curious and appear to want to be friendly.

Any and all advice on donkeys and feeding the emaciated ones would be greatly appreciated...

Mar. 27, 2012, 09:52 AM
Oh my, they are seriously cute :) I don't have any advice but thank you for taking them in.

Mar. 27, 2012, 09:55 AM
They really are cute. But, dear God, wait until I upload some of the other photos... Poor little donks...

Mar. 27, 2012, 09:59 AM
I have no donkey advice. Just good on you for giving them a soft place to land. And, they are seriously cute. Good luck.:cool::winkgrin:

Mar. 27, 2012, 10:18 AM
Awww....love me some donkeys! I have a mini donkey and love him to pieces. Just remember that they are not little long eared horses. Donkeys are different. They are very smart and learn very quickly....so quickly that you want to make sure you are teaching the right lesson ;). You won't "school" a donkey like you would a horse....like lunging. My donkey went around a few times and then stopped. He didn't see the point. Once he proved he knew how to run around in a circle he was done with it and nothing would move him to prove it again.

Mar. 27, 2012, 11:21 AM
Now for the sad photos...

Thelma's feet (http://www.flickr.com/photos/19706418@N00/6874910380/)

Close-up of her RF. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/19706418@N00/6874913442/) She is lame in the LF, but we can't yet touch her, so nothing we can do at this point...

Thelma's full body shot (http://www.flickr.com/photos/19706418@N00/7021024327/)

And from the back... (http://www.flickr.com/photos/19706418@N00/6874955380/) :-(

Louise from the side (http://www.flickr.com/photos/19706418@N00/7021028683/)

And from the back (http://www.flickr.com/photos/19706418@N00/6874963568/)

J.D. looks better than the two girls... Pics of him coming soon!

Mar. 27, 2012, 11:49 AM
Aww poor girls.

Thank you for taking them in. I bet they will be forever loving when they relize you are there to help

Mar. 27, 2012, 12:00 PM
Wow - they are skinny, but so cute. Bless you for helping them ! Good luck and we look forward to seeing updates.

Mar. 27, 2012, 12:08 PM
I'm hoping to make Louise my hiking buddy... Would love to be able to hike and camp with the donks! I don't think Thelma will ever be able to though... Her LF is pretty messed up. Looks like the ankle was at some point broken and has healed incorrectly.

Mar. 27, 2012, 12:32 PM
I took in a donkey that was abandoned in a huge lush field -- she was obese!

I can't offer advice on feeding them so they get back to a good weight, but can say that donkeys are extremely easy keepers, so be careful you don't let them go too much the other way.

My donkey wouldn't let you get within 10 feet of her; now you can *mostly* walk up to her to pet her, if she knows you. She also lets people work with her. I found it good to feed her in one run-in bay (only a handful of grain, while the horses were eating) that could be closed off with a gate. That way, she really couldn't get away from me, and I could show her that good things (treats, scratches) came from letting people get close.

She's incredibly gentle, I hope yours are too. There are pictures of her on my farm's facebook page, link below.

Good for you! And keep us posted :)

Mar. 27, 2012, 12:45 PM
Just be careful with feeding them as they can become a victim of refeeding syndrome just like horses


Looks like they all need a good worming to start getting rid of thier long shaggy coats but again take it slow with the worming you don't want a major die off triggering a colic.

Feet obviousley need to be done and donk's can be funny about thier feet being handled. Make sure your farrier is comfortable with trimming donks (most are not).

Once you get them to a good weight they will be air ferns and grateful for your kindness.

Mar. 27, 2012, 01:12 PM
A friend and I just rescued two Mini-Donkey's on Sunday. Our jenny is pregnant and they are both starved. These are my first donkey's but they are great :yes:

Mar. 27, 2012, 01:55 PM
We were told there is a possibility that Thelma and Louise are pregnant... I'm praying they're not.

We are feeding them free-choice grass hay, and a handful of 14% high fat sweet feed once a day (mostly to make friends). Louise is developing a cough, which worries me as I have been reading about lung worms. :eek: Feet are actually last on the list of priorities. When I say unhandled, I mean we can't touch the girls. At all. And they are currently pretty quick to let the hind legs fly if they think you are crowding them. I'm going to try to mix wormer with applesauce and get some in them over then next few weeks. Definitely do not want a massive die-off issue!

Mar. 27, 2012, 02:05 PM
Just read a bit on the refeeding syndrome page... One thing I have learned about the donks in the past couple of days is that you DO NOT want to feed them alfalfa. Every rescue I have seen says grass hay and low protein feed...

Mar. 27, 2012, 05:54 PM
Some alfalfa is OK for the skinny minnys. :yes: And those are some skinny girls. :(

Our protocol for emaciated donkeys is clean grass hay and a 1/4 flake of leafy alfalfa twice a day to start. We increase to 1/2 flake twice a day slowly. We like to feed Ulitium (high fat, lower sugars) and a probiotic also twice a day. Usually it's a cup each feeding gradually increasing to 2 - 3 cups/feeding. Soaked beet pulp is OK too.

Let them get some nutrition into them before deworming and then start with something milder like a Fenbendazole based dewormer.

Once they get a taste of the grain, I like to hold the bowl while they're eating. Then I start by stroking the neck. Gradually (over several days) I work towards the face on each side. Haven't met one yet that won't tolerate some gentle touches in exchange for goodies. :winkgrin:

Donkeys work well with pressure and release. Approach them until just before they look/turn away. Stop and take a step back. Usually they'll swing their head around and stare. Continue with that approach until you can get one touch/scratch on a shoulder/back area then leave. Donkeys do well to "sleep on it" so to speak. They process information differently than horses.

You may want to consider sedation for the first trimming. It will be safer for the trimmer and less stressful for the donks. You can work on acceptance of trimming unsedated over time.

Thank you for taking them in! They are lucky little donkeys!

Apr. 4, 2012, 04:58 PM
Well, the kids are slowly - SLOWLY - coming along. We got halters on them, with a catch rope on the older jenny (the one most free with her hind end). They are very smart - when I walk down to the gate, I am the most popular person in the world so long as I don't try to catch them. Well, the girls - the little mini (J.D.) is a love bug. He's all about getting groomed and loved on.

They've been wormed and looked at by a vet as best as possible. He got hands on J.D., and looked at Thelma and Louise as closely as he could without touching. He thinks Thelma's lameness is completely due to her hoof and has recommended a donkey farrier (that I had no idea existed!) for us to call once they are a bit friendlier. He did say we are doing the right thing - hay, hay and more hay - and that they WILL get better. He also said they had "thumps" and that it would go away with weight and nutrition. Here's hoping!

Apr. 4, 2012, 05:08 PM
You will love having donks!! I got a jenny in December and she is a love!! Agree about a farrier who knows donkey feet (mine does). She also loves apples and carrots and treats when she can get them!! She is on straight grass hay and does fine, that and turnout. She is more on the skinny mini side so she gets a pellet as well. Mine has also had on going skin issues (ask me how I know about donkey lice, daily betadyne baths, etc!) I think its great you took them in, sounds like they are coming along and beginning to trust you. I wish I had space for more!!


Never sure if this works or not!

Apr. 4, 2012, 05:18 PM
I know little about donkeys but those are the skinniest I've ever seen :(. Usually they're so much hardier than horses and when there are skinny horses on a property with donkeys, the donks still seem to be in better condition. It must have been hell for them before, I'm so glad you took them in.

Frank B
Apr. 4, 2012, 10:10 PM
Here ya go, The American Donkey And Mule Society: http://lovelongears.com/

There's lots of good info on the website, and much more in their bookstore.

Apr. 9, 2012, 03:35 PM
Some slightly newer pics of the donks...

Group photo - JD, Louise & Thelma (http://www.flickr.com/photos/19706418@N00/6903533400/)

(the catch rope has since been taken off Thelma)

JD is quite the character! (http://www.flickr.com/photos/19706418@N00/6903540142/)

Apparently I have to re-load the others... More to come.

We are not sure Thelma is going to make it. At what point do you decide that the suffering is too great? I keep wanting to hang on for one more day, but it breaks my heart to see her... Sigh. Vet coming back out to see her again tomorrow morning. I think we're going to have a truck on standby to pick her up if the Dr. thinks it's the best thing for her. :(

Mtn trails
Apr. 9, 2012, 05:25 PM
What is so wrong with Thelma that she may not make it? Is it her hoof issues?

Apr. 9, 2012, 05:33 PM
My goodness they are cute.

How lame is Thelma? They're so hardy , hopefully she does improve.

And what are "thumps"?

Apr. 9, 2012, 09:38 PM
low carb is what you need to keep in mind...usually a feed good for cushings or oldsters is good for donks.....overfed donks may never lose fat pads, so you don't want to let them get fat,either....

having feet go too long can sometime actually deform the bone, causing bending,bowing, and if left too long can be permanent.....one of my rescues had a bent ankle, but luckily, with proper trimmng, it is coming back into alignment...

they are THE dearest little things, i just love them....i have a riding donk and the 2 minis.......

hope you have a happy ending with your gal

Apr. 9, 2012, 10:20 PM
It isn't just the leg on Thelma... If that was it, there'd be no question of doing everything and then some. While the other two are improving - gaining weight, getting visibly stronger and more balanced, thumps gone on them - Thelma is actually looking weaker and worse. She segregates herself from the others unless it's feeding time, and can no longer even muster the energy for a decent kick. That she is barely handle-able only makes it worse. She always looks like she just ran a marathon with her breathing & she has a horrible cough when she is eating...

We have an appointment with the vet and horse hearse on Wednesday morning. :cry: At least she'll have a few weeks of consistent good food and affection (as much as she lets us give her from a distance anyway) before going somewhere better... :cry:

Apr. 9, 2012, 10:29 PM
Thumps are involuntary diaphragm contractions that are a result of extreme emaciation. They will go away with good nutrition and weight gain. My vet said regarding Thelma that if there was a zero on the body scale, it would be her... Louise was a one & JD a 2...

Apr. 9, 2012, 10:38 PM
Me and a friend just rescued two mini donks a couple weeks ago. They are a very low body score of 3. The Jenny is pregnant to make matters worse plus she is only 2 years old:no: It is very hard to bring them back from such a bad situtation.

I don't know much about donkey's but my vet mentioned that lung worms are common in donkey's and wanted me to dose them with ivermectin even though their fecals were negative. They are contagious to horses. Maybe Thelma has lung worms :confused: My donkey's also breathed funny at first although they didn't cough and it cleared up after a couple weeks of good nutrition.

Sending BIG donkey jingles for Thelma from Willow and Dunkin :yes: Hold on sweet girl!!

Apr. 9, 2012, 10:56 PM
We're sure they have lungworms. They've been wormed once and are due for another worming this weekend. Consensus was that we'd kill them if we did a full worming at one time. I'll see if I can upload a short video of Thelma breathing...

Apr. 9, 2012, 11:07 PM
Thelma breathing (http://m.flickr.com/photos/19706418@N00/6917037200/)

Apr. 9, 2012, 11:13 PM
Poor Thelma. She seems very uncomfortable in the video.

Good luck doing what is right for her.

Apr. 10, 2012, 12:08 AM
I know... It's breaking my heart, but after 3 weeks with no progress, and actually a little worsening of her status, we are at the point of having to choose what's best for her. And it isn't a decision that's being made or taken lightly. I am a huge believer that life itself isn't enough - there has to be some quality to life, and she just has none... :cry::cry:

Apr. 10, 2012, 12:15 AM
I am very sorry Kinsella :cry: I have only had my donkey's two weeks and I adore them so much..........I can't imagine having to let one of them go so soon.

As ZuZu would say ....AO ....Always Optimistic !! Maybe your vet can find something to help her. Please don't give up hope for her!

Apr. 11, 2012, 11:48 AM
:cry: R.I.P. Thelma... :cry:

When the vet came this morning, he said we were absolutely doing the right thing, and that he was surprised she was still alive after how she looked last time he saw her... (He's a good vet, and did speak to us of euthanasia, but was not going to push it on us if we wanted to keep trying with her)

Now we focus 110% on Louise and JD - who need new names or they'll always remind us that we lost Thelma... (I'm leaning toward Forrest & Jenny personally, though I know Jenny is horribly un-original!)

Apr. 11, 2012, 12:16 PM
So sorry, but it sounds like you did what was best for her. Good luck with the other two - I think Forest & Jenny sounds cute !

Apr. 11, 2012, 12:32 PM
RIP Thelma :cry: Thank you for giving her a humane end!!

Holly Jeanne
Apr. 11, 2012, 01:23 PM
Oh my are they ever so adorable! Thanks for taking them. There are some donkeys in my area but, fortunately, they are fat and sassy. :)

Apr. 12, 2012, 10:02 AM
Forrest and Jenny it is...

Jenny is breaking my heart... For 4 weeks we have not heard a peep out of any of the donks. Now Jenny brays for Thelma about once an hour. In her 4 years they had never been separated. :cry::cry::cry:

Apr. 12, 2012, 11:23 AM
I am very sorry Kinsella.....it must be heartbreaking for both of you!!!

I had to seperate the jack from my Jenny earlier this week so he could go to his new home and she brayed the first day.......the sound is heart wrenching :cry: My jenny is over it now and doing well. Just give her some time.....sadly she just lost her mother.......

Apr. 12, 2012, 12:35 PM
Sad news...thanks for giving her a good home for as long as you could, and doing the right thing when it was required.

Holly Jeanne
Apr. 12, 2012, 01:33 PM
I missed about Thelma. I'm so sorry! :cry:

Apr. 12, 2012, 01:48 PM
Ahhh poor Jenny ... she will be okay in a few days, and she has Forrest !

Sorry to hear about Thelma too, at least she had a few weeks of love before you kindly let her go.

Oct. 24, 2012, 08:29 PM
They do need company of some sort. It's a plan to introduce a new companion before the old one leaves or they can pine dreadfully.

Hope jenny has settled well by now -