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 and J.D. Badonkadonk....
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...
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.
"My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."
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.
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.
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. 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!
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...
Some alfalfa is OK for the skinny minnys. 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.
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!
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!
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!!
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.
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.