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donkey owners - when do they need a blanket?

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  • donkey owners - when do they need a blanket?

    I have a small standard donkey with a fuzzy winter coat. Usually, the coldest it gets in my area is mid 20's or so. This weekend, it is expected to get down to around 15 degrees. I don't have a blanket for my donkey, but I will get one for him if needed. I'm just not sure if he needs one. It will be colder than usual, but he is fuzzy and he has a stall (he can go in and out as he chooses).


  • #2
    Just like horses who have nice winter coats and are otherwise healthy, I would observe your donkey and look for signs that he's having a difficult time maintaining the appropriate body temp. Shivering is a pretty good indicator.

    My friend has 2 donkeys. Hers are not normally blanketed but as we're now down below zero over night and reaching only the singled digits during the day and the wind has kicked up, she's blanketing hers. I've still got one horse who seems wholly unaffected by the weather and we're leaving her blanket off til she shows signs that she really NEEDS it.

    The one risk to blanketing is that if you aren't using a heavy enough blanket, you can actually make them colder because the blanket smushes (technical term!) down the hair and lessens their natural insulation. So you can't really think of a blanket as a supplement to their wooly insulation...you have to provide that much and more to make blanketing truly beneficial.
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


    • #3
      I have two minidonks and only the old one wears a blanket. They also come in at night when I close up the barn. The 5yo hates blankets and is very fat/healthy so he doesn't "need" one! As long as they are fit and healthy and get can out of the elements- they shouldn't need a blanket at all.


      • #4
        I blanketed my 3 year old standard jenny. Only cause she looks cuter then cute in her Royal Blue Masta, and we are dipping into the teens during the day with a horrid wind chill.
        Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
        Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
        & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt


        • #5
          Originally posted by aspenlucas View Post
          I blanketed my 3 year old standard jenny. Only cause she looks cuter then cute in her Royal Blue Masta, and we are dipping into the teens during the day with a horrid wind chill.
          Not fair to post this without sharing pictures!
          ~ A true friend knows all there is to know about you and still likes you. -E. Hubbard


          • #6
            My standard donkey went well below zero without needing a blanket. Provide ample hay, shelter, give a little grain (a cup or so if approved by the vet) and make sure he has warm water to drink. Unlike horses, donkeys cannot stay hydrated by eating snow. They need an open water source.
            "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



            • #7
              My mini-donk is outside right now sans blanket and it is supposed to get down to -40 degrees with the windchill tonight. My horses aren't blanketed either but all (donkey included) have thick woolly coats, lots and lots of free choice good quality hay, heated water, and a shelter to go into if they want (but they hardly ever use it, even in this weather). I think your donkey will be ok without a blanket, but if you do provide one, be sure it is heavy enough to compensate for the loss of insulation you will create by flattening down his coat with the blanket.
              Ainninn House Stud
              Irish Draughts and Connemaras
              Co. Westmeath, Ireland


              • #8
                I agree with the demand for pictures! Seriously, I don't know what you are thinking. I would not put a blanket on a donkey. They are so hardy I think it might annoy them more than anything. Fifteen is just strutt'in around weather.
                “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
                ? Rumi


                • #9
                  I have had to blanket my donkey once in 7 years. One chilly evening (but not bitterly cold), after having his shots, he was shivering. I called the vet, and said maybe he was feeling puny after his shots, and he suggested a blanket. Fortunately, I had one for him!

                  My donkey's a tough old guy, but he does like shelter. My horse stands out in the wind, rain, sleet, whatever; but the donkey stays in the barn when it's cold.
                  I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


                  • #10
                    Ive never blanketed any of my donkeys. They have access to the barn, hay, heated water, and are extremely wooly. I have put a heat lamp in the stall when I've had a new baby and it was in the teens. Don't know if they use it but it is there if they need to warm up. I have noticed a difference in their coats when they are pregnant. In fact, one way I know they are is that they don't get as wooly. Maybe they are like I was, hot the whole time I was pregnant.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mia412 View Post
                      Not fair to post this without sharing pictures!
                      K, I'll get one by Friday in the snow. PROMISE
                      Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
                      Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
                      & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt


                      • #12
                        last spring we went to an auction and rescued a 30 dollar donkey. Now George is a bit underweight and when it was wet this spring and a bit cold (we do live in SD) I had to rig up a blanket out of my exercise sheet, an extra belly band, and some safety pins. Wet is bad bad for donkeys....they are not as waterproof as horses! and they are also more prone to upper resp. problems.

                        So this winter my mother...who has the donkey now...will blanket when she blankets the other horses or when we have freezing rain even if the other horses don't have their blankets on. George is very cute in his blue and red blankey and since tonight will get below -40 with windchills you can guess we are all blanketed up!


                        • #13
                          My donkey is outside right now, in -20 temps, without a blanket. She isn't shivering. I did bring her and the horses in overnight a few nights ago when they were wet from a wet snow, and extreme wind-chill values were expected.

                          I put more hay out when the temperatures are this low.
                          My Equestrian Art Photography page


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Rescue Pony View Post
                            Wet is bad bad for donkeys....they are not as waterproof as horses! and they are also more prone to upper resp. problems.

                            this is true. they dont have the insulating layer next to the skin as horses do. they are warm/dry desert like climate animals. dont let their fluffy fur fool ya. its doesnt have the insulation properties as a horse.

                            when they get wet, chilled, snowed upon, or all of the above, they are fully compromised. donkeys tend to not show when they are in distress (I think that has to do with their strong sense of survival) as horses do. so you just have to be smart about it. ALSO, a donkey needs to feel safe in his shelter or he wont use it, even when he needs to. so you have to be smart about that too.

                            they are prone to severe upper resps. and they are very susceptible to lung worms when compromised. they can get very sick, very quickly

                            in MOST weather they are fine, IF they have full shelter. that means a roof and out of the wind, a safe/clean/dry place to loaf, 24/7 hay, and lots of fresh, clean water available.

                            but, this week, even though my donks have all the above, I have blanketed. Normally, I wouldnt blanket them, but it was -32 this morning, you betcha, im gonna blanket an animal that doesnt produce insulation. I have a baby on board and its not worth taking a chance with her.


                            • #15
                              So funny this topic came up this week! I just ordered our mini donk a blanket this morning.

                              He was fine last winter, but we've had the situation twice in the past week where the crew has been out and we've had snow flurries/light snow. We don't have run-ins, but everyone's cozy in their turnouts...all except poor Buster. I've always heard that donkeys don't do well if they get wet, and it makes me feel better to think that he'll have a layer between his "wool" and any precipitation.

                              For example, today we just had snow flurries in the morning and I hated to leave the critters in since I was working all day. So there I am at 6 am this morning, with temps in the low teens, trying to measure Buster for a blanket with my 10-month-old colt trying to "assist" by eating the measuring tape. I've never had anything that takes a 48" blanket!


                              • #16
                                How funny that this topic came up! I just put a blanket on my donkey today. First time I've ever blanketed him in the ten years we've had him. We are going down to single digits tonight which is just freaking cold for here and on the blanket went! Here is a blog post with pictures (the pictures do not do him justice as he was so cute in his blankie but I was cold!). http://paradigmfarms.blogspot.com/
                                Blogging about daily life on the retirement farm: http://paradigmfarms.blogspot.com/
                                Paradigm Farms on Facebook


                                • #17
                                  I have a standard and he has a rainsheet because it is so wet here but he has about 3 inches of the thickest hair ever so I don't worry about him getting cold. But... the coldest we have had is about 15 this year. I figure if he didn't have a sheet then he would never leave his nice dry stall, I do only put it on him when it is awful out though. Here is a picture of him modeling it this summer, the Schneiders Viking II has a nice short drop that works good for donkeys since they have longer backs than horses.


                                  • #18
                                    I have 2 mini Donkeys and have never blanketed them. I am sure they would think I had lost my mind if I did. They seem quite comfortable even in this current frigid weather in the mid-atlantic area. They are stabled at night with the horses and share a stall together.
                                    *Every horse is a self-portrait of the rider....Autograph your work with excellence.*
                                    Supporting Nokotas www.nokotahorse.org
                                    Lipizzan's rock! http://rigitta.blogspot.com/


                                    • #19
                                      What about my pygmy goat?

                                      In MD I have only seen a couple of people blanket older donkeys. I have blanketed my pygmy goat before when it was raining and cold and got yelled at by people. What about now? Right now she is not with my horses and living alone. She does fit into my dog's blankets. Anyone have knowledge on their hair?


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Chief2 View Post
                                        My standard donkey went well below zero without needing a blanket. Provide ample hay, shelter, give a little grain (a cup or so if approved by the vet) and make sure he has warm water to drink. Unlike horses, donkeys cannot stay hydrated by eating snow. They need an open water source.
                                        I thought donkeys were better able to stay hydrated than horses?

                                        I have 2 minis and can't even imagine blanketing them. Oscar would tear it off and poor Felix would be thoroughly convinced he was being attacked and killed by a foreign creature!