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Your Donkeys depend on you for all that they have and do. It is up to you to feed them right, the right foods for them, to make sure that they have water, clean and fresh, as well as shelter. They also depend on your for their health, and you can be blamed if all is not well with your donkey. If you own a donkey (or any animal) please take care of it's needs and a few of it's wants...not too many treats please <grin>.
If you want your donkey to work for you, to respect you and to love you...do the same for it. Remember, you will not be able to ride on or in a cart behind a donkey who's hooves are not cared for properly. A pack donkey will not go very far if it has not been groomed properly (leaving burrs or dirt under that pack).
If your donkey is thin but eating right, check for worms. Is your donkey itchy? Check for lice. Common sense comes into play when owning an animals, and so does calling the Vet from time to time.
Donkey hooves are a bit different then Horse hooves. Donkey hooves are more round and have a different foot setting. The donkey's heels need to be left higher then a horse's when trimmed. Donkeys rarely need, if ever, shoes. They do however need a Farrier or Hoof Care Specialist that knows how to trim a donkey's hoof correctly.
It is always a good idea to find a hoof care person as soon as you buy your donkey or at least a few weeks before your donkey needs a trim. Ask on the phone if this person trims donkeys and is familiar with their hoof type. Yes. It makes a difference.
Like other equine, donkeys will and do seem to get worms from time to time and need to be dewormed with one of the horse products every two to three months...yes, that is more often then a horse. Donkey's systems are a bit different and require a bit more care....maybe they are just sweeter tasting, ey?
Don't panic when you find a little whitish bug crawling on your precious donkey...it happens. Donkeys are susceptible to lice, it's just a fact. It is your responsibility to keep your donkey dewormed and lice free. There are many safe and effective products on the market. Just plan on taking care of lice at least five times a year, every year, year after year.
Read the instructions on Horse Products and follow them correctly for deworming and delousing your donkeys.
Ok, this one is debatable, with as many opinions as their are donkey owners. At the very least ask your Vet or a local (as in your neck of the woods) equine owner what shots are normally given for your area. Tetanus is always a good idea as is rabies.
When to call the Vet
Don't wait until it is too late before you call the vet. I am all for "wait and see", but you need to decide when the "wait" is over and a call to the vet for the health and safety of your animal is necessary.
(more to come)
Many people that own Donkeys also have other pets. I have elists at the Yahoo Group website set up for Holistic and Natural Care of Donkeys Goats and/or Rabbits. Please join us there.