Boo Boo, age 21, and Barnaby, age 29, have been in a lovely foster home in Essex since 2001 and until 2008 everything was fine. Then, due to a change of equine dentist, Amy took over dental care of the boys. Some donkeys are better with the dentist than others and Barnaby is very laid back about it all but Boo Boo has different ideas!
Amy discovered that one of the boys needed extensive treatment and yes, it would be Boo Boo! Over the ensuing five years poor Boo Boo has lost most of his molars, not something that is undertaken lightly in a donkey as once teeth start being extracted it is usually bad news for the remaining teeth which lack support. On Amy's visit in March she removed molar number five, leaving him with limited capacity to chew.
Boo Boo was clearly not coping too well with the food available to him and Amy was very concerned that he would not last too much longer as he had lost quite a lot of weight. Unable to eat hay or straw, Boo Boo was managing grass but needed much more so three feeds a day were introduced with soaked hi fibre nuts, chaff and Speedi-Beet with sufficient liquid to make everything soft and easily managed by Boo Boo. A short chaff such as Mollichaff Donkey is a great substitute for hay or straw and can be fed ad lib in a trug or largish container.
With the correct amount of Mollichaff Donkey it should be possible to reduce the high fibre nuts and Speedi-Beet so that Boo Boo’s weight is managed without having to restrict his fibre intake.
Boo Boo thought all his Christmases had arrived at once and Barnaby was also quite happy as he had to be given a few handfuls of low calorie food to keep him occupied whilst Boo Boo ate his.
Amy visited in the autumn of this year and was delighted to see him looking so well. I also visited in the late autumn and found a rather plump donkey! So we cut back a little and Alison, his foster owner, will monitor his weight and adjust his feed accordingly, especially over the winter months as the grass available is poor and lacking goodness.
Regular dental checks from an early age are essential for donkeys but as with some humans, certain donkeys just seem prone to problems although with careful management this can be overcome.
So even with no donkey dentures (or implants!) available, life is still great for Boo Boo, pictured here with Barnaby. Though we couldn't get him to smile!
Special thanks to Alison and Gerry for the lovely photo of their two boys in the snow.