The Donkey Sanctuary has produced this guide with daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and seasonal advice to help you plan how to care for your donkeys properly throughout the year.
- Twice a day, watch your donkey closely to make sure it is displaying normal behaviour and not showing signs of injury or illness.
- Twice a day, check the amount your donkey is eating and drinking. Also check the consistency and frequency of any droppings.
- Remove rugs and check your donkey for rubs or sores.
- Groom your donkey if its coat is dry and pick out its feet.
- Apply insect repellent according to the time of year.
- Give enough high-fibre, low-energy food (such as barley straw) to satisfy your donkey’s natural appetite and maintain a healthy body condition.
- Extra feed may be required depending on your donkey’s individual needs or the time of year.
- If the weather is suitable, turn your donkey out in a paddock to graze. Consider your donkey’s health and stage of life before turning out to graze; it may not be appropriate to allow grazing. It is also important to check the availability of shelter, before they are allowed to graze.
- Organise daily exercise to keep your donkey fit and healthy. Provide ridden, driven or walking exercise if turnout is not available.
- Make sure clean, fresh water is easily available. Check buckets and troughs are clean and working properly.
- Muck-out stables and remove droppings from fields and yards.
- Give your donkey toys or non-poisonous bark-covered logs for extra mental stimulation.
- Check all perimeter fences for damage. Make sure fencing is well-maintained and secure.
- Check for poisonous plants. Correctly remove and destroy any that you find.
- Disinfect stable floors and remove excess dust from stables and shelters.
- Arrange farrier visits every 6-10 weeks.
- Record your donkey’s body condition score and heart girth measurement. Use these with the weight estimator tool, or a donkey-specific weigh tape, to monitor weight gain or loss.
- Take your donkey’s temperature and respiratory rate.
- Carry out a faecal worm egg count test at least twice yearly to check for worms. The results of this test will help you decide whether you need to give a chemical worming treatment. You should administer wormers as advised by your vet or by a person qualified to give advice.
- Arrange a visit from a vet or a qualified equine dental technician to check your donkey’s teeth. Depending on the condition of your donkey’s teeth, you may be told to arrange more frequent dental checks.
- Organise a vet check and arrange for your donkey to have any appropriate vaccination boosters.
- Check that your donkey’s stable is in good condition. Make sure the water supply and electrics are in safe working order.
Additional information to plan ahead