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.

Daily 

  • Observe your donkeys for normal behaviour
  • Muck out stables and poo pick fields and yards
  • Clean water buckets or drinkers
  • Provide fresh barley straw for feeding
  • Groom donkeys and pick out their feet
  • Provide mental stimulation in the form of non-poisonous bark covered logs, toys, exercise such as walking
  • Move strip grazing if appropriate
  • Apply insect protection as recommended by manufacturers
  • Skip out stable in evening and check for normal behaviour.

Weekly 

  • Clean field water troughs
  • Check all perimeter fences for damage and ensure fencing is well maintained and secure
  • Keep a constant look out for poisonous plants and remove whenever found
  • Dust stables remove any cobwebs and disinfect stable floors.

Monthly

  • Farrier visits every 6-8 weeks
  • Take your donkeys' heart girth measurements and monitor your donkeys' weight
  • Condition score the donkeys to check for weight gain or loss in conjunction with hearth girth measurement.

Yearly

  • Organise the equine dental technician or vet as part of your donkeys' dental care programme
  • Organise for a yearly vet check and annual Equine Flu vaccination and Tetanus vaccination if due
  • Organise for faecal egg counts from donkey dung samples at least twice yearly for each donkey and have your vet advise you on the need for worming
  • Paint stable walls or use animal-friendly wood preservative.

Spring

Summer

  • Continue with daily fly and insect prevention measures as per manufacturer’s instructions
  • Order barley straw and any hay or haylage that you might need for winter use
  • If you have older donkeys that wear rugs in winter ensure they are cleaned and repaired if necessary
  • Extra grooming of donkeys to help remove winter coat
  • Monitor weight and control grazing throughout summer.

Autumn

  • If donkeys have access to grazing during winter, get bark chip or suitable sand to keep gateways clean and dry
  • Monitor any flush of autumn grass and restrict grazing as required
  • Put up fence around oak trees to prevent any donkeys getting access to fallen acorns
  • Treat wooden fencing and field shelter with animal-friendly wood preservative.

Winter

  • Monitor your donkeys' water intake and offer warm water if required to ensure adequate intake
  • Ensure access to hardstanding to help minimise foot problems and mud fever
  • If fitted, remove donkey rugs daily to check for signs of rubbing.

Want to know more?

Information for donkey owners