The Donkey Sanctuary has put together essential care advice on the clipping of your donkeys.

The natural coat of a donkey is needed for many reasons such as assisting with body temperature regulation, as well as protection from the weather and flies - as such, they should not be fully clipped out at any time of year.

The exception to this rule is the elderly donkey that perhaps as a result of hormonal disturbance may have grown an excessively hairy coat, which a veterinary surgeon may advise requires clipping in summer and winter.

It is common for horses in work to be clipped out through the winter months but in our experience the necessity to clip a donkey is more likely to occur during late spring and through the summer months. A donkey should never be clipped for the sake of it, but some reasons for partial clipping may include the following:

  • Some donkeys can grow unusually heavy or thick coats through the winter and be slow to moult during the spring.
  • The hair on a donkey’s belly may remain long and become easily matted. This is a sensitive area on a donkey so choosing to clip away the hair may be a more comfortable option.
  • Some donkeys may suffer from skin conditions, such as a lice infestation, which benefit from excessive coat being clipped away.
  • It may also be necessary to clip an area of the donkey’s coat in order to keep a wound clean and free from hair and other debris.
  • Advice from a veterinary surgeon must be sought in the first instance if clipping is due to lice or as part of the management of a wound.
  • Through particularly hot summer months if a donkey has not fully shed its winter coat it may sweat in certain areas like the neck, behind the elbows and between the hind legs. This is another situation where a partial clip may be considered.

If for one of the above reasons and after some serious thought the decision is made to clip your donkey then our clipping your donkey guidelines should help make the job of clipping easier and safer for the both of you.

Removing lice

Effective lice control in donkeys can be achieved by clipping and bathing your donkey.  We have found that there is resistance to the effects of the common anti-lice wash Deosect, so clipping and bathing is an effective alternative. The clipping allows the shampoo to reach the skin and the bathing drowns the adult lice. The process should be repeated after a couple of weeks to prevent any further eggs hatching.

Donkey rugs, grooming tools and tack should all be thoroughly washed as well.

Want to know more?

Information for donkey owners