Donkey Care Handbook
Donkeys suffer from a number of metabolic disorders, infectious diseases; cancer related pathologies as well as physical injuries. Health is more or less considered as important in donkey keeping. The predominant condition may depend on environment, living and working conditions of the donkey. Blench et al (1998) have listed a number of diseases described in Hausa by donkey owners in Northern Nigeria and local treatment methods they apply.
Elsewhere, Wells et al., featured a number of disease conditions affecting donkeys of local farmers of the North West and Eastern Cape Provinces of South Africa, in which the study showed that the majority of respondents indicated that parasitic diseases and injuries associated with harness were more common. Despite subjected to very perilous living conditions, the donkey appears less susceptible to a number of pathological conditions and diseases affecting horses and cattle.
The basic health requirements of a donkey includes among others: A clean and safe environment it is important that your donkey lives within a clean environment with free access to clean fresh water and mineral licks.
Grazing field should be managed properly and all noxious plants such as ragwort removed. It is also necessary that your donkey lives in an environment that is free from pests such as insects or control measures are taken to minimize their nuisance. The environment should promote good husbandry practice and minimize all forms of injury and abuse.
Donkeys should be fed properly taking great precaution to minimize the risk of laminitis, obesity and hyperlipemia that are all life threatening. Regular vaccination and strategic de-worming, it is important to ask your local Veterinarian for a vaccination, deworming and a calendar of other prophylaxis necessary to keep your donkey healthy.
Bathing and grooming your donkey regularly can contribute to body hygiene by removing body odor, reduce pestilence such as mange(sweet itch), ticks infestation and improve body tone and well-being. Hoof and dental care is an important aspect of donkey care.
Hooves must be checked routinely for debris, wear and tear, injury and infection such as laminitis. Teeth must be inspected every 2-8 weeks for general oral hygiene including wear and tear, debris and eruption. A Veterinarian’s advice should be sought for any abnormality. Donkeys with affected hoof resulting in poor gait or lameness should be given stable rest.
Hooves should be trimmed or shoed when necessary. A happy donkey should also be appropriated dignity in handling, care and companionship. Young and newly introduced donkeys should be tethered or kept adjacent to old ones so as to minimize shyness.
Aggressive donkeys should be removed from the lot. Transport and Working donkeys should be given sufficient time to rest, training and proper attention, ensuring proper use and care for equipment. Donkey users need to learn new technologies before applying them.
Housing facilities should provide adequate space, lighting, ventilation and facilities for restraint, separation of males from females, young ones, sick and nursing animals and space for breeding and delivery with unrestricted access to water.
Fences should be made of suitable materials to minimize harm and promote comfort. Pregnant Jennies should be given sufficient ”maternity rest” including exercise, proper maternal care such as housing, beddings, clean fresh water and medical attention as required.
Young donkeys should have sufficient time and environment to play and express themselves. An animal may be destroyed under the following conditions- old age, infirmity, severe casualty, pain and suffering from a condition that is debilitating or life threatening. A Veterinarian should be consulted on the appropriate timing and method of euthanasia and disposal of cadaver.
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