Below are some pointers on the proper care of donkeys
Donkeys originated in semi desert areas of the world such as Africa, and Tibet.  Their digestive system and hooves have adapted to living in dry conditions.  They evolved over 1000's of years to consume dry grasses, walk several kilometers per day in search of food and water.  When we have donkeys living in Canada, the US, and Europe, our paddocks are quite the opposite of what donkeys need.  Our grasses are too rich, our ground is too soft.  When donkeys eat our grasses, the sugars in the grasses get converted to fat, the fat clogs up the donkey's liver and pancreas.  The fat then goes to the donkey's neck and her/his neck falls over.  The donkey's body reacts to the sugar as if it were a toxin.  

Did you know that not only do donkey's hooves serve to carry them around, but also to detoxify their bodies?  When  donkey digests her/his food, the hooves grow as metabolic waste is removed from his/her body.  When sugar levels are too high, the hooves grow very fast in an attempt to rid the donkey's body of the excess sugar.  As the hooves grow the connective tissue holding the delicate hoof structures in place become inflamed, and the bones within the hoof can become displaced.  This can result in a very painful hoof condition called 'founder'.  Therefore, it is important that a donkey not be left to eat grasses unheeded.  Alfalfa and clovers are far too rich for donkeys too.  

When the ground is soft and wet, as it often is, in Canada, the US, and Europe, a donkey's hooves do not get warn down properly.  That's when they need a skilled farrier to trim their feet on a regular basis. 

​Treats - we love to treat our animals, but carrots and apples are very sweet.  A treat of a piece of carrot or piece of apple is OK once in a while.  Hugs from trusted humans are great as treats too!  And are sugar free! 

Ruth and Sadie - mother and daughter were rescued from a hoarding/irresposible breeding situation.  You can see rough grasses in the background, and sand where they are resting.  When we created this paddock we brought in river rock and sand to ensure the donkeys have a variety of surfaces on which to walk - soft, hard, rocky, and sandy.   
Our donkeys receive rabies and tetanus vaccines and get their teeth checked regularly.  When donkeys chew their food, their jaws move in a circular motion.  They can develop sharp points which cause painful lesions or abscesses  in their mouths.  Donkeys can be very stoic and hide their pain.  Therefore it is essential to have regular dental exams for donkeys.   A dental exam involves  checking ALL the teeth for hooks and points - even the back ones!   This is Sadie - she had hooks on her back teeth. 
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