Welcome to my blog - a diary about living with donkeys, notes about care, my training sessions and the absolute pleasure of donkey companionship.

Leave a comment! Just click on Comments at the bottom of each post and a box will appear. If you have a question, I always respond!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shopping for the right Hay!

Nutrition is such an important key to good health but it's often not until something goes wrong that we think about it seriously. While we might think of offering donkeys a mineral or salt block, maybe some treats or supplements sometimes, we give them plenty of hay.  And, hay is "hay" ... right?

Although I have been sending off samples of hay to be tested for protein levels every other year, I have now delved ever more deeply into the variations on hay in an attempt to find the perfect hay for donkeys.

The first year we had donkeys (2002) I followed the lead of a friend and bought hay from the same supplier that she did.  She was feeding horses though and I soon learned that this beautiful horse hay was far too rich for my donkeys.  What does "too rich" mean?  Donkeys need protein levels in hay to be around 5% and this hay was 12%! Back then, I don't think many people were even thinking about sugars in hay ... more on that dreaded component later.

Back to hay - ever since Siog arrived, 9 months ago, she's had intermittent diarrhea and this has been of great concern to me.

I've carefully dewormed her, had an equine panel done to see if she has a bacterial infection (no, thank goodness!) had her teeth floated, given her probiotics and Ulcerex and Bio-sponge ... nothing has helped!
Next I was reluctantly considering acupuncture and Chinese herbs!  Reluctantly because a) that's expensive treatment and b) I prefer to keep things as close to "natural" and uncomplicated as possible!

But as luck would have it, an equine nutritionist suggested that Siog is probably suffering from a fructan overload!  Too much sugar in the hay and straw!  Oh boy - a possible diagnosis and not that hard to fix!
So this is what has led me on the path to learn as much as I can about hay.

No comments:

Post a Comment