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

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Balancing Vitamins and Minerals for Donkeys

This has always been a head-scratcher as very little research has been done about which vitamins and minerals donkeys need and how much. So we donkey owners tend to feed horse stuff, adjusting the amounts and hoping for the best.  This is probably dumb!

I offer a mineral block that has selenium in it (I know we are deficient here on the west coast) and I also put out a salt lick plus a wall feeder with loose white salt in it.  The donkeys use all of them ... a bit! So maybe that's enough - after all everybody is healthy.

But, but, but ... lately I've been thinking about the idea of being over fed but under nourished.  The donkeys never seem to reach a level of satisfaction, even though they are being fed LOTS!  Probably too much as they are chubby and that's not good.  So what could be going on?  What are they looking for? 
Munch, munch, munch ...

My friend from The Dancing Donkey blog, has been doing a lot of work on exploring her hay test results and setting up spread sheets to try to determine what the deficiencies are in her hay (and mine too - thank you K!)

Hmm ...  we KNOW that donkeys utilize feed differently than horses (more efficiently) and we know that their feed requirements are less than horses, i.e. they can make use of coarser, lower protein hay than can horses and they can eat scruffy bits of browse and find some value in it.

So now the UK Donkey Sanctuary has developed a vitamin/ mineral pellet for donkeys (yay!) ... that we can't get in Canada (boo ...!)   I have compared the feed tags between the UK-produced pellet and the ones I have been feeding (occasionally) but e-Blogger will only let me paste photos, not text files.

Look up http://drreeds.com/formula2.html   - I feed this pelleted form because I don't need to put it into a wet mash, like you do with powdered supplements.

And here is the one developed especially for donkeys in the UK:
http://www.topspec.com/shop/products/topspec-donkey-forage-balancer/  They don't list ingredients but it's a VERY different product with far fewer ingredients from what the feed tag tells me!

And for us, it looks great because it doesn't contain iron or manganese, both of which this year's hay has in excess, and it has added copper and selenium, both of which are deficient in this batch of hay.

I am considering sending the hay test results and the ingredients list from TopSpec (I have written to them for more info)  to someplace (?) that can custom-make a supplement for me - balancing the deficiencies in my hay and leaving out stuff that it has in excess.  It would be very interesting to see if the donkeys respond to having the "correct" balance of vitamins and minerals by balancing out their body-weight!

Having said all this, Dorrie and I went out for a super walk yesterday - exercise is also a high priority!

1 comment:

  1. Have to say it is great stuff... not that I'm biased :-) Have all of my gang (including the pony on it) and they are all better off for it. Let me know if you want more info..... I might know be able to help :-)