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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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Straw delivery!

Well I lucked out!  Someone here is starting a straw bale garden and needed 50 bales, so I jumped on board and ordered 50 bales for us too and we split the delivery cost.  Good deal all around.  I usually buy barley straw in September, but this year, as my hay loft is half empty by now, I thought why not get it sooner than later and have it done!  I'll restack what's up there and make room for the straw and then a load of hay in June.

This is 100 bales on the truck - 50 for us!

But for the time being, it has to be stacked here on the covered porch, tucked behind the wisteria:

It will need to be moved up to the hay loft:

But my hay elevator is still in its winter home behind the barn!

This straw is from a dairy farm on Vancouver Island. It's stored in a huge loft above the cows and stays nice and dry.  Last August I bought  2012 straw from this farm and had it tested.  I was so worried that it might be high in sugar and starch but turned out it was pretty perfect  for the donkeys.  If anyone would like a copy of the analysis, leave a comment or send me an email and I'll send you the report.

It is so hard to keep weight off minis!  But now I understand the difference between fat and bulk.  Fat is stored in the neck crest, the saddle area and the rump.  Bulk, which I define as roughage passing through the gut, can make the donkeys look very round (oil drum on legs?) but it's not actually "fat."  

They need this roughage as a protection against the hydrochloric acid which is constantly being produced by the stomach.  The digestive tract needs to be active most of the time.  So straw, which is low in calories, protein and sugar is fantastic added to a basic diet of minimal grass, browse and hay.


  1. Fantastic! Looks like lovely straw :-) And you are so right about the 'gut fill', I always say a healthy donkey should have a nice pear shape where there's lots of fibre digesting inside. It just always looks even more dramatic on minis!

    1. Mine are looking like very ripe pears indeed! Actually they look pretty good but Siog is my "chin-scratcher" at the moment - she quite wide in the saddle area. More walking needed and at least the days are longer now. Seems it's after 8 PM when we finally hit the road some days!

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    3. looking for straw in Florida. Any ideas?

    4. Are there any donkey rescues in Fla? If so you could ask what they feed - also distilleries often grow barley straw for making scotch. And sometimes it is fed to dairy cows while they are not milking - ask around and good luck!