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, October 6, 2016

Fall again and thoughts about donkey "clothing!"

Fall descended upon us so quickly this year!  I love Fall but the rains have begun with intensity already ... and that part, I don't love!  The ground is already soggy and will stay that way until it gets cold enough to freeze.  That doesn't always happen on the west coast.  Some winters just stay wet and soggy.

This can be a real problem for donkey hooves.  While my donkeys have a lovely barn and dry breezeway area, I never lock them in at night.  I do shut the big metal gate to their spacious barn paddock and I do feed indoors on dry footing.  However, it's important for them to move around, so I encourage that.

I'm not big on "clothing" ... rain sheets,blankets, etc.  Healthy donkeys shouldn't need the added protection.  But I do have rain sheets and fleece liners for everybody just in case.  I have found that if it has been raining for a few days and the donkeys are reluctant to leave the barn, a rain sheet offers them a bit more encouragement and they will readily come out for a short walk.

I'm cautious though about not wanting to spread any kind of skin ailment under a rain sheet (the perfect environment!) - rain rot or ringworm will go awol under a raincoat!  And I only put one on if their hair is dry, i.e. not over top of wet bodies.

I'm always concerned about hoof health once the ground becomes saturated.   Frogs, which are supposed to be weight-bearing, wash away and hooves become spongy instead of hard, as they are during summer months.

Out comes my spray bottle of apple cider vinegar and I use this a couple of times per week after cleaning out hooves in the evening.  I also keep a mix of calendula oil + tea tree oil in a bottle.  This is great to apply to keep thrush at bay or for any bruising or abscess.

Over the years I have tried numerous hoof remedies.  Now I only use these, plus my homemade remedy posted on the first page, right side. 

Seems there's one donkey in every group that has softer, more sensitive feet and here, that donkey is Rose.  I've written before about trying boots on her, especially if I take her out on our gravel roads.
The boots I had for her though, were made for big dogs (Neopaws.)  And while there are things I like about them, they didn't fit correctly and kept swiveling around and were fussy to do up with a long strap that had to be wrapped and wrapped and wrapped around her fetlock and then tied.

So ... now she has a pair of EasyCare boots made for miniature horses and these seem to fit better.  You can order them here:  https://www.easycareinc.com/our_boots/easyboot_mini/easyboot_mini.aspx

Horse hooves are not as long and narrow as donkey hooves though, so I have been pondering
how comfortable they actually feel.  I also got another pair that the other donkeys can share if need be and they seem to fit Heather and Siog but not Dorrie.

I don't intend that anyone wear boots full time - they are really for road walking and for sore feet if need be.  I have been putting them on Rose's front feet for short periods of time so she can get used to them!


  1. We live in one of the rainiest areas of the country (Lower Alabama) and our sweet Eevie's feet have been a real problem. I am printing your homemade remedies and will start using them immediately! I'm also going to get a truckload of sand and shovel it around the areas where she eats and sleeps.

    1. How big is Eevie? I'm not crazy about sand for smaller donkeys as it can get in the white line area of the hoof. Pea gravel (rounded stones) is better IMO. Or even pouring some concrete in a standing area. The UK Donkey Sanctuary has concrete turn-out areas for winter.

  2. She's quite large -- I'm 5'9", and her back comes up to my chest area. Pea gravel is a good idea, though. We have a source for it in our area. It would last longer than sand, too.

  3. Check out Jaime Jackson's book Paddock Paradise. He has wonderful ideas about track systems and footing! https://www.amazon.com/Paddock-Paradise-Guide-Natural-Boarding/dp/0965800784