Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. ----Discussion Forum

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Kim V.
Time for a donkey update... nothing new.. just getting ready for winter.

Heaters are in the water tank, got a load of straw for bedding - both chopped and baled. We got our hay bought, not a good year for hay here with all the rain, my regular hay guy didn't get any 1st crop and only 15 bales of 2nd, so we both ended up buying hay. I found some pretty nice grass hay - last years hay crop, it was cut late but dry and dust free. Very low sugar, low protein, thankfully low iron (thats another story in itself)... I had it tested and then we sent the numbers off to be balanced and am feeding just a vitamin mineral pellet (Dr's Choice), copper (to balance the iron), plain salt and Bug Check with 1 cup (for 3 donkeys) of grass hay pellets... I add 1/2 a ounce of ExelEQ to stick it all together. Once winter really hits I'll up the pellets and soak it all into a mash so they have a warm breakfast in the morning. Not saying these guys are spoiled or anything... Which reminds me, its past the 1st frost date, I really need to get fecal samples sent in for everyone.
They look the same.... well, Jasper and Sophie have gotten a bit cresty, not like Flora, but... their weigh sure is hard to manage. They stay fat on air. 

Just wanted to touch base, I know its been awhile.... ~Kim

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I admire how diligent you are about their care
Kim Van Drisse

I kind of think its my responsibility to take care of them to the best of my ability... wish I had more money and time to do more.. If time and money were not an object I'd have a 'track' system with varied terrain and obstacles to maneuver to insure they got more exercise with slow feed hay nets spaced at regular intervals, instead of a bug square pasture. But we don’t own this place and the time is coming when we will need to move. The pasture will turn into a corn or wheat field so creating what would be a huge issue for the owner.

I’d love to have the time (and again the money) to have them all broke to drive and be able to drive them as a trio through the woods and down the trails… wouldn’t that be a hoot to see! But alas, I need to work to pay for their keep… 😊

My mare had an issue with thrush for months earlier this year, we are finding the high iron in our water may be the cause of a lot of her issues – many feeds contain iron, either additionally added or occurring naturally in the ingredients. Filtering our water and cutting commercial feed (neither she nor the donks need an extra calories to be honest.. basically I was killing them with kindness) was a start.

Because they are easy keepers and at risk for founder/laminitis, low sugar hay is the way to go, and everyone is in their teens so high protein isn’t a need either. I like this hay because I can (and do) keep it in front of them 24/7 in winter to ensure A: they are warm B: their guts are always moving and C: they are happiest when eating… LOL

Adopting the donkeys has been an epic journey and learning experience. I’ve always felt honored to have been able to adopt them. I promised to take care of them and meet their needs when I took on their responsibility.

I do wish I could do more, esp for the beautiful little 13 year old beagle mix that was recently left at our local humane society – because her owners were moving and ‘couldn’t take her with them. Just thinking about it breaks my heart. I have 2 dogs over 10, with old dog issues. One is dog aggressive – which is why that little lady isn’t living out her final days with me… I just can’t get her off my mind…


Kim, you are such a kind hearted person!  You are doing such a good job with your lovely donkeys....and yes they (and mine!!) are happiest with food in front of them all the time....all you can eat buffet!!  It is hard when you feel you have all you can manage, and then another tugs at your heart strings.  Hopefully someone will be drawn to help her soon.
Kim V.
Well, the weather 'was' nice..... I was taking the opportunity to feed hay out in the pasture, taking 2 flakes of grass hay out in the morning and spreading it around in bite sized piles, so everyone would need to walk a little... we've cut way back on their hay, its 1st crop grass hay, and since its been nice, we've only been feeding 15lbs a day to them and my mare (who spends all her time grazing yet). There is a slow feeder in the barn filled with really nice wheat straw for those 'incase of an emergency' meal, if the donks deem they can't walk outside to the hay feeder... I figured since they eat the fresh straw for bedding when I make their beds, they can have it for a snack as well. 
Today though the yard is a icey mess so they are locked in the barn with their hay while my husband hauls gravel down to the barn yard to make the footing safe for them. Ugh, this is miserable! 
Anyway, Happy New Year!

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Jenni O.
It's icy here too. It's been a mild winter, and that's the only good thing I can say. At least the donkeys aren't cranky about their diet!
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