feeding

Nutrition and dental care of donkeys

Citation

Faith A. Burden, Nicole du Toit, Alexandra K. Thiemann. August 2013. Nutrition and dental care of donkeys. In Practice. 35. 405-410.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
1 August 2013
Journal: 
In Practice
Volume: 
35
Page numbers: 
405-410
DOI number: 
doi:10.1136/inp.f4367
Abstract

The domestic donkey is descended from wild asses and has evolved to live in some of the most inhospitable places on earth. Little research has been carried out to address the specific needs of the donkey, which has traditionally been viewed as a small horse. The donkey is different from the horse in many ways; of particular note is its ability to thrive on highly fibrous feeds. This article discusses the nutritional requirements of donkeys and how dental disease may play a role in determining their nutritional requirements.

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Digstible energy requirements of mexican donkeys fed oat straw and maize stover

Citation

L. Carretero-Roque, B. Colunga, David Smith, M. Gonzalez Ronquillo, A Solis-Medez, O. Castellan Ortega. September 2005. Digstible energy requirements of mexican donkeys fed oat straw and maize stover. Tropical Animal Health and Production. 37:Supp 1. 123-142.

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Publication details
Publication date: 
1 September 2005
Volume: 
37
Issue: 
Supp 1
Page numbers: 
123-142
DOI number: 
10.1007/s11250-005-9012-3
Abstract

The limited availability of food, together with the constraints that traditional management systems impose on the natural foraging behaviour of donkeys, often results in severe under-nutrition. Few studies have been conducted into the digestibility of different forages and little information exists on nutritional requirements of donkeys. In order to measure digestible energy requirements of donkeys under tropical conditions, an experiment was carried out at the Centre for Research in Agricultural Science (CICA) and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México located in the Toluca valley, Central México. Thirty-two donkeys of a body condition typical for Central México were divided into four groups of 8 animals each according to their sex and live weight: group 1 (Gl) comprised male donkeys below the average body weight (102 ± 5 kg); group 2 (G2) comprised male donkeys of average body weight (121.5 ± 4 kg); group 3 (G3) comprised female donkeys below average weight (111.8 ± 5 kg); and group 4 (G4) comprised female donkeys of average weight (127.6 ± 5 kg). A diet of oat straw or maize stover and 15% alfalfa hay was offered to meet exact maintenance requirements. The donkeys were monitored for 13 months. The live weight of all animals was recorded daily in order to monitor whether maintenance requirements were being met. Mean daily digestible energy (DE) requirements were measured during the winter, spring, summer and autumn of 2003–2004. Digestible energy requirements of all four sex and liveweight groups were significantly (p > 0.05) higher during the spring than during the other seasons of the year (13.5, 18.0, 10.4 and 14.3 MJ DE per day during winter, spring, summer and autumn, respectively). Predicted DE requirements of donkeys with a live weight range betweenn 90 and 150 kg using the data from the present study were less than those predicted using scaled-down horse feeding standards.

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Dietary management to improve the gastrointestinal health of the donkey

Citation

Faith A. Burden, Nikki Stradling. Dietary management to improve the gastrointestinal health of the donkey. Presented at 6th European Equine Health and Nutrition Congress. (1 March - 2 March 2013). Ghent, Belgium.

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Presentation details
Date presented: 
Friday 1 March 2013
Abstract

The Donkey Sanctuary is a welfare organisation which cares for over 2500 donkeys. Donkeys may require additional feeding due to dental disease, ill health or previous neglect. Research in 2005 highlighted that impaction colics (IC) were a significant cause of mortality in resident donkeys (50 cases, 16% of total euthanasias or deaths) and gastric ulceration (GU) was common in donkeys examined post mortem (PM) (41%). Further studies established that feeding practices were contributing to the incidence of IC and GU. Cox et al.1, (2007) demonstrated that donkeys fed concentrate rations were at an increased risk of developing IC (Odds Ratio=2.5, P<0.001). Research in to GU by Burden et al.2, (2009) showed an increased risk of donkeys developing GU when fed cereal concentrate rations (OR=2.4, P<0.001).

Feeding practices were changed from 2008 onwards; prior to this cereal-based rations were fed in meals to donkeys requiring additional feed. They were replaced with fibre-based concentrates fed ad libutum or in small meals. The incidence of GU and IC have been monitored since these changes through PM examination of all animals that die or are euthanased. Prevalence at PM of IC in 2011(5% (n=13)) was significantly lower (P<0.001) than in 2005 (16% (n=50)), univariable logistic regression analysis indicated that donkeys fed concentrate rations are no longer at a greater risk of IC (P>0.05) when compared with those not fed concentrates. Active GU was seen in 7% (n=25) of donkeys at PM in 2011 compared to 41% in 2005, Univariable logistic regression analysis indicated that donkeys fed fibre-based concentrate rations were at no greater risk of developing GU than those not fed concentrates (P>0.05). During this time period the only significant management changes made were those related to feeding; however the effect of other variables on the prevalence of GU and IC at PM warrants further investigation.

1Cox et al. 2007 BMC Vet Res. 2;3:1

2Burden et al. 2009 animal, 3, 287-293

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