Donkeys are generally animals who can tolerate hot climates. But at times, they might also suffer adversities because of the soaring temperatures. Domestic donkeys, who tend to have thicker coats, are the ones who suffer the most from this. Keeping them hydrated and letting them have access to shades are basic when it comes to keeping donkeys cool in hot weather. Read on to learn more tips on how to keep donkeys cool in hot weather.
Ways to Keep Donkeys Cool in Hot Weather
Regulating their body temperatures in every climate is crucial to donkeys. But at times, due to extreme heat, combined with humidity, might lead to them not being able to control the heat. And this can meddle with their bodily functions, sometimes even leading to fatal situations. Old, ill, and pregnant donkeys are at greater risk, so it is important to prevent such a situation. Given below are some practical tips you can adopt to tackle this heat situation and keep your donkeys cool.
1. Access to Water
Getting dehydrated is common during hot weather, and this, if not taken care of properly, would not do good for the donkeys. Hence, your donkeys must always have access to fresh and clean drinking water. Even though donkeys can survive longer than other equines without water in extreme weather conditions, they too get tired and thirsty quicker.
While providing your donkeys with water, always make sure that the water containers are cleaned regularly. Do not provide the donkeys with contaminated water, and ensure that the local water bodies are free of contaminants. The safety of the natural water bodies must also be checked to prevent any cases of donkeys drowning. If they are working, provide them with water at regular intervals.
Some donkeys might refuse to drink cold water even in hot climates. For them, you can provide water of normal temperature.
2. Providing Adequate Shade
If your donkeys are going to be out in the sun during hot conditions, give them adequate shade to have some relief from the heat every now and then. Providing shelter in their paddocks or enclosure is the best way to go in such a situation. But when preparing this shelter, make sure that it has enough space to accommodate donkeys in many numbers at the same time. Since extreme heat can make them tired easily they must also be able to lie down in the shelter. Proper ventilation of the shelter must be ensured. It would be better not to use tin roofing as it would get heated up quickly.
3. Sun Protection
Donkeys with light-colored coats are more at risk of getting sunburn. This happens in the more exposed areas of their body, such as the nose, ears, or muzzle. You can prevent their skin from sunburn by applying high-factor sunscreen to these areas. When you find the UV index to be higher than usual, you can choose this way to protect those donkeys with less pigmented skin. Full-face fly masks can also be used while the donkeys are going out in the sun. This is an effective method to adopt if the donkeys are objecting to applying sunscreen.
4. Hair Clipping
Hair clipping refers to the trimming of longer hair on the donkey’s body. Sometimes, donkeys might not be able to shed their winter coats in time for summer. Thicker coats will keep their bodies warm, making it difficult for them in the hotter climate. Most often, it is the older donkeys who might suffer from this condition. You can help them by clipping the thicker coats and making them lighter.
Once your donkey’s hair is clipped, it can become more vulnerable to sunburn and fly attacks. So, the clipping process must be done with utmost caution.
5. Ice Lolly Treats
Donkey ice lollies are a new innovative addition to the tricks to keeping the donkeys cool in hot weather. This is a simple yet delicious way of keeping them hydrated. Donkey ice lollies are made by putting your donkey’s favorite fruits and vegetables in water and freezing them for a few hours to create an ice mystery box. Donkeys being curious creatures, will have the time of their lives finding out the exciting rewards.
Apart from keeping them happy and entertained, while having the ice lollies, donkeys’ natural foraging habits are enhanced, which in turn is a good result.
Signs to Identify Heat Stress in Donkeys
Donkeys are stoic animals who do not show illnesses and discomfort for a long time. So, it is important to look out for the subtle changes in them in order to give them the best treatment. During extreme hot conditions, you can look for the following symptoms to know whether your donkey is suffering from heat stress.
- The donkey’s respiratory rate of heart rate will be increased, with a rise in their body temperature.
- They might be sweating a lot or not sweating at all.
- They might act lazy, refusing to move around and lying down more often.
- Their nostrils might be flaring.
- Decreased urine output with dark-colored urine is a sign of heat stress.
- Their eyes could seem glazed and sunken.
- Their gums could feel dry and tacky, with the color changing to dark red or purple.
For identifying heat stress as soon as possible, it is important for you to know the slightest changes in the donkey’s behavior. Hence, it would be better to take note of your donkey’s heart rate and normal body temperature. Once you find these signs, move the donkey under a shade and start cold hosing them with water to bring down the heat. You would also have to call for the vet without waiting long, as the donkey might be suffering from severe dehydration and would need fluids.
How to Care for a Donkey Working in Hot Weather?
Working in extreme heat conditions is not the best idea with atmospheric temperatures conquering new heights each year. If you have donkeys that are working, during the hotter months you can alter their schedules and let them out during the not-so-hot hours. And when you take them out, make sure that there are shady areas where the donkeys can seek shelter. Providing them with water is also of primary importance.
It would be better to avoid traveling in hot weather. If the journey faces slow-moving traffic, the horsebox in which you carry the donkey could get heated up, exhausting the donkey. At times, these donkeys would not drink water to hydrate themselves. In that case, you can add some peppermint into the water or bring them water from home to make them drink.
Donkeys too get tired and thirsty during hotter weather, even though they can outlast the others in the equine family. Keeping them hydrated is part of keeping them healthy and happy, hence, providing them with water, shade, sun protection, and ice lollies will lead to achieving this. So, keep your donkeys cool in hot weather by following the above-mentioned tips and beat the heat by keeping your cool.