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Neglected donkey hooves. Please help.

Discussion in 'Behaviors & Handling Techniques - Horses, Mules, a' started by Ayla_noemi, Mar 4, 2018.

  1. Mar 4, 2018
    Ayla_noemi

    Ayla_noemi Chillin' with the herd

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    Hello,

    I’m sharing this story because I don’t know what else to do.

    In December 2013 while I was in the service my husbands spine fractured due to undiagnosed bone cancer. 4 surgeries, 3 metal implants, 3 months of radiation, over a years worth of chemo, countless biopsies and 1 bone marrow transplant later I decided it was in the best interests of my family to separate from the service in order to move to Florida and be closer to my in laws. My husband is convinced his years are numbered and wanted to fulfill him dream of building a small family farm before it was too late.

    We bought a house with a bit of land and started working on adapting it for our needs and wants. My husband was eager to fill our home with animals. I knew we were not prepared for them all. I was raised in the country around animals but had no experience with the animals he wanted most wich was a breeding pair of mini donkeys. My husband must spend most of his day resting due to pain and the effects of his treatments so naturally the care of these animals is my responsibility. We acquired a pair of mini donkeys who were not very social. We really did not shop around we just bought the first ones we were offered. We kept them in a decent sized enclosure for a few weeks working on gaining their trust. The Jenny came around but the jack would only approach very carefully just long enough to get his snack and run away. We got a few pets in but every time he felt our touch he would run away. He is not and has never been aggressive. He has never made an attempt to bite or kick. He is good with our other animals. He has never shown aggression to anyone. I know intact jacks can be dangerous but my husband is determined to make it work.

    My problem is his hooves. They are severely overgrown. He shows no signs of discomfort that I have noticed but it has to be uncomfortable at the least in my opinion. We have attempted to hire multiple farriers but have not found anyone willing to try and help him with his hooves. The only offer we received was to relocate him to the farriers home for a month so the farrier could work on his antisocial behavior for $650. I thought this was a good idea but my husband and mother in law are convinced that it was only an opportunistic offer.

    I don’t know what to do at this point. From what I’ve researched sedatives are not a good idea with donkeys. I’ve condidered buying a hoove trimming chute and doing it myself but I’m not sure if his size will be an issue. Of course my husband is against buying the chute since it is expensive. I’ve also considered letting a vet do it but haven’t really looked into vets who do hoove trimming in my area because I’m not sure what the best option is. I know my donkey needs to be socialized regardless of what I do about his hooves but i feel like he’s reached the point where he should not wait to get them taken care of. My Jenny is a wiggle worm when it comes to hoof trimming but it can be done. I have told my husband that if we can not properly care for our Jack we should rehome him but he does not want to.

    Which of these options should I put my foot down on? Are there any other options out there that you’d recommend? Honesty will be appreciated I know this is our fault and I’m not easily offended. I know this post will probably upset most of you to some degree but that is not my intention. Please help. Thank you in advance.

    I have included the only close up recent picture of my jack I could find. I blacked out most of the picture in order to keep things decent since he was attempting to mount our Jenny.

    A2AE155E-C36C-47F2-86FB-199BC4F468CE.jpeg
     
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  2. Mar 5, 2018
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    As I was reading I was thinking farrier, but hen you covered that option or should I say non option. I'm sorry your husband has been sick and hope that he can recover. There are many types/strains of cancer and I don't have a clue but that they are all bad. My dad and youngest brother both died from cancer. I'm not sure, but believe @Bunnylady and/or maybe @Mini Horses may be able to offer advice. I know nothing about donkeys aside from them being exceptionally smart and equally stubborn. I think I've heard that if you are unwilling to be in charge, they gladly will take that position.
     
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  3. Mar 5, 2018
    promiseacres

    promiseacres Herd Master

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    Best longterm solution is an experienced person to work with him in a safe environment for awhile. Definitely not good to let their hooves go.
    Barring that sedation is probably cheaper but may need to be done periodically. My sister's experience with sedation and donkeys is that it takes a lot more of a dose than a pony the same size.
     
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  4. Mar 5, 2018
    Bunnylady

    Bunnylady Herd Master

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    I'm sorry to hear about your husband's illness, and I wish him the best. I hear your frustration about the donkey, too. You've been saddled with the responsibility for this animal, and you want to do right by it, but it isn't cooperating and it feels like nobody else wants to help you, either.:hugs

    I agree with @promiseacres. This donkey needs to learn that he has nothing to worry about when it comes to having his feet handled. Ideally, that means somebody working with him on a daily basis until he gets over it. Sedation might be an option for getting the job done right now, but this is something that is going to need to be done every so often for the rest of this animal's life, so he needs to learn how to deal with it.

    My problem with the chute is not just the expense, but the way a donkey's brain works. Donkeys are smart, and have memories like elephants. If the donkey learns that the chute is associated with a struggle, he's going to be primed for a fight every time you get him in the chute - he'll even fight going into the chute in the first place. Until you get into a fight with a mini, you may not appreciate just how strong they are, but trust me, it's not a place you want to go (especially not repeatedly!).

    If this was my animal, I might consider coordinating with a vet to do the sedation, and a farrier that knows donkeys to get the feet done this time. I'd put the donkey in a small area where he can't get away from me, and spend a few minutes every day getting my hands on him, whether he was willing or not.

    There is a technique known as "walking down" that has been used on everything from feral horses to spoiled horses, and works on donkeys, too:

    http://www.horsekeeping.com/ask-cherry/20080913-walkdown.htm

    When people talk about training equines, they often talk about "pressure and release." You approaching the donkey is pressure; he is seeking release from the pressure. When the donkey walks away from you, he is rewarding himself with the release of that pressure. The idea of walking down is that his walking away doesn't release the pressure; the pressure remains until he does what you want (stand still and let you touch him), then you give the reward of releasing the pressure when you walk away. By keeping it at a walk, you keep the level of pressure low, so the animal will be thinking about what you are doing rather than just trying to escape.

    The place at which the pressure is directed is important. The shoulder area is the balance point; if you approach him behind that point, it "pushes' him forward, approaching in front of the shoulder pushes him back. Approaching at a 90° angle to the shoulder should push neither forward nor back, but convey to the animal that you want it to stand still.

    This really is horse training at its most basic, but a surprisingly few people understand how to do it. As Cherry Hill said in the link I posted, you have to make it positive and pleasant; the worst thing you can do is get frustrated and angry and "punish" him for not doing what you want. Once you can reliably get your hands on him, you can start working on desensitizing him to being touched all over, then get to picking his feet up, etc. Breaking it down to baby steps will get you there, eventually - you might try taking him for walks on the road to help wear those feet down as part of this training.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  5. Mar 6, 2018
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses Herd Master

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    I agree with all of this. Donkeys are extremely smart, awesome memory, and cautious not stubborn. So get the feet done. Contain in a small area for DAILY handling. Work to lead, then tie and stand, then lift feet one at a time, even only a couple minutes of give is GREAT! Praise and go to day two. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

    Sedation does NOT have to be put them out -- merely, calm them down.

    I commend your family for making it possible for your DH to live his dream. You may be pleasantly surprised at how healing this venture may become!! Animals & farm life are healing -- spiritually, emotionally and physically.

    Please update us on your progress. We do care and want to help as we can, even from afar. Some things just take time.
     
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  6. Mar 7, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    We once bought a jack with way worse hooves than that. He'd been in a pen for 3 years, only brought out to breed mares. He had rain rot, no hair on his legs, sores, and his hooves were so grown out, that they curled up like Turkish slippers.

    He required sedation for the first few trims. His front feet turned outwards-it took a year to get them straight. He was crazy wild on trimming his feet. I finally found a farrier that didn't use sedation, he just didn't give up. As already said, donkeys are brilliant smart and he finally figured out that if he stood there, it was over with sooner. but not before he slung both of us around. LOL

    What about building your own hoof trimming stocks? Then feed him in the stocks, don't "lock him down" but use LOTS of patience, be calm, but make it a condition of getting petted in order to eat.
     
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  7. Mar 12, 2018
    Ayla_noemi

    Ayla_noemi Chillin' with the herd

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    Sorry it took so long to respond thank you all for your responses. My husband was wanting to make a small area in order to work his feet. Do any of you have a picture for a good hoof trimming stock for a jack like him? I honestly think he is a good donkey he just doesn’t trust us the way the Henny does.
     
  8. Mar 12, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    No picture. Look up shoeing stocks and scale it down for your donkey.
     
  9. Mar 13, 2018
    Ayla_noemi

    Ayla_noemi Chillin' with the herd

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    Ok thanks