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Care of the Feet

Looking After Your Donkey's Feet

The Trust has a pamphlet available. Download pdf or if you would like a printed colour pamphlet send send a self addressed, stamped DL envelope to: The Donkey & Mule Protection Trust, C/- Secretary, Lea Hullett, 673 Rolling Ridges Road, RD5, Timaru 7975.

The feet should be picked our regularly, preferably daily but it may be more realistic to say definitely once a week. Run your hand down the donkey's leg and pick up his foot taking care not to lift it too high.
Remove mud and stones and poke carefully along the rim of the hoof looking for splits and gaps filled with hoof material that crumbles into grey powder as you scoop it out.

This is a sign of seedy toe, the most common hoof ailment in New Zealand. Scrape out all the crumbling material, if possible cut away the hoof wall so that the infected area is exposed to the air, and treat the healthy part of the hoof. There are many suggestions as to what to use. Kopatox, Foot Rot spray, Jeye's Fluid, Stockholm Tar, copper sulphate — all have their devotees. The hoof should be examined and treated once a week.

The hooves need to be trimmed every six weeks unless the donkey is in regular work on the road, and even then they often wear unevenly. You can do this yourself once you know how to go about it, but get a qualified farrier until you have learnt. Farriers do not charge much and your donkey's feet are absolutely vital to his wellbeing. When misshapen hooves occur a farrier should be called immediately. If hoof problems arise, a good farrier charges less than a vet and often has the specialised knowledge to diagnose the problem.

Welfare Cases

Many rescue donkeys are former bull donkeys. These donkeys are usually quite wild with overgrown feet and are difficult to rehome. They need carers who are very experienced. If you're new to donkeys and plan to own one please review the page on care of the donkey.

Two donkeys grazing in a field of grass hiding their untrimmed feet.

Left untrimmed they do not brake off.

Instead they become long and misshapen

Once twisted tendons in the legs also become distorted and the donkey is unable to walk properly.

Jasper the day after he arrived.

Jasper's hooves had rotted away. You can read more about Jasper in our Newsletter No. 11

Albert and Priscilla of Ikaroa. All donkeys need a friend.

Albert's feet when he arrived. Read more about Albert and Priscilla in Newsletter No. 13

Jake of the Trust arrived as a untrained jack stallion with long feet. Jake has featured in our Newsletters No's in Newsletter No. 4 7 9 18

Elton Moore had Jake gelded, worked on restoring his feet and trained him so well he competed in A&P shows.