- Always ensure that sufficient and good quality forage is available to allow normal digestive tract functions. Wild burros typically come from areas of low quality forage. It is recommended to feed a good quality grass hay or a grass/alfalfa mix. High protein legume hay can cause serious problems for your burros.
- Do not feed your burro straw hay, unless it is part of an overall nutrition plan which includes protein supplements. This type of feeding strategy should only be carried out under the direction of a veterinarian or qualified animal nutritionist.
- Feed a balanced supplement in addition to forage when required to meet your burro’s nutritional needs.
- Your burro is used to eating small meals often, because burros spend most of their lives foraging throughout the day. It is best to feed burros small rations three to four times a day. This may not always be practical, so at a minimum, divide daily rations into at least two feedings, one in the morning and one in the evening.
- Always have plenty of fresh, clean water available. Keep the water trough clean and free of dirt and algae.
- Remember that your burros is an individual. Check his body condition regularly and adjust supplementary feed intake accordingly. Use feeding recommendations as a guideline only.
- Your burro’s digestive tract function is finely balanced. Changes to your burro’s diet should be done gradually. Introduce new feed over a two to three week period. A quick change in feed may cause digestive upset, such as indigestion and colic.
- Feed grain with caution, because rapid introduction of grain can lead to severe digestive problems. If your burro is not a working animal, grain is not required, but may be introduced in small quantities as a treat.
- Provide a rack, trough or bucket for your burros to eat from. Feeding on the ground will increase the chances of your burro ingesting dirt and sand. If possible, place a mat under the feeder, so the burro can east spillage without contamination.
- Don’t feed your burro hot, moldy hay or grass clippings, as these can be dangerous to him.
- A young, growing burro and Jennies in foal require careful feeding for health and growth. Supplemental feeding may be required to ensure the proper mineral balance for development.
- Put a trace mineral salt block in the corral so that the burro can access salt.
- Burros will overeat. Contrary to popular belief, burros can founder – this is lameness caused by inflammation of the laminae that covers the pedal bone inside the hoof. An animal can founder from eating excessive grain or lush pasture. Being an obese burro can be just as serious as being malnourished. Burros, with excess weight will have pones, or deposits of fat under the skin. The main pouches are located below the top line of the neck, running from just behind the ears to the withers. The neck roll is quite common in older and overweight burros. However, a really obese burros will also show pones on its hind quarters and across its ribs. These are visible signs of a serious problem. Fat can accumulate around the internal organs and hamper natural function. This can lead to serious health problems.
If you have questions concerning your burro’s condition and health, contact your veterinarian to assist you in developing a dietary plan for your burro.
- Grooming is part of a wild burro’s natural behavior. It stimulates blood circulation, which produces better flow of nutrients to the skin.
- Burros roll in wallows or dust baths to increase insulation and ward off insects. Some dirt in their coat is normal. Caked mud and matted hair should be removed with a good brushing.
- Your burros is a desert animal. It may prefer to wallow in dust, rather than to be washed off with water.
- Because mutual grooming is a social aspect in a burro’s life, grooming your burro will aid in its acceptance of you as a friend.
- A wild burro has hard, sturdy feet that are naturally trimmed by moving through rough, rocky terrain. Once a burro stands in a corral and does not have freedom of movement, its hooves will begin to elongate, and hoof trimming will be required. Hooves should be trimmed at least every six to eight weeks.
- When you visit the adoption site, look at a burro’s feet. You will notice that burros tend to stand on their toes a bit more than a horse. When trimming a burro’s hooves, trim them to a length natural for a burro.
Hoof care for burros is similar to that of a horse. Hooves should be cleaned regularly. Using a hoof pick, clean the debris from the under site of the hoof. Normally, shoes are rarely required. Hard working burros that pack heavy loads on hard terrain main require shoeing to prevent wear on the hooves. Excessive wear will cause your burro to become tender-footed, making it painful to walk. Contact your farrier for proper hoof care needs.