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Fat Necks © Vicki Knotts Abbott 2006

Special Thanks to Vicki Knotts Abbott for granting permission to Shadow Ridge to reprint her informative posts and articles.   Back to Article List

 Fat necks are a symptom of nutritional deficiency.  Geldings and jacks can have fat necks too.  It is not just jennets and is not related to storing fat for pregnancy.  Pregnancy has nothing to do with fat necks, although if a jennet does have a fat neck it is an indication she is nutritionally-wrecked and should not be bred and put an added burden on her body.

 Accumulation of fat occurs when their diet is lacking in nutrients (vitamins and minerals) their body needs to be able to process and utilize the food they consume.  It is not about how much they eat, but what they eat.  Even a ribby, bony-butt, spine-showing donkey who looks like a walking skeleton can have a fat neck roll.

 Donkeys on grass pasture or grass hay, that are not receiving a nutritional supplement (vitamin & mineral) are more likely to develop fat neck rolls because grass is low in certain amino acids (such as lysine).   Because their body is craving the nutrients it is lacking, the donkey eats more trying to fulfill the need.  The more it eats, the more fat accumulates demanding more of the nutrients that it was lacking to begin with, and so you can end up with a grossly obese donkey covered in pones of fat who is as nutritionally-wrecked as a donkey who has barely had enough to eat to keep it alive. 

 Throwing more hay or grain at them does not insure good health.  They need the nutritional support of vitamins and minerals that is lacking in their forage.  50 years ago to have healthy, thriving stock we had to rely on blending grains until we found the right combination for our region that would combine with their forage and provide for their nutritional needs, which is how prepared feeds such as sweet feeds actually got started, but today there are vitamin and mineral supplement products available at the local ag store just around the corner so equine owners don’t end up doing more harm than good by overfeeding grains.

 Having healthy, productive donkeys is more complicated than just turning a donkey out in a grass pasture and expecting him to be able to eat the variety he needs to meet his body’s nutritional needs.  What we need to keep in mind is when we restrict the area of a donkeys browsing range we have created a situation where we need to provide what the donkey is no longer able to search, find, and acquire for himself.   Donkeys in pastures are confined to a certain area by the fence.  We have no way of knowing if everything the donkey needs for good health is contained inside that fence.  When a donkey is confined to a lot, it reduces even more his likelihood of being able to find what he needs in that smaller area.  His only source is what we give him and it might not be meeting his nutritional needs, especially if all he is getting is hay.  Suppose he was your truck.  How long would you expect your truck to be operational if you did absolutely no maintenance and the only thing you did was put gasoline in the tank?   Forget about the oil changes, lubrications, tire rotations, and whatever those shock/strut thingies are, it should run as long as you keep putting gas in it, right?   It may run for a while but then the things that should have been given maintenance but weren’t, begin to have problems and oops, the truck becomes a yard ornament because it is not functionally healthy anymore and yikes, the mechanic’s bill for fixing what could have been prevented can be $$$$.

 What that unhealthy dysfunction is in a donkey is he begins to store fat no matter how much or how little he is eating.  Fat necks are the visual version of hearing the clunk-clunk-screech-squeal of your donkey’s body functions saying hey, there’s a problem here and it will only get worse if you don’t do something to fix it.  Even if a person has very little equine experience he can still learn to access the condition and overall health of a donkey so they won’t be fooled by fat, slick, or sleek.  Fat is not healthy.  Simply remember that “What goes in the mouth shows in the feet” so instead of relying on how plump and sleek his body looks, look at his hooves instead.  Does he have healthy hoof growth?  If he doesn’t, then his nutritional needs are probably not being met by whatever you are providing for him to eat.   Something else, a healthy donkey not only has healthy hooves, he also has a soft, thick hair coat, not a stiff, bristly hair coat.  My donkeys get massive hair coats in the winter but the hair is soft and velvety like a huge plush toy.   They have access to pasture 24/7/365 days a year, hay in the manger or round bales, loose white salt and loose mineral, and every day they get a vitamin/mineral supplement in their little dab of whole oats and beet pulp.  I consider their daily vitamin/mineral supplement to be preventative maintenance that helps keep them healthy and thriving.

Vicki/ladywife

Husbandry is what is good for the animal.  Convenience is what is easiest for us.  No where in the definition of husbandry (conserve, preserve, protect, prevent) is the word convenience.

© Vicki Knotts Abbott 2006   

Source/Link to full thread on this topic: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Donkeys/message/88291

Special Thanks to Vicki Knotts Abbott for granting permission to Shadow Ridge to reprint her informative posts and articles.

Back to Article List   Back to Donkey Link and Info Page

Disclaimer
Opinions expressed in articles on this website are those of the author(s) of each story or article and not necessarily those of  Shadow Ridge.  Shadow Ridge does not necessarily agree with, support, or endorse any definitions, treatments, opinions or statistics stated by these authors. They are entirely responsible for the content of their respective story(s) or article(s).


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Confidence Training for the Western Saddle Mule

 

The Hard to Catch Mule

 

Opening Doors: An equilog of poetry about Donkeys by Jenny L Bates

 

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So You Wanna be a Cowgirl

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How-to-tips"

Diatomaceous Earth Book: "Going Green Using Diatomaceous Earth -

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ORIGINAL ART starting with the initial sculpture with meticulous attention to detail from making the mold to pouring the clay....
 

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Mule Training DVD 

 

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Drive Slow young donkeys old donkeys and one old jackass at play

 

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Entering Donkey Country

 

Donkey Mini Halters

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Miniature Donkey Rope Halters

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Milo at 4 weeks wearing an X small rope halter.

 

Hoof Wraps Bandage

Hoof Wraps is made of 1680 ballistic nylon with a triple layer at the toe for durability.The Quick Fix Hoof Wraps

 

 

Horse Metal Xing Signs  

Street Sign Horse Breed Place

 

 

Lead Ropes: Made by the Amish of Ohio

 

Seat Cushions specially designed with a recessed area to take the pressure off the tailbone

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