July 9, 2015
Summer Haircuts for the Donkeys
As the summer days in the Northeast become more hot and humid, it’s important to be sure all the animals on my farm are as comfortable as possible.
Yesterday was very steamy, so it was the perfect opportunity to give my donkeys a good summer haircut, and to remove extra coat leftover from this past winter. Not only would this help keep them cooler, but it would also prevent their coarse fur from matting.
Here are some photos from my donkeys’ “spa” treatments.
1 It was haircut day for my sweet donkeys Rufus, Billie and Clive. They get clipped every summer, so they're more comfortable during the warm, humid months, but I don't think they seem to mind too much.
2 Clive and Billie actually seem quite at ease with the whole grooming process. Donkeys are herd animals, so they don't like being separated from their pack. Even during grooming sessions, all the donkeys are kept close, where they can see each other.
3 Dolma used a professional grooming tool called a Clipmaster made by Oster. It is good for removing large sections of coat, such as on the back and sides.
4 A medium blade was used on the clippers for all the donkeys. Look at all the coat that needed to be shaved! With the recent humid weather, these donkeys will appreciate the haircuts.
5 The clippers were a bit noisy, but Clive was a good boy, and remained still for most of the process.
6 My stable manager, Betsy, showed everyone how to keep Clive's rear leg still - by lifting the other rear leg and holding it up high under his body.
7 She also demonstrated how to clip the sensitive spots on his underside.
8 What a big difference! Clive looks much cooler already. Who wants to be next?
9 It was time to clip my donkey, Billie. Sarah used a smaller set of clippers to get into tighter spots, such as near her mane and neck.
10 Sarah was very careful in areas with looser skin. When clipping, always take the clippers against the direction of the natural lie of the hair.
11 Dolma used the big clippers to do Billie's back and sides. This was a good time to assess her skin health and feel the coat for any small abrasions or lumps that could get caught by the blade.
12 Both Clive and Billie knew the routine, so they felt comfortable with their "spa" treatments. If clipping an equine for the first time, be sure to familiarize them with the sounds and feel of the clippers before doing any actual grooming.
13 I think they were wondering how long this would all take, and whether there was a little treat at the end - maybe a carrot or an apple, right my dear donkeys?
14 Look at all that fur that came off! And, that was just from Clive and Billie!
15 Betsy always leaves their heads and legs as is, so they're more protected against biting insects.
16 My longtime farrier, Linda Friedman, was also at the barn, so she cleaned and filed the donkeys' hooves. Hooves support the entire weight of a donkey's body, so it is vital that they are well maintained.
17 It was time for Rufus to get his coat clipped.
18 Sarah used the small clippers first to do Rufus' neck and shoulders.
19 Rufus was a good boy as well - he remained nice and still.
20 The hair on Rufus' belly was quite long - removing it would not only keep him cooler and more comfortable, but less likely to become matted.
21 Sarah clipped in short strokes to make sure the coat was nice and even.
22 Linda also trimmed Rufus' hooves. In general, the donkeys' feet get trimmed every six weeks. She removed debris from the sole of the foot, and filed each hoof, with her rasp, to remove any rough or jagged edges.
23 What a big difference! My donkeys have such shiny coats too - this is always a sign of good health and proper nutrition.