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December 08, 2004

How Do You Soak a Donkey's Hoof?

Does this sound like the last time you had to soak your donkey's hoof?

How To Soak A Donkeys Foot!
from Valetta

1. Get bucket or low tub, fill with warm water, add Epsom salts until fully diluted. Get donkey, place in cross ties, pick up foot, slide bucket or low tub into place, place donkey's foot in tub.

2. Retrieve tub from corner of barn, get towel to dry off your face.

3. Refill tub with water and Epsom salts. Shorten cross ties. Pick up donkey's foot and place in tub.

4. Retrieve tub from other horse's stall, retrieve donkey from his own stall. Find bailing twine to fix broken crosstie. Wrap towel around head to dry hair. Check rapidly bruising toe for signs of breakage.

5. Place rocks in bottom of tub to weigh it down. Snub donkey to wall of stall, refill tub with water and Epsom salts. Pick up donkey's foot and place in tub. Hold up other front leg.

6. Pick self up off of stall floor. Find place outside where tub has been flung. Retrieve donkey from neighbor's garden, pull rocks out of donkey's water bucket, call spouse for opinion on whether or not wrist may be broken. Explain multiple times to emergency room staff that you did not fall off the donkey.

7. Return to home, enlist spouse to hold donkey, hobble hind legs, tie up front leg, fill tub with water and salt, slide tub into place, while pinning donkey against wall.

8. Apologize to spouse as they view hoof prints across favorite shirt. Wonder if water and Epsom salts is bad for new wrist cast. Check out burgeoning black eye from broken hobbles. Retrieve donkey from cattle farm across the road. Share laugh with cattle farmer about how fast a donkey can move on only three legs.

9. Go to grocery store to purchase ice packs, ibuprofen, more Epsom salts, and scotch.

10. Call vet and ask them to come over and show you how to soak a foot. Pour self tall glass of scotch while waiting.

While I was writing about winter donkey hoof problems, I got to thinking of a neat trick I just kind of stumbled across last winter.

I had only tried to soak my donkeys hooves once before, and it hadn't worked very well. My experience wasn't quite as exciting as the story above, but I didn't really feel like it turned out very well. First, donkeys often don't seem to like getting their feet wet. And second, the rubber feed pan I tried to use was too big and heavy to move around easily, and my donkey, Elsie, didn't think she should have to step into a big feed pan. So I finally gave up on foot soaking for that day.

Last winter when Lily had ice scald in her front hooves, I found a great new way to soak hooves! I had a heavy duty thick plastic dog food bowl that I was no longer using. It was about 7 or 8 inches across and 2 1/2 inches deep. I filled the bottom of the bowl with the warm water I was using to wash Lily's hooves.

I picked up Lily's hoof like normal, moved the plastic dog dish to where her hoof was sitting before I picked it up, and then set her hoof back down in the bowl. Lily never even questioned my motives.

The dog food bowl is a heavy duty enough plastic that it can handle the weigh of the donkeys standing in it fine. It is small enough that I can easily move it where it needs to be, and put the donkey's hoof in it without any fuss. Another important feature is that the bowl is plastic so it won't make any funny clanking noises on the floor like a metal bowl or bucket would.

Here is a picture of Andy with his front foot in the bowl.


So next time you need to soak or wash your donkey's hooves, try using a large plastic dog dish. It really works great!

Kristie Jorgensen

Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at December 8, 2004 11:29 PM