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Donkeys for development


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Extracts from a number of presentations describing how donkeys may be managed to best effect, taking care of their health and happiness and also ensuring they are using the right equipment, much of which can be home-made.

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Donkeys for development

  1. 1. THE MOST VALUABLE ANIMALS ! WORK IS WORTH GOOD MONEY ! FOR SCIENTISTS: The work of donkeys: 1.8-2.8 megajoules per day Power output 170-200 Watts ~ 250 newtons for 4 hours Forward movement ~ 0.7 metres/second In its lifetime, a healthy, happy donkey can provide 50 000 (yes, fifty thousand) hours of work (No wonder they are called ‘God’s Own’)
  2. 2. THE MONEY YOU CAN SAVE OR EARN COMPARE THE FOLLOWING (2002) COSTS: PLOUGHING 100 ha for one season TRANSPORTING 500 kg 30 km                     USING COST Hand hoes Tractor Oxen Donkeys R4 100.00 R5 300.00 R4 950.00 R1 640.00                 USING COST Bakkie Donkey cart Donkey backs R75.50 R25.50 R23.67
  3. 3. SO: MAKE SURE DONKEYS ARE HEALTHY AND HAPPY Unless they are, they cannot or will not give the work that can earn and save money for YOU. SUSTAINABILITY PLUS !SUSTAINABILITY PLUS !
  4. 4. BACKLOADING A DONKEY Sacks folded over and joined along the fold spread the weight along the back. The load must not be borne on a single spot !
  5. 5. In some areas, basket-type frames (sometimes called ‘bundles’) are tied together for transporting dried fish and similar sorts of load. These, being light and tough, are very suitable for donkey transport. Especially, they are ideal for placing the weight on the ribs and not the spine of the animal.
  6. 6. Or a ‘soggie’ can be woven from palm or grass Jerrycans can be tied close together, so the rope does not touch the back. The weight should rest on the donkey’s ribs, not its spine. 
  7. 7. It is easier to lift single jerrycans onto a frame rather than two tied together. Padding under the frame and wide straps back and front prevent wounding and make the load steady on slopes.
  8. 8. SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE BACKFRAME Just a bit of welding, all can be done in the backyard …
  9. 9. And such frames can handle all sorts of other things, too, ensuring that weight is not directly on the donkey’s spine.
  10. 10. USING ONE DONKEY BEHIND ANOTHER Donkeys are accustomed to walking in lines along paths, so are not difficult to control when they share a load. Some loads can be too long for one donkey Other types of load need to be kept level
  11. 11. TYING A SINGLE LOAD ONTO A DONKEY Balance is the most important thing – otherwise a LOT of trouble !
  12. 12. EQUIPMENT FOR CONTROLLING A DONKEY A thick rope, which will not cut, about 2m long, is very simple to knot into the right loops. To work with a donkey, it is necessary to control its head. A short loop goes around the donkey’s mouth, with the short part under the chin. The long loop goes behind the ears, where it can be tightened to fit.
  13. 13. When a donkey is not working, to prevent it wandering, it can be tethered. (Not for longer than 3 hours without moving, and ALWAYS WITH ENOUGH TO EAT !) Strips of sacking, twisted and latched above its hoofs, prevent a donkey from taking long steps, but do not harm the feet it needs for work. (other materials, too)
  14. 14. ATTACHING (HITCHING) DONKEYS FOR PULLING Donkeys pull strongly from the tops of their legs, so a strap around the chest, joined to two traces (chains or ropes or riems) and a swingle (short pole) behind is the elementary equipment for pulling – poles, sleds, ploughs, etc.
  16. 16. MAKING HARNESSES Apart from enabling a donkey to pull from its chest, harnesses must fit properly and be made of material which does not cause wounds. Does it fit ? NO ! Firehose, but cheaper to braid goatskin, plastic
  17. 17. SOLVING THE PROBLEMS OF PULLING CARTS 1. Carts with only two wheels can be loaded badly so that the animals have difficulty with the weight. 2. Carts with only one shaft (disselboom) require two animals – but how do they share the load and pulling without too much problem ? 3. Also, any object with wheels needs some way of being slowed when it goes downhill. THE MAIN PROBLEMS: When wheels are used, there are a lot more forces
  18. 18. SOME SOLUTIONS To the middle of the front of the cart, and also to the end of the disselboom, swingles and eveners can be attached, joined front and back by traces, so donkeys can be easily hitched.
  19. 19. With a harness over its chest, and another one over its backside, from back and front the donkey is hooked to the traces. Neckstraps must be AVOIDED ! The weight of the cart is taken by the donkey on its back (not its neck, which is weak), and there is a strap around its buttocks so it can resist the cart rolling forward.
  20. 20. A small cart with two shafts can be pulled by one donkey, so attaching is much easier (to the middle on each side )
  21. 21. For pulling heavier loads, donkeys can be added in the front of the shaft/s, but they do not need to take any load on their backs, and do not provide any braking
  23. 23. SAFETY ON PUBLIC ROADS Various methods have been tried – Reflectors on ears or browbands And also on the carts themselves (although front still needs reflection) NOTE: Limpopo Province requires ADC (animal-drawn cart) licence plates !
  24. 24. SHELTER FOR DONKEYS Donkeys should be kept confined at night when they are not supervised – otherwise they wander and may do damage to crops, or otherwise be damaged themselves ! Donkeys lie down to sleep and do not like to have to sleep in their own dung, so there should be at least 2 m2 allowed for each donkey. DONKEYS SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT LOCKED UP WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO EAT DURING THE DAY.
  25. 25. Males, even castrated males, which often fight each other when not working, should be separated from females and young. ‘windows’ in the wall allow donkeys to put their heads out for snack after they are locked up. This makes them willing to stay in for the rest of the night.. There should also be a roof to protect especially young donkeys from rain. They easily suffer and may die from influenza in cold, wet weather
  26. 26. CASTRATION Almost all male donkeys should be castrated to avoid trouble. They can be very sexually aggressive, and work better if they are castrated. Strong ropes are needed, but they should not cut A burdizzo does not always work, so all castration should be done by experts.
  27. 27. COMMON TREATMENTS FOR DONKEYS Worm dosing lengthens a donkey’s life and keeps it strong. It should be done twice a year, poured with a bottle or syringe between a donkey’s front teeth and its back teeth, over its tongue. Irritated eyes must be thoroughly washed out every day with clean water mixed with a little salt or cooking soda, and squirted into the eye, avoiding contact with the container.
  28. 28. As feet are so important, hoofs need to be cleaned, checked for injury, and if necessary carefully cut to shape. Ticks can be treated with vaseline, or some herbal repellent
  29. 29. If injecting is necessary, it should be carefully done, preferably by a professional. For foot infections, a copper sulphate and vinegar mixture can be poured into a boot made from inner tube to soak for 15 minutes x2 per day SIMPLE CAN BE EFFECTIVE: Salt, Stockholm Tar or vaseline for wounds; clean first with methylated spirits …
  30. 30. FIRST AID KIT FOR DONKEYS VASELINE for ticks and minor wounds METHYLATED SPIRITS for cleaning wounds and implements BICARBONATE OF SODA mixed with very clean water for squirting sore eyes and wounds STOCKHOLM TAR for covering cleaned wounds and perforated hoofs BLUE STONE Copper Sulphate & VINEGAR to be mixed with water for soaking sore & infected hoofs COTTON WOOL – preferably discs – for cleaning wounds and implements) SYRINGE to be used without needle for squirting eyes and wounds LARGE NAIL for applying Stockholm Tar and for cleaning hoofs SMALL HACKSAW for shaping hoofs CUT 2-LITRE PLASTIC BOTTLE for soaking hoofs & otherwise mixing liquids
  31. 31. Most donkeys give very little trouble when being treated, especially if they are accustomed to it – but a little training may help. Troublesome donkeys can be immobilized by holding and twisting an ear. Otherwise, build a crushpen that can be available when needed, meanwhile getting the donkeys used to it by leading them through it and perhaps rewarding them before they ever need treatment.
  32. 32. (always reward a donkey for being good !) A CRUSHPEN MAKES LIFE EASY
  33. 33. If a donkey can’t stand up, it will need support until it is better. A broken leg can be ‘splinted’ – supported with a stiff surrounding until the bone knits together. But the bones must be straight, and infection avoided.
  34. 34. DONKEYS SHOULD NOT EAT PLASTIC ! Stones formed from plastic and sand found in dead donkeys’ guts DONKEYS SHOULD NOT WORK BEFORE 3 YRS Their bones are not complete and could get damaged. (Donkeys are 3 years when 2nd phase front teeth in use) Front donkey only 2 years old
  35. 35. MOVING DONKEYS When buying donkeys, remember NOT to Separate mothers from suckling young (up to 1 year) Separate friends (donkeys can die of heatbreak and loneliness, or at least become bad tempered) TRANSPORTING DONKEYS Is a tricky business, as many die in trucks or after; it is better to walk them.
  36. 36. FEEDING A DONKEY They will also eat leaves of trees and bushes Donkeys eat about 1/6th of the amount that oxen do, and eat much rougher veld. (So much better for the veld !) As long as they graze freely for 6 hours in a day, that is all they need, plus no more than 10 litres/day of water each. If they are working, and have no time to eat, 6 kg should be provided, including 1 kg grain for each donkey.
  37. 37. MAKING A HAYNET: Provides openings for donkeys to pull out grass about 10 x 10 cm
  38. 38. HOW MUCH DONKEYS WORK ! They DO work in the rain ! Backloaded on journeys, they do not seem to tire. More co- operative if you talk to them ! RURAL AND URBAN Donkeys convert food into energy better than any other animal. All the same, They should not work for more than 3 hours continuous, and 6 hours in a day. But beware overloading !
  39. 39. MANY OTHER THINGS DONKEYS DO They protect sheep: chase jackals & dogs Help train calves Provide medical milk for humans: premature babies, chest complaints Operate pumps Add to tourist enjoyment Build dams Make bricks Child therapy
  40. 40. THEY ARE EVEN HELPING WITH LITERACY AND EDUCATION - Mobile libraries in Colombia and Zimbabwe .. DISABLED AND DISASTERS -
  41. 41. WHY PEOPLE PREFER DONKEYS OVER CATTLE Five (5) donkeys will eat the same as one (1) ox – and will eat even less protein. Much lighter on the veld ! Donkeys drink very little water – six (6) donkeys will drink about the same as one (1) ox. Where two oxen pull a plough, often two donkeys can do the same work, and one (1) can sometimes be enough, certainly for a cart. YET:three donkeys can easily do the work of two oxen THEY LIVE ALMOST AS LONG AS HUMANS !
  42. 42. AND AS FOR CARRYING LOADS … what animal would be so good ?Easy to train, willing and intelligent ! Particularly good on steep, rocky slopes and any place where roads are absent Can be left to work alone, too !
  43. 43. SOME DONKEY STORIES … Maria was holding the baby Jesus in front of her on the donkey during the flight into Egypt. The baby was still very young, and he wet the back of the donkey where he was sitting. Because of this, the donkey carries the cross on its back.
  44. 44. The story is told that the little donkey that Jesus rode on Palm Sunday, came to the hill of Calvary. Seeing the tragic happening there, he wished with all his heart he had been able to carry the cross for Jesus – as he was the proper one to carry heavy burdens. The donkey turned his back on the sight, but he could not leave because he wished to stay until all was over because of his love for Jesus. In reward for the loyal and humble love of the little donkey the Lord caused the shadow of the cross to fall across his back and left it there for the donkey to carry forevermore - as a sign that the love of God, no matter how humble, carries a reward for all to see.
  45. 45. One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours, as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally he decided the animal was old and the well needed to be covered anyway, it just wasn't worth it to try to pull the donkey out. He invited all his neighbours to come over and help him fill the well. They each grabbed a shovel and began to throw dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realised what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement, he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well and was astonished at what he saw. With every shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. As the farmer's neighbours continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and trotted off!
  46. 46. In parts of Africa the story is told of three animals boarding a bus: an ox, a goat and a donkey. Only the ox had the correct fare; the goat sneakily avoided paying its fare at all, and the donkey failed to get change from the conductor. Now, when a bus comes speeding down the road, cattle pay no attention to it, goats run to hide, but donkeys are determined to stop it so as to claim the change that was never given.
  47. 47. Overheard in 1993 at a women’s leadership workshop in rural Zimbabwe:  Question: WHAT SHOULD A LEADER BE LIKE ? Answer: A LEADER SHOULD BE LIKE A DONKEY. Question: WHY ? Answer: BECAUSE A DONKEY WORKS HARD WITHOUT COMPLAINING, AND ALWAYS KNOWS WHERE TO GO ! MBAHELA, LIMPOPO PROVINCE, March 2001
  48. 48. GOD’S LITTLE DONKEY ON THE MOON Every month, when the moon is full, you can see a baby donkey on the moon – recovering from illness or injury. At the end of the month, when the moon is out of sight, God brings that little donkey down to earth, and takes it to a mother whose own baby has died that night. God takes the dead baby donkey back to the moon, where it can slowly come alive again. Meanwhile the mother donkey has a healthy, happy baby to look after, a baby that needs a mother. So slowly she can recover, too, from the awful shock of her own baby dying. WAS YOUR DONKEY ONE OF GOD’S LITTLE DONKEYS ?
  49. 49. •       •     All the things your donkeys can do • •     Problems to be solved with donkeys • •     How to make equipment for donkeys • •     How to look after your donkeys • •     What your donkeys are worth • •     How to earn money with your donkeys • •       •             FACILITATION AND CONSULTANCY SERVICES Peta A. Jones, MSc PhD PO Box 1695 MUSINA 0900 South Africa Cell +27 (0)83 686 7539 e-mail