I feel so badly for Norma… she is badly irritated by flies in the summer months and it really exacerbates her donkey psoriasis.
So, this year, I’ve decided to add a few weapons to our arsenal. On top of the natural herbs, fly sprays and fly masks… I’ve added leg wraps (mesh) and a huge, lightweight, nose/ears covering fly mask.
She hates it.
I don’t blame her. (The issue is that no one that I have found makes a true DONKEY fly mask… they make a one-size-fits-all-longears and that isn’t true. Norma is a regular sized donkey and this mask is for MULES AND DONKEYS which is totally a misnomer because donkeys and mules are totally different animals! Please, someone, make a flymask for regular donkeys… I know, I know, there aren’t enough of them to make it fiscally worthwhile – but I need one.)
Let’s see how long the flymask lasts…
(PS: She has a fan… and I have only had unfortunate luck with feed-throughs. Not saying they don’t work for some, just not for my horses.)
(Couldn’t help but think of this image when I took Norma’s pic in her new gear.)
Great idea! I wondered how those horsey gators worked! Thank you. I will try them when her current
mesh leggings wear out!
We’re in Massachusetts and our guys will be covered head to toe starting pretty soon here. Initially they hated the clothes (poor Dex would stand still like a statue and refuse to move), but they now “get ” that when then they have it on – no bugs! Our mare runs to me in the morning to suit up.
I purchased these leg coverings called “shoo fly leggings” that work great. They are loose and look pretty funny. They are essentially a mesh cone that fits only at the ankle and then is loose up to right under the knee. You would think flies would just go down the legging – but apparently flies don’t like to fly down. Anyhoo, they are fantastic, though definitely not a fashion statement.
When I moved to the Eastern Slope in Colorado at almost 8,000 feet (May 2017) I didn’t realize what a difference the elevation and dry climate would make in the types and numbers of bugs. There is a two week horsefly season in early July, but no gnats, mosquitoes, or ticks and few regular flies. When I lived in Iowa, fighting the insects began in March and continued until November. I do sometimes use a fly mask with a nose cover in the summer on my Welsh Cob. He has blaze that covers his nose and the sun here is so strong that it can burn his nose. I also put sunscreen on his pink skin. Fortunately, neither he nor the Haflinger pony have socks. They both have fly sheets for the horsefly season – those insects are not deterred by fly spray. I know your donkey is old, but you might be able to use clicker training and positive reinforcement (treats) to train her to accept clippers (especially small quiet ones). Now retired, I have lost track of the number of horses I taught to allow clipping, from the age of two, to several horses over 12. It takes anywhere from a few days to a month, but I’ve never failed. I have trained only one donkey (to ride and drive) and I used my clippers to trim his bridle path and legs. As a horse trainer, my attitude is that when a horse does something I don’t like, I train him/her. ?
Poor Norma! My Princess Pony had sweet itch so bad that she wore a Boett sheet–head to tail. Although it wasn’t her favorite thing in the world, she understood it meant the flies couldn’t get her and she got to keep her beautiful mane and tail. We’re not too far from the coast so it usually didn’t get hotter than around 82 and we get an ocean breeze every day. Not sure how it would be if it was really hot and/or humid.
She won’t stand for the clippers… and I usually use scissors in the really dense areas. She has a really nice fan! So does Dalton. Mama Tess had a HUGE fan!
A couple of things come to mind, which you may have thought of already…
1) clipping her (a partial clip to keep her cooler)
2) a fan if possible blowing where she mostly stands
Bugs can be so relentless, good luck with the fly mask as they those work great!