Monday, June 10, 2013

Hi Folks,  I know I haven't blogged in a while, sorry.  I have been going through several trial and errors with the hay boxes and how to build a netting frame.  Long story shortened: I first made out of pvc which was very light weight.  Many people use a metal grate in a hay box but the were several reasons I didnt want to go that route.  First the holes are way too big, generally at least 2".  2ndly I have heard some issues with chipped front teeth when they get too aggressive trying to get the hay out.  I had found a great youtube video from the Money Pit Ranch on the hay net(s) they had made for their hay boxes.  I really liked their design so I worked off of it.

This is the hay box made by a carpenter about 20 miles away (found via craigslist!)  He had never made a box for minis before and we discussed a height of 15" but we had a communication difference of side height vs total height.  Once he had the feet on it it was a good 18.5" and you can see it was too tall for Badger.  He came to pick it up and get a visual and I had it back in a few days. 

This is the same box with the light weight pvc frame and too taut netting. 

Now the netting I used is a square 3/4" mesh.  I had ordered hay net bags that were 1" mesh and I thought they were pulling too much hay out at a time, too fast.  But this 3/4" seemed too small.  After pondering for a while and watching them eat out the hay net bags I started thinking my netting was pulled too taut.  Which I did do intentionally.  BTW its a real pain to put the netting on.  On the pvc I threaded the netting, having to continually pull the excess through.  Then I got the bright idea to weave the pipe through.  While easier and way faster the corners were an issue.  Having to leave a quite a bit unwoven so you can connect the corners. 

Heres a video of Badger eating out of the taut mesh.  OK I know the video is sideways.  I used my iphone and I hold just like I would to take a pic but ALL of videos play sideways.  I go to edit put it does not give me the option to rotate.  So sorry if you get a crick in your neck or you get nauseous. You can see its very difficult to get the hay out of it being so taut.  They would walk away and go scavenge off the ground.

So after watching them eat of the hay bags and then consulting with the hay bag net ladies from Cinch Chix (great nets btw) they suggested the netting be looser.  If you watch eating from a net you will notice how they push pretty far down and pull up which they couldn't do on a taut net.  So here is the metal frame with loose net......  I obviously didn't get the elbow set screws tightened down enough!  Before I discovered it like this thye ate about 2 flakes of hay!!!  You know I worked so hard for years to get the weight off Pistol and Pedro and now with this free-feeding they look like they pregnant with twins! 

Here is another sideways video of them eating out of the loose mesh.

You may remember the original hay box my son made from previous posts.  I made several net frames for it as well.  It was his first try and neither of us thought about the issue of inside corner pieces interring with a frame.  First I made with the 90 degree conduit elbows but it left too much room on the sides for them to pull hay from.  So I found these pull through elbows that have a flattened 45 degree angle, perfect for our inside corners.  Then we had to deal with a way to keep the net inside the box.  So here is the video for that box.  I had also made a too taut net and made again looser. 

So I think I finally have the net frame issue settled.  I will have to keep checking to make sure the set screws don't loosen and the frame doesn't come apart.  If all else fails I can make my own net bags out of the 3/4" mesh and attached to the floor of the box with an eye-screw. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hay box first try

My son says this is the first and last box he will make!  It did take longer than expected.  Its 2x3x15"h.  We made it out of the recycled plastic/wood composite decking material because have been known to chew wood.  I attached the hay bag in the center as I did on the mats.

There is a local guy who makes horse hay boxes and he is going to down size one for the donkeys.  Pics when I get it.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Check it out


So after arriving home last Wednesday and sitting in the pasture thinking what can I do to keep the little boys grazing all day and night on hay and not alfalfa-dirt sand at the fence lines I came up with this.

Above pic you are looking from the big pasture into the middle pasture.  Before today Carb and the donkeys had access to both.  At night I close that gate to the left. 

So I decided that the plan was to keep Carb in the middle and let the little boys come and go in both.  So a 20' pvc pipe and some brackets went up.  This above pic their first approach to the barrier bar. 

Badger was the adventurer and went under first.  Being shorter than Pistol and Pedro helped! 

Now Pedro is still reluctant to go under, even days later.  I wish I had the video on the phone on because Pistol, even though he could have walked under, got on his knees and did the limbo.  I was laughing so hard I spooked Badger.

 So here are the mats, 4 of them.
 I drilled a hole in the center, put an eye bolt with big washers on either side and then a heavy duty carabiner.
 Then hook the carabiner to the middle of side of the hay bay.

I left this one bag out for a day or two so they could get used to it.  When I went out to feed last night I found it off the mat and.......
Since Emma wasn't letting Ramsey near the hay bags I sent a while back DD graciously sent them back for the boys to use.

 As a note Carb was appearing to have a problem seeing the bar so I painted it for him.
 So this morning was our first meal.  Each bag has 3 pounds of timothy hay.  This is Pistol.

We will have to see how much hay they go through>  I would like to leave out 24/7 and hear they will soon realize the bags will always have hay and not snarf it all up.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Frustrating Day

Badger had his 3 weeks recheck visit today.  They scoped him and xrayed him.

Good News is that the ulcers are gone, no more ranitidine 3 times a day!

Bad news is he has sand accumulation again.  And he has been on 8 cups of psyllium a day!  Granted he probably only ingests about 5 of those 8 cups. But still thats a lot of psyllium.

here is pic of discharge day xray, you can see just wispy amounts of sand at bottom

here is pic of todays xray and you can see all the pockets of sand

So I am at loss as to what to do.  Well there are options none of them good.  
1. he could live in a stall for the rest of life-not happening
2. Grazing Muzzle, which I already own.  got home and put on him.  he stood hovering over his water trough trying to figure out how to take a drink.  He tried to lick his Himalayan salt block (he loves his salt block).
I finally took it off.
3. grazing muzzle for Carb the horse so he can't eat their hay (remember Carb has no teeth and eats soaked hay pellets, he could choke eating hay).

After walking around the pasture for an hour measuring and thinking I may have an idea.  The boys have access to 2 pastures: the smaller middle pasture where their run-in shed is located and a bigger pasture that has no shade or shelter.  there is a gate separating the two pastures and I lock them all in the smaller one at night so they are not right up at the road.  If I give in and let the little boys out there 24-7 I could leave gate open but put up a single horizontal bar at fence top line height so Carb is blocked but the little boys can go underneath.  Then I can put 4-5 mats out there with hay nets attached so they can 'graze'.  Carb will be p#!@#d off but then no one has to wear a muzzle.  

So tell me what ya'll think or if y ou have other ideas I am all ears!!!

Monday, May 6, 2013




Monday, April 29, 2013

As promised

OK I finally installed x-ray disc from hospital, so here we go. 


These 2 are x-rays that led to Badgers admission.  OK I don't know how to do that fancy drawing on top of pic that DD does so......This is the large colon: the bright white sort of banana shape at the bottom of x-ray (bottom of large colon) is the large sand accumulation, approx 3"x7"
Different contrast on x-ray.  You can see the kind of nipple shape here at the bottom just like in above image.  There are wispy areas off to the right, that is sand in the intestines.  In the center there is a white blob just off to the right that is sand as well

This is his x-ray upon discharge 9 days later.  Large colon; look at bottom and  you can see just a small thin section on sand.

Remember the nice Doc said he would give a 2fer, x-ray Pistol and Pedro for the price of one.  
So this is Pedro's large colon x-ray.  You can see at the bottom even thinner line of sand.  I was so freaked by Badgers huge accumulation that I had run up to the Pasadena area and bought 80 pounds of the same psyllium powder they use at the Equine Hosp and immediately started Pistol, Pedro and Carb on it.  So this was 5 days on that product, who knows what it was before I started.

These are Pistols x-rays.  The 2nd one is a slightly higher contrast so you can see the thin line of sand leading up the leaf-shaped area of sand. 

In case you are interested I finally found a no sugar and actually no carb pancake syrup.  It's pretty runny and the psyllium really doesn't stick as well as it does to the banana slurry I was making but the banana slurry was high in starch/carbs.      I had found several no sugar varieties but they still had high carbs.  Now of course they all have artificial sweeteners like Splenda.  I am still researching effects of that on equine.  Because there really isn't any other circumstance I can find that a donkey or horse would be given any artificial sweetener! 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Checking In

HI everyone.  I know it has been several days since I updated you.  Badger is doing OK.  Not great but hanging in there.  I was really worried about him on Friday, 2nd day out of hosptial.  He was laying down a lot.  All his vitals were good, eating and drinking and pooping.  But just down, not rolling.  DD thought maybe he was just exhausted from the hospital where the activity is 24/7.  She was very reassuring to me.  Sorry no pic.  I am too tired to find one.  His medication schedule has me up later than usual and I am plain tuckered out.

Again thanks for of your support! 

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Badger is home!!!

Badg got to come home Wednesday 4-17-13 in the afternoon.  It was a grand welcoming by Carb who ran up to the trailer bucking and kicking.

Badger is still on stall rest with gradual increase over 4 days.  They did not want him to over due playing since he's been in a stall for 9 days.

The doc held true to his word and gave Pistol and Pedro both x-rays for the price of one.  They had just a trace at the bottom of the large intestine.  Badger was xrayed that morning and also has trace but OK to go home.  He is still on psyllium for 3 weeks as well as 8 zantac three times a day.  Small meals frequently.  I have to cut his hay in small pieces 3".  They recommended a cheap weedeater and put the hay in a clean trash can and chop it up.  I have been using banana slurry for the sticky stuff for psyllium to stick to the new Triple Crown Low Starch pellets that have no alfalfa, corn or molasses.

Since I had Pis & Pe with me for xrays we stopped at a local feed store that has a scale and weighed everybody.  Badger-200, Pistol & Pedro both 270.  It was one of those drive on scales so who knows the plus and minus at a lower weight, but close enough.  

Its quite a schedule to keep with the meds.  His chinese herbal IR/LAM formula can not be given with 2 hours +- of chemical meds like the zantac so its a challenge.  

He hadn't seen much sun for the past 9 days expect on the walks so I put the other boys in a larger pasture and let Badger have the small one for several hours.  He rolled and lay soaking in the rays.

The doc burned a disc of all the xrays.  I will see if I can upload a pic for comparison for all of  you.  If not I will take a pic of the monitor screen like I did on admission xray.

Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Badger and Joe

Badger's IV cath had been removed before I got there this morning, which I take as a good sign.  Vet was in an er surgery and I didn't get to talk to him and he didn't call me.  

I have some questions for all of you.  What would you recommend as a low starch low sugar feed to mix the psyllium in?  I have been researching and many LS feed are alfalfa based.  Triple Crown showed no alfalfa or corn but main ingredient is wheat middlings.  Looking for no alfalfa or corn but don't know much about wheat middlings.

Regarding what to moisten the feed pellets with:  vet uses Aunt Jemima syrup!  I have been blending banana and water to make a runny paste but it just takes such a large amount of feed for the volume of psyllium to stick to.  None of the donkeys have ever gotten feed before this.   I was thinking maybe carrot juice?  I will have to research sugar and starch uptake on the juices.  Any info would be greatly appreciated! 



Badger tugging on Carb's tail

Badger-The Green Flash

Morning everyone.  Here is video of everyone playing that I forgot I had taken. This blog-thing has made me realize how unorganized my photo files are.  

Badger is the fluoro-green sheet.

I had forgotten how much Badger used to play with Pistol and Pedro and even Carb.  I truly believe he has felt so miserable with all that sand that he hasn’t wanted to play.  I feel so guilty for not realizing it.
I have another one of just Badger and Carb I will load later.  He is holding to Carbs tail as Carb walks around.  I’ll have to show you a photo of Carb’s tail now and you will see how much of it has been ‘eaten’! 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Eating Timothy

This pic is from yesterday, Sunday 4-14.  The vet brought a hand full of timothy out to Badger while we were waiting for the sun to peek out, it never did.

When I went today they had finally decided that he was not eating enough psyllium and tubed him.  The xray showed about half the sand left.  If they continued to let him just eat the psyllium to could be another 7-10 days!  So they will tube it in twice a day.

They gave me my bill so far......$1920.00 so we are already over the high end estimate and vet now thinks Wednesday or Thursday!  Well this has been a lesson learned for getting equine major med insurance. 

I wasn's able to stay long today as I had one of the dogs with me.  She had a recheck appt for a meniscus surgery, her 3rd on that knee.  It was totally overcast so with windows down about 5" and the temp at 55 she was good for bit in the car.  My son went back out and sat with her after a few minutes.  I think the smell in the barn was getting to him.  Its an odd combo of odors. 

I wanted to mention that we talked hay the other day and both vets said that with minis you should always feed short hay pieces.  They just can't chew the long stalks or blades of hay small enough for Their little stomachs and small opening into the intestines.  I used to sit in the barn cutting my hay into 4-6" pieces.  Everyone would laugh and shake their heads at me.  My Colorado 2nd cut has so far been nice and short but I am running out and 1st cut will be longer and thicker.  Anyway I thought I would pass that hay info along.  The vet said some people get a cheap weed eater just for the hay and put the hay in a big bucket or trough and chop it up. 

Thank you Betty!

Totally off topic:  I ran across these pics.  At the first place I rented out here the flies were horrendous.  Pedro's rear legs would be black with them.  We tried all sorts of fly sprays.  They wore fly sheets and masks but the legs were still exposed.  I went to Target and got kids socks for a buck a pair.  Cut the toes out and slipped them up the leg.  I used elastikon tape to (try) and hold up.  They never stayed up all day. 

But everyone stopped to take their picture!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

This is Badger on Saturday 4-13-13.  We walked and waited for the sun to come out but alas it was hours later before it did.

Badger has some how made a friend on the other side of hospital, a Paint that he keeps walking me back to see.  We have no Paints at home or even for neighbors so there is obviously something special about him. Behind the hospital are several sports fields and there were at least 3 kids baseball games going on.  Lots of commotion, screaming and yelling and Badg wouldn't even go near the back.  The photo is him stopping in his tracks and trying to make sense of this new noise in an area that had been devoid of any activity on all the other walks.

He isn't eating the psyllium as well as the vet, or I, would like.  They were going to x-ray him later in day or Sunday morning to check on the amount of sand and location.  They were considering the tubing of psyllium again.  There was some sand in the fingers of OB glove but not a lot.  Oh I should probably explain that  method for some of you.

There are a couple of ways to perform a sand check.  The process in most of the them is the same: collect some fecal balls (from the top of pile of manure so you are not getting the sand or dirt from the ground), place it in a ziploc bag, mason jar or one the large animal obstetric exam glove.  The add water, a lot of water, make sure you break up the fecal balls completely.  If there is sand and since sand is heavy it will sink faster than the digested food.  So look hold the bag up to look for the sand and rub the bottom between your fingers to feel for sand.  In the jar version you obviously can't feel it.  In the OB glove the sand falls into the fingers and its easier to see and feel.  And besides you can make a knot in top of the bag, like making a water ballon( I can just see a teenager considering this for a water balloon fight-yuck).  That way you can save the bag to be examined later with out the worry the ziploc feature will fail, which believe has happened twice to me-again yuck.  Another method I kinda like is the white bucket method.  Take a bucket like what one of your supplements come in, add the fecal balls and water, stir.  Let settle for about 5 minutes and slowly tip and pour the water off.  You will probably have to do it several times to clear the water.  The sand should be settled and visible at the bottom of the bucket.

I spent the rest of the day on the road first getting 80 pounds of the same psyllium they are using at he hospital.  Its pretty far past the vets and I didn't want to run out in the first week.  I also wanted to start every one at home on it right away.  As much as I liked the licorice flavored, no sweetener added, psyllium I had been using for 2+ years because they LOVED the flavor and it didnt need to mixed with feed, it is a pellet and we now know pellets just don't work.  I picked up a Low Starch feed for home.  Then Costco, ugh on Saturday, to get the generic zantac-ranitidine- that Badger will have to be on for a month at 4 tabs three times a day.  its reallllly cheap there, 190 tabs for 5.49 !!!!!  I couldn't believe it. And then get stuck again on the infamous 91.  

Now the trick was to get Pistol and Pedro to eat the psyllium.  I dampened about 1/4 cup of the  LS feed and added 1/2 cup of the psyllium, stirred not shaken.  Then for Carb I used his regular Safe Choice that I already have flax and MSM in and added 2 cups of the psyllium.  The vet said a good trick is to give it to them when they are expecting their hay.  They will be hungry, see you don't the hay and eat this up.  Well......that sort of worked.  The little boys ate theirs, btw I started with a small amount to see if they would it first.  SO I went back and made them more.  Carb pretty much picked the Safe Choice out and left the psyllium so I will have to find a stickier method for him.  I am not overly concerned about a little sugar for him as he is not IR and never had laminitis but I certainly don't want him too.  A little sticky senior feed for a few days a month hopefully won't hurt him.

Before I left the hospital they were just starting to scope an Arabian.  Since I had not been there for any of Badger's 5 scopes I asked if I could observe.  I had seen plenty of human colonoscopys but never an endoscopy.  It was pretty cool.   I learned the stomach lining should be white on the top and red on the bottom.  The red looks raw and my first thought was that was irritation and bad but its normal.  if there is a yellowish color that is Grade 1 ulceration, kind of pre-ulcer.  They are not actually formed yet but that's where they will be.  Grade 2 is actual ulcers which is what Badger has.  Vet said that I would be bringing Badger back after 4 weeks to get scoped to make sure ulcers had resolved, to the tune of 279.00!!!  Of course I immediately did the math of the 5 scopes he had already, that is more than the low end of the estimate alone. 

As a note I added a PayPal button for family and friends.

I am off in a bit for my Sunday visit.  I thought I would post two of my favorite photos from back on Ohio. 

Pistol sniffing Willow the Great Danes' butt with Pedro in the background.  Something about the configuration always catches my eye.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Da Sun Da Sun

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy! 

My granddaughter, daughter in law and I went back to see Badger.  His jugular IV cath was still in but fluids discontinued for the time so we got to go for a much needed walk and some sunshine.  We walked around the facility inside and out a couple of times, meet up with Chance the other miniature donkey who had been mauled by a dog (still very sick little boy with massive infection).  Badger even brayed when he saw a horse next door, I think he thought it was Carb.  He stopped often just to soak in the rays.  He hadn't been out since Tuesday.

He pooped but no sand yet, not really expected as his first psyllium feeding was just 24 hours earlier.  The sunshine and walk really picked him up I think, as all of us thought he was very depressed when we first got there.  He is eating his psyllium, slowly.  They are mixing it with just a little sweet feed but mostly the low starch feed.

On the walk it was hard to keep him from the weeds along the driveway and the occasional bedding straw on the ground.

Today should have been the 4th of  a 4-5 day stay but it's looking like at least until Monday at the earliest.  its making me a bit a nervous about the bill.  I hope he keeps eating enough psyllium to start clearing the sand, if they were tubing him there would be a procedure charge each time.  Of course if he needs it they will do it.

I have decided its well worth it to go visit every day.  It may be the only walking he gets and that will help move the sand along.  It must get so lonely for a little guy who is used to being surrounded by his family.  I found diesel for $4.03 yesterday, yeah!   

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Badger Update from Thursday 4-11-13  8 pm pst 

Well it was a bit of a frantic day for me.  Badger is doing just OK, no worse which is an excellent thing.  The ER vet I had briefly gotten to know and liked was off today and tomorrow.  Another ER vet called and went right into a whole new plan of action.  I had to stop him and confirm I was talking to a different doctor (in my defense I was in my diesel truck and had pulled off the road but still couldn’t hear well enough to ascertain it was a different doc). 

 can you see the braids holding the IV line in place?!  have you ever tried to braid a donkeys mane?!  I want to meet the person who accomplished this feat!

They scoped him again around noon and the mass of pelleted psyllium and hay was now gone.  So they were going to feed him a senior sweet feed with the powder psyllium in it.  WHOA NELLIE -feed him what?  What happened to tubing to get the psyllium in his stomach.  They want him to eat 1-2 cups of psyllium mixed in sweet feed every 4 hours?!  

I had to stop again and go back over the original game plan, which I realize can change as time goes by.  The reasoning did seem plausible: he had been scoped through his nostril, like an NG tube, so many times they wanted to save his nose.  But my mind was going to saving irritation to his nose or getting life threatening sand out of his digestive tract.  And in sweet feed no less.  I reiterated that he was IR and had laminitis before and I avoided at any cost any sweetened starchy products.  Even his treats are 95% sugar free (Beet Treats).  I emphasized I didn’t want to cure one thing and then him down with laminitis.

I reluctantly mentioned the IR/LAM/EMS formula he is one that worked wonders on all 3 little boys.  I have lived my life surrounded by homeopathic, naturopathic practitioners and know all too well how the allopathic medical community feels about them.  I also know firsthand how medical schools, nursing schools, veterinary schools start immediately at the new students brainwashing them that there is only one way to treat: with their medicine.  Oh don’t get me started.  

We came to a compromise that I would bring the formula over for him to inspect.  I Gave him Dr. Thomas’ information so he could research on his own.  I would agree to try the sweet feed treatment if he would agree to allow Badger to take his formula to try and counteract the heavy load of sugar to his system.

I hung up and called For Love Of The Horse.  Explained the situation and asked what dosage they would recommend.  Well again I can’t say enough about everyone there.  Not only were they discussing the treatment amongst themselves,  Leah and Melissa suggested another alternative: why not use a low starch feed like Purina Well Solve Low Starch which does not load as a sugar.  Well duh why didn’t I think of that?  Many thanks to them again.  I called vet back made suggestion but they don’t have any low starch feed there.

Well there was only one thing to do.  Take my granddaughter home, find someone who carried it and go visit my Badg a day early.  Does anyone know the 91 in southern California?  If you do you know the dread of taking it at rush hour in any direction.  But at least I wasn’t hauling the trailer this time.

When I arrived there he was with IV hanging from the ceiling finishing a bowl of sweet feed with psyllium.  Well of course he loved it, he was hungry and it was sweet.  I wish I could take my meds in chocolate syrup.  Any way we made another bowl with the LS feed another 2 cups of psyllium.  I see one advantage to the sweet feed, it’s moist and sticky and psyllium really sticks to it.  Not so much with the dry feed.  So we will have to see how it goes.  I met the new vet, showed him the formula which he shrugged at but agreed it wouldn’t hurt anything.  
psyllium not sticking to low starch pellets.  He was picking up the bowl and trying to dump it. 

I stayed for a while and sat on floor, will remember to bring a chair next time.  He walked around me, laid his head on my shoulder and snorted in my ear.  Initially I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t bray to greet me and run to me.  I figured he was mad at me for leaving him there! 
The vet did mention that when they scoped him he did have long hairs in his belly.  He said that psyllium doesn’t remove an actual hair ball, that requires surgery.  So I am hoping that its only a little hair.  Tail bag for Carb!