Are Donkeys Allergic to Clover?

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AbbySmith

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So, the other day I overheard someone saying that they only ever put their mini donkeys out on the dry pasture, cause there wasn't much grass, and it didn't grow any clover, so the donkeys wouldn't get clover poisoning. And that got me to thinking, are they actually allergic to clover? I didn't want to butt in on the conversation cause I didn't know the lady lol! But I am super curious now, cause I had my mini donkeys out on pasture all year last year, and in every single pen they were in, it had tons of clover! And I mean, tons! That's what we planted in all the fields they were in anyways, it was a clover, timothy mix. And the donkeys never seemed to have a problem with it. There's also clover in the hay that they eat, and again, I haven't had a problem with it. I had them in a holding pen for about a week, and clover is about the only thing that grows in that pen, and they ate it all, and didn't have a problem. Is there something I'm not seeing here? Should I be concerned? Is it like an animal by animal thing? Like, some are allergic, and others aren't? Please let me know! I didn't think there was any problem with it, and I know that clover is pretty high in protein and all that, so they are restricted, but they still eat it. Should they not be on it? What does it do?
Thank you for any and all information!!

Here are some pics of the fields they were on, and no, before someone asks, they were not on them 24/7, they were monitored
 

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JFNM miniatures

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Maybe you can make more research on this topic, but these are hints on what you can research...

There is a fungus that can be sometimes found on clover. That fungus contains a toxin, called slaframine. That toxin is not life-threatning, however, it will make a horse, or donkey in your case, drool a lot of saliva. The fungus looks like rust spots on the leaves and generally develops when it's cold and humid. Just make sure to remove your donkeys from pasture if you see them drooling.

However, I did a quick research and saw that there is one kind of clover that is more toxic and can result in more serious problems... It's called alsike clover and causes photosensitization (sensitivness to sun, resulting in suburns, oral lesions and diarrhea and colic) as well as big liver syndrome.

Hope this helps! 🙂
 

AbbySmith

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That definitely helps! Thank you!! I'll definitely continue to do my own research, I was also curious to see if anyone had experience with their minis being poisoned by it. Thank you for your help!!
 

Abby P

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I boarded at a person's house when I lived in Michigan and her pasture was full of alsike clover. She had two BLM burros, a few-spot Appy gelding with metabolic issues, an old Arabian, and my young Arabian (both bay). The Appy got photosensitization from the alsike clover and all of the others were fine (my horse did develop laminitis at her place but I think this was due to too much pasture in general and mineral issues). So I have a feeling that other factors can play into it and I would bet that since donkeys generally have very little white on them, they hence probably do not have pink skin, and probably wouldn't get the photosensitization as easily as a white horse would. That doesn't mean the stuff is good for them and you certainly do have to be careful with donkeys and grass in general for metabolic reasons.
 

chandab

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Photosensitization is a nasty "disease", and affects equines with white hair and pink skin more/worse than those with dark skin and hair (I can't recall if it only affects those pink skinned areas, as it's been awhile).
The biggest issue many donkeys may have with clover of any kind is going to be protein and calories: clovers are legumes, like alfalfa, so higher in protein and calories, something our longears don't need excess of.
 

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