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How best to heat a stable?

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AlpineSummit

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Hello
We’re very new to the game here. 2 brand new mini donkeys, 4 yrs old but brand spankin’ new to us. Issue at hand is they come from the Florida/Georgia line and we’re far upstate NY and very close to the Canadian border. So I am looking to find a safe way to provide some heat in their stable. I know that normally they can take care of themselves and I presume that next year they’ll grow nice winter coats. But this year I feel that some BTUs would be necessary. So the question comes down to Heat Lamp or Indoor Kerosene heater. Both have drawbacks: the kerosene heater will make noise, I think, but would be safe even if somehow it tipped over. Not so w/the Heat Lamp. If it falls, fire. The stable is pretty nice, not too big, not overly drafty except at the ceiling, and there are plenty of fresh pine chips in there. Any thoughts on a proper heat source?

Thanks for any opinions. First critters w/hooves and we’re green as pasture grass here. ;)
 

Dragon Hill

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Wow, I would be afraid to heat with either of those options. I know both can easily cause fires. If I had to heat I would use an infrared heater. Are you using blankets? Protection from the wind and wet is enough where I live, so I hope someone from a cold climate will help here.
 

Taz

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Welcome, you're going to love your little ones!

Donkeys are a little different than horses. They don't get the undercoat that horses have so are more susceptible to the cold and especially wet. When they get comfortable with you you might want to put an unlined rainsheet on. They are light enough not to push their hair down but will keep them dry. There's nothing wrong with a heavier blanket if you want you just have to make sure it's heavy enough to compensate for it flattening their hair which puffs up to hold in heat when they are cold. You do not have to blanket, it is completely your choice as long as they have shelter available 24/7.

I don't know about a kerosene heater for while they are in the barn. I have a big one that I use for about an hour when the horses are out on the really cold days to bring the temp up again but I'm not comfortable with it running when I'm not there or the horses are in both for fire risk and CO2 issues. Infra red heat lamps will warm up anything in an area without warming the air and they go up high like lights. I was in a barn that had them in the wash stall and they were amazing but I don't know how much they are to buy or run or how hard they would be to put up.

My choice would be blankets if you don't think they are warm enough. Make sure the straps are all snug not dangling where a leg can get into them.
 

Maryann at MiniV

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Is your barn insulated? That would help a lot. If you can afford an infared heater that would be amazing. The two options you mentioned have a very high risk for Fire. Offering them shelter and when it gets REALLY cold, doubling their HAY, which will heat them from the INSIDE OUT is probably most important, IMO. Check their "arm-pits" if you think it's getting too cold. If the arm-pits are warm, then they are okay.....If they feel cool OR they seem to be shivering, throw blankets on them. (We live in Central Oregon and winters are always below freezing and can even go into the single digits.)
 
B

Bruce

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Good food for thought and will look into infrared heaters shortly. Yes I am not comfy w either option that I mentioned either. The blankets are very warm but I do understand the point of the flattening day and being less efficient. It’s just that it is very cold here Dec thru March. We’re north of Plattsburgh NY, just a few miles from the border. Coooold here!!
Many Thanks for helpful replies:)
 

AlpineSummit

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Good food for thought and will look into infrared heaters shortly. Yes I am not comfy w either option that I mentioned either. The blankets are very warm but I do understand the point of the flattening day and being less efficient. It’s just that it is very cold here Dec thru March. We’re north of Plattsburgh NY, just a few miles from the border. Coooold here!!
Many Thanks for helpful replies:)
This was actually me, the dim-witted OP who spaced, didn’t login, and then was dbl dim-witted and posted as Guest. Wow,,,thinking like a donkey already? I’ve heard that left brain / right brain thing and quite frankly think it is bunk!
Today was a pretty good day! Spent a cpl hrs working around them being sure not to use chain saws or anything ;) Then spent time in the corral quietly reading. Both of ‘em came up to me at different times for visits, nice soft fur! 🥰
And now they’re put themselves to bed; maybe they heard the chickens next door?!? ;-)
Nitey Nite :)
 

arrelle

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I assume you mean pine shavings in your OP and not actual chunky chips.

Echoing what others have said - artificial heaters scare me, lol. I live in Texas so it's never TOO cold here, but we have a week long ice storm at least every year/every other year where it just rains ice and everything gets covered in a couple of inches of it. The majority of my pastures don't have great wind breaks - so my horses come in a lot. I *have* been at some show barns that will use the blast kerosene heaters while they're there to try to heat up the air, but they're used under supervision only while people are in the barn, doing things like clipping or bagging supplements. In those barns, if they are not insulated, the heat dissipates so quickly, I didn't found it made much of a difference once the heater was turned off (and, it smelled awful). In the insulated barns, I've found the body heat of the horses kept it pretty warm and there wasn't really a need for an external heater.

For my horses, I've found that:
1) getting them out of the wind and into the barn helps in general; if there are loafing sheds or tree breaks in your pastures - watch when the donkeys go into them to try to get some protection, or face their butts to the wind - that's usually the first sign that they're uncomfortable (as compared to just hanging out in a group with butts in all directions)
2) strong blankets, with layers can help - I like turnout blankets since the thicker, canvas type outer can help cut the wind; if it's going to be extra cold, I'll usually layer my heavy blankets with fleecy, lighter blankets underneath to help trap heat
3) deep shavings - if you can afford it, give them enough shavings to not just catch their mess, but so that they can kind of bury into it and keep their legs and stomachs insulated while in the barn
4) lottttts of hay - i don't specifically have donkeys so you'll have to research which types of hay are best, but here in Texas in the winter all of the big horses have 24x7 access to coastal hay to munch on as much as they like. The fat mini gets a literal handful of hay every 1-2 hours to keep his digestive system working and heating him from the inside, without him diving face deep into a buffet and getting sick.
 

AlpineSummit

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Yes, to pretty much everything that you said as I totally agree. Yeah, if a heater it will be while I'm there but first I'm going w/the insulation route. Been thinking about that much of the day as it's already dbl walled. A little spray foam, I mean a lot of spray foam and that will help a lot. Yes, shavings ala tractor supply and they're really deep in their best corner from the wind. It's open at the top of the walls so air moves up there to carry away perspiration. I don't think we'll get frost in there, which would be bad. The blankets we bought were too big, it was funny to see Pedro wearing it ;) So, next attempt will be much smaller but still pretty sweet blankets. Very warm, rain resistant. I like the idea of an occasional thin fleece underneath.
I was a bit amused today because as soon as it started to lightly rain they headed for the stall. Made me feel like they're pretty smart.

Thanks kindly for your helpful post :)
 

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