All care for the donkeys is provided by volunteer donkey handlers. Perry and Jenny are visited by donkey handlers in the morning and evening for feeding and manure clean-up. Donkey handlers also walk them along the Barron Park paths during the week with a leisurely stroll through Bol Park on Sundays from 10am to 11am. As a volunteer donkey handler, it is most rewarding to be able to care for these gentle beings as you step away from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley life and enter into Palo Alto’s pastoral past.
Volunteer handlers are in charge of keeping the donkeys well-fed, clean, in-shape, and safe. In addition to feeding and walking, donkey handlers perform a host of other duties such as brushing, health checks, and general pasture maintenance. Any health concerns are followed closely and referred to the vet as needed.
Feeding – The donkeys are fed pressed grass pellets twice a day. After meals, they may lick the mineral/salt block in the middle food trough. They are fed a balanced and nutritious diet based on their veterinarian’s recommendation to maintain a healthy weight. *Note that this is especially difficult as Perry loves nothing more than to eat!
It is important for visitors to refrain from feeding the donkeys, as their diet is easily disrupted by random treats. This includes carrots, apples, and even grass. Donkeys have very efficient digestion, meaning any highly nutritious foods could potentially cause them to gain weight in excess. Eating improper foods -or too much food- may result in colic which is an extremely painful condition. In addition, Perry is missing teeth and cannot fully chew his food, so large amounts or big chunks can cause choke (blocking the esophagus) which is also potentially quite dangerous.
Respecting the way they are fed will ensure that the donkeys stay as healthy as possible!
Walking – A harness and a lead (like a leash) are attached to each donkey in the pasture before the walks in order to keep the donkeys from strolling away. With lead in hand, two handlers and two donkeys exit the gate, and make their way across Bol Park, grazing on any vegetation they can find. Park visitors are free to admire the grazing donkeys as they traverse the bike path. The donkey’s walks provide them with exercise, food, and play.
Manure – Another very important component of donkey care is “poop patrol.” Cleaning up manure around the pasture is essential for the well-being of the donkeys. Flies are drawn to the donkey dung, in which they lay their eggs. In an effort to prevent flies’ breeding, the manure is disposed of away from the donkeys where it is dried and composted.
Interested in becoming a Donkey Handler?
Please send a message to: firstname.lastname@example.org