Donkey grooming is so easy compared to grooming a horse. There are occasions where donkeys need some extra grooming attention. Like for shows and competitions. But also for unfortunate incidents when donkeys get into a patch of cockleburs! I also use grooming as a good way to bond and build trust with my donkeys.
I’m a licensed skincare therapist (Esthetician is the official title of my license), for people, not donkeys. But my education helps me to better understand ph and effects on the skin. I also have a certificate in Aromatherapy and Herbs for animals and I’m a family herbalist. These things all help me develop natural toxin-free products for my donkeys.
The first product I made was a Fly repellent salve. It works a thousand times better than the chemical stuff so from there I happily expanded. I’ve been extremely pleased with the results and I think my donkeys have too!
They seem to be offended and reject chemical fragrances, but they love to take in the smell of the herbal and essential oil-based products I make them.
The Ultimate Test For my Equine Coat Conditioner and Detangler
Last year I made a conditioner and detangler serum. It’s amazing if I do say so myself, but this year it was truly put to the test when my donkeys and a mini horse got into a patch of cockle burrs! I was devastated when they came home with manes and tails so full of burrs I couldn’t touch them without getting stuck. They weren’t just in their manes and tails either. No, my poor babies had them all in their big fluffy winter coats too. Donkeys get such thick winter coats and this would be donkey grooming extreme because they were covered.
We do get cockle burrs in our pastures and woods every winter but I’ve never had my equine get into them like this!
I felt like crying…
Broke my heart to see them all covered in the hideous stickers! But now my conditioner/detangler would be put the ultimate test for sure.
The Ingredients for the Equine Conditioner and Detangler
I knew I wanted to use ingredients that contained some hair growth simulates and if they had insect repelling qualities that would be a huge plus. So I knew right away neem oil and Rosemary essential oil were going to be part of this product. Both these oils have those benefits.
Lots of people feed Flax Seed oil to equine for its great benefits but with so many properties being absorbed easily through the skin (another reason to avoid chemicals) flaxseed oil is a great choice for donkey grooming products. High in Omega-3 fatty acid and a good source of vitamin E you can’t go wrong with it.
Castor oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties make it beneficial against skin infections and its Ricinoleic acid content helps increase circulation and improve hair growth. It is high in vitamin E, minerals, proteins, and omega-6 and -9 beneficial fatty acids that keep mane and tail moisturized and soft!
Essential Oils for Donkey Grooming
Lavender essential oil was added for its calming benefits to donkeys (and people) because detangling can be annoying both to donkeys and humans. I thought the added aromatherapy effects of lavender would be beneficial. It is. I swear if I’m wearing lavender the donkeys lean into me and inhale! Lavender oil has many many benefits.
Rosemary Essential Oil was added because it increases circulation and promotes hair growth. It’s great for over all skin and coat conditioning.
Essential Oils for Donkeys Book!
I have an ebook on starting your own basic essential oils care kit for donkeys. Includes formulas, safety, dilution chart and an extended list of oils safe for donkeys. Click the picture and check it out!
And finally, I added something really special. Sunflower seed oil infused with dried chamomile flowers. The sunflower oil is light and very high in Vitamin E. Which is very good for skin and hair (mane, tail, skin, coat!) But the properties of the Chamomile infused to make it a superstar ingredient.
Chamomile is a great choice because it is a Strong Anti-inflammatory, great for sensitive. Anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, antioxidant. Excellent healing abilities to help heal minor skin wounds so if your donkey has insect bites at the case of the tail or in the mane its very helpful. It helps block out irritants by eliminating free radicals. It helps restore natural moisture content. And This benefit is important, Chamomile helps Increase the penetration and effectiveness of other ingredients! Yes!
*If you want something quick you can simply use plain sunflower seed oil! I highly recommend you try an infusion in the future though. They are amazing!
Quick Note: How to make Infusions
If you don’t know how It’s super easy to make infusions. I typically make all my infusions on sunny days. I add I cup of dried herbs to a quart jar and 3 cups of the chosen oil. Let sit for a week in the sun and strain out. Its crazy good stuff. If it is not sunny or you need an infusion asap you can make it in a tiny crock pot. Let set on high for 4 hours and strain. Ready to use!
So you know why I used the ingredients I used, and now here’s my formula.
My Homemade Equine Conditioner and Detangler
I use a simple kitchen scale to measure out my oils. A good essential oil will give you results. A weak one will leave you disappointed. Make sure to buy quality oils and herbs always. I use a simple dark colored bottle lotion bottle to put my conditioner in.
2.5 Oz. Castor Oil
1 Oz. Chamomile Sunflower Infused Oil
.50 Oz. Neem Oil
1.5 Oz. Flaxseed oil
1 Tsp, Lavender essential oil
1 Tsp. Rosemary Essential Oil
Place all in a pump top bottle (or whatever bottle you choose) with a funnel. Close and shake. It’s ready to use.
Now, To get those Burrs out with ease
Surprisingly, I had absolutely no issue getting all those mass burs out of the donkey’s mane, tail or coat. In fact, they were patient and enjoyed the grooming sessions. I didn’t hurt them at all. And I didn’t have to shave anyone’s mane or tail tuft off. Everything came out easily.
The Donkey grooming was easy but even the mini horse wasn’t that difficult to remove the burrs from with this! He’s young and lacks patience sometimes, but he stood like an angel. Probably inhaling those essentials!
I pumped some of the conditioner out and patted it into their tail and mane. I did the same over the body. Simply patting the oils into where the burrs were. Let it set a moment. Then got my de-bur brush like this one Burr Out Brush and started from the bottom working up. They all easily slid out without damage or discomfort.
Back to beautiful!
For more formulas using natural essential oils and herbs, you can check out Donkey Care [Calming a Stressed Donkey]
Natural Donkey Care Know How!
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