Donkeys owners with empathy and compassion are leading by good example. In Dedza and Lilongwe, donkey owners are now busy making feed for their donkeys in readiness for the dry season. Crop residues which were traditionally burnt after harvesting are now being preserved as a nutritious feed for donkeys.
In Malawi during the rainy season there is plenty of grass for animals to graze. Thereafter comes a dry season, a period of scarcity and hardships for animals with little or no green grass to feed on. It is this season that animals who rely most on grass for survival, suffer the most. During this lean dry season, donkeys move long distances searching for food.
Last year, Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (LSPCA) together with government assistant veterinary officers (with support from Donkey Sanctuary-UK) trained lead farmers and donkey owners from Lilongwe and Dedza in making fodder bales for their donkeys. This year we visited to see the actions following the training.
Fodder bales are made from crop residues; maize stalks, maize cobs, and groundnut leaves. Making fodder bales is very simple, it only requires a few people and uses simple household materials like a panga knife for shortening the stalks.
Availability of food for donkeys ensures that donkeys are productive and healthy, a win -win for both the animal and the keeper.
Mr. Michael Banda, commends LSPCA for teaching him about preserving crop residues, saying that his donkeys will now have enough food to stay healthy and well fed through the dry season.