Sample menu:

Macedonian Veterinary Review


p-ISSN 1409-7621
e-ISSN 1857-7415

Co-publishing with:
De Gruyter

Abstract / References

Original Scientific Article

Management practices and milk production in dairy donkey farms distributed over the Italian territory
Francesca Dai1, Giulia Segati1, Emanuela Dalla Costa1, Faith Burden2, Andrew Judge2, Michela Minero1
1Università degli Studi di Milano, Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, via Celoria 10 20133 Milano, Italy
2The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 0NU, UK

Limited information is available about the actual management characteristics of dairy donkeys in Southern Europe. The aim of the present study is to describe animal management of dairy donkey farms in Italy. Twelve farmers were asked to answer a questionnaire on the management of their animals and their farms distributed over the Italian territory. Six farms grouped their animals in paddocks according to the production characteristics (e.g. lactating, dry, stallions); three farms housed the stallions in single boxes. Most of the visited farms were family run and the number of animals cared for by a single person varied from five to 103 animals. All the farms but one performed mechanical milking with a modified goat milkmaid.Vaccinations were regularly performed only on two farms. All the foals received colostrum and suckled from their own mothers. Foals were nursed by their mother until 6-12 months old. During the separation period before milking, foals were usually (83%) housed in paddocks near their mothers with the possibility of visual and/or tactile contact, however such separations could be for up to 12 hours (17%). Even though the assessed sample was small, considerable differences were seen between farms, likely due to lack of uniform information available for the farmers. The adoption of scientific based procedures is suggested in order to improve both animal welfare and milk quality.
Key words: donkey, milk, animal welfare, farm management

Mac Vet Rev 2017; 40 (2): i-vi
[ PDF Free Article ] pdf Linija          
Available Online First: 6 April 2017

1. Salimei E., Fantuz F., Coppola R., Chiofalo B., Polidori P., Varisco G. (2004). Composition and characteristics of ass's milk. Anim Res. 53, 67–78.

2. Tafaro A., Magrone T., Jirillo F., Martemucci G., D'Alessandro A.G., Amati L., Jirillo E. (2007). Immunological properties of donkey's milk: its potential use in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Curr Pharm Des. 13, 3711–3717.

3. Monti G., Bertino E., Muratore M.C., Coscia A., Cresi F., Silvestro L., Fabris C., Fortunato D., Giuffrida M.G., Conti A. (2007). Efficacy of donkey's milk in treating highly problematic cow's milk allergic children: An in vivo and in vitro study. Pediatr allergy Immunol.18, 258–264.

4. Faye B. (2016) Food security and the role of local communities in non-cow milk production. In: E. Tsakalidou, K. Papadimitriou (Eds.), Non-bovine milk and milk products (pp. 1–13). Academic Press.

5. World Horse Welfare, Eurogroup for Animals (2015). Removing the blinkers: The health and welfare of european equidae in 2015.

6. Dai F., Segati G., Dalla Costa E., Burden F., Judge A., Minero M. (2016). Italian donkey milk farms: a snapshot of welfare conditions. In: S. Heat, S. McCulloch, D. Jacinto, G. da Graça Pereira (Eds.), European Congress Animal Welfare & Behaviour Medicine (p. 31). Cascais, Portugal: PsiAnimal.

7. Dai F., Dalla Costa E., Murray L.M.A., Canali E., Minero M. (2016) Welfare conditions of donkeys in Europe: initial outcomes from on-farm assessment. Animals 6 (5).


8. AWIN. (2015). AWIN welfare assessment protocol for donkeys. 10.13130/AWIN_DONKEYS_2015


9. Dai F., Dalla Costa E., Battini M., Barbieri S., Minero M., Mattiello S., Canali E. (2014). An innovative tool for on-farm data collection and information sharing. In: L. Mounier, I. Veissier (Eds.), Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Assessment of Animal Welfare at Farm and Group Level (p. 153). Wageningen Academic Publishers.

10. Salimei E. (2011). Animals that produce dairy foods: donkey. In: J. Fuquay, P. Fox, P. McSweeney (Eds), Encyclopedia of dairy science, Vol 1 (p. 365–373). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

11. Salimei E., Fantuz F., Varisco G., Maglieri C., Polidori M. (2005). Different fibre sources in dairy ass's diet: Effects on milk yield and composition. Ital J Anim Sci. 4 (SUPPL. 2): 430–432.

12. Burden F.A., Du Toit N., Hazell-Smith E., Trawford A.F. (2011). Hyperlipemia in a population of aged donkeys: description, prevalence, and potential risk factors. J Vet Intern Med. 25 (6):1420–1425.

13. Smith D., Wood S. (2008). Donkey nutrition. In: E.D. Svendsen, J. Duncan, D. Hadrill (Eds). The professional handbook of the donkey, 4th ed (pp. 10–27). Yatesbury, Wiltshire, UK: Whittet Books.

14. Murray L.M.A., Byrne K., D'Eath R.B. (2013). Pair-bonding and companion recognition in domestic donkeys, Equus asinus. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 143 (1): 67–74.

15. Whiteheads G., French J., Ikin P. (1991). Welfare and veterinary care of donkeys. In Pract. 13, 62–68.

16. D'Alessandro A.G., Martemucci G. (2007). Influence of milking number and frequency on milk production in Martina Franca breed asses. Ital J Anim Sci. 6 (SUPPL. 1): 643–645.

17. D'Alessandro A.G., De Petro R., Claps S., Pizzillo M., Martemucci G. (2009). Yield and quality of milk and udder health in Martina Franca ass: Effects of daily interval and time of machine milking. Ital J Anim Sci. 8 (SUPPL. 2): 697–699.

18. French J.M. (1998). Mother-offspring relationships in donkeys. Appl Anim Behav Sci. 60, 253–258.

19. Trawford A.F., Mulugeta G. (2008). Parasites. In: E.D. Svendsen, J. Duncan, D. Hadrill (Eds). The professional handbook of the donkey, 4th ed (pp. 82–110). Yatesbury, Wiltshire, UK: Whittet Books.

20. Svendsen E.D. (2009). The complete book of the donkey. Kenilworth Press.

21. Martin Curran M., Feseha G., Smith D. (2005). The impact of access to animal health services on donkey health and livelihoods in Ethiopia. Trop Anim Health Prod. 37 (SUPPL. 1): 47–65.

22. Dai F., Segati G., Dalla Costa E., Burden F., Judge A., Canali E., Minero M. (2017). Garantire il benessere nell'allevamento dell'asino per la produzione di latte: un'analisi della legislazione. Large Anim Rev. In press.

23. Dai F., Segati G., Burden F., Judge A., Minero M. (2016). Ensuring welfare of donkeys kept for milk production: a review of the legislation. In: S. Heat, S. McCulloch, D. Jacinto, G. da Graça Pereira (Eds). European Congress Animal Welfare & Behaviour Medicine (p. 105). Cascais, Portugal: PsiAnimal.

24. Giacometti F., Bardasi L., Merialdi G., Morbarigazzi M., Federici S., Piva S., Serraino A. (2016). Shelf life of donkey milk subjected to different treatment and storage conditions. J Dairy Sci. 99 (6): 4291–4299.

25. Sarno E., Santoro A.M.L., Di Palo R., Costanzo N. (2012). Microbiological quality of raw donkey milk from Campania region. Ital J Anim Sci. 11 (3): 266–269.

26. Altieri G., Di Renzo C.G., Genovese F. (2008). Preliminary results using a new method to optimize a spray dryer process for producing high quality milk powder from cow, goat and she-ass milk concentrates. J. of Ag. Eng. 4, 35-41.





cope This journal is a member of and subscribes to the principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics.
Creative Commons License
The all content of the Journal "Mac Vet Rev", except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.