Several people wanted more information about the straw and why I wanted it. Donkeys need very high fiber, low energy feed to thrive. My hay, although cut deliberately late in the season so that it would be more mature, thus lower energy, higher fiber, is still a bit too rich for them. The Donkey Sanctuary actually feeds barley straw as the main feed source for their healthy donkeys. Of the three kinds of straw generally available, barley straw is lower in energy than oat straw and higher than wheat. When fed with a balanced mineral supplement it can fill the needs for most donkeys as long as their teeth are good. Whatever they don't eat, makes a nice bed for them so it is dual purpose.
For me however, straw is much harder to come by than hay and is exorbitantly expensive. Often, it is not available at any price so hay has to be the main diet for Emma and Ramsey. They do crave more roughage though. For this reason, the wheat straw may actually be the best choice for us as it is going to have to be a supplement to hay rather then a replacement for it. It's low energy will help balance the higher calorie hay and help satisfy their need for bulk. I am hoping that it works that way for Tessa also as she needs fewer calories, but more bulk as well.
I can always tell when the horses or donkeys need more roughage, generally in the Spring and Fall, because they start nibbling on the barn. The easiest way to stop or prevent wood chewing is to give them the roughage they need. That truism, at least, has never failed me in all of the years I have had horses.
It is also the digestion of roughage that generates body heat and helps keep them warm. Many people give their horses additional grain in the winter to help them "keep warm", but a heavy grain meal can actually rob them of heat instead. A nice meal of coarse hay or straw is what will keep them warmest.