Many people like to own these adorable animals for their wonderful personalities and their fine pet and show qualities. There is, in our opinion no more adorable baby in the animal world than the little donkey with its long ears and long legs and sweet face and fuzzy coat. I am always getting asked by family and friends…What do you do with a donkey? What do you use them for? Usually, I ask them if they own a dog and then ask what they can do with their dog and why do they own it? But I decided to be nice and get some information together for everyone asking.
Sheep, Goat, Horse and Cow Protection Donkeys, usually a jennet, sometimes a gelding (jacks rarely work because they can be too aggressive with lambs) is introduced to the herd and undergoes a bonding stage. After it has bonded with the herd, it will protect them against canine predators (fox, coyote, and dogs) as it would one of its own. This is extremely beneficial in areas where the herds have many acres to graze. The advantage of the donkey over the guard dog is that they can eat the same food as the sheep so they don't have to be fed separately. The donkey will also bed down with the sheep at night. Given a strange sound it will voice a warning to the flock which alerts them to danger. Then the donkey will chase and often trample the predator. Miniature donkeys have been known to handle the coyotes, standard or larger minis are usually better for the min’s safety and mammoth donkeys are usually too slow.
Halter Breaking The standard size donkey is also very adept at halter breaking young calves (polled or dehorned) and yearling horses. The donkey wears a collar that is connected to the halter of the animal that is being taught to lead. The animals are then turned loose in an enclosure, always under supervision. Where the donkey wants to go, it will go. The colt or calf has no option but to follow. By allowing the donkey to perform the unpleasant task of lead training, the "trainee" doesn't associate people with this particular stressful situation. In fact, when you release the colt or calf from the donkey, they are usually very willing to follow you. Articles are available on this particular form of halter training from the American Donkey and Mule Society.
COMPANIONSHIP. The donkey is a wonderful companion to foals at weaning time. The donkey is allowed to run with the mare and foal prior to weaning, then kept with the foal when weaning takes place. The foal has calm, steadying influence from the donkey and looks to it for support. This calmness is transferred to the foal and the trauma of separation from the dam is reduced. As most donkeys readily come up to people this behavior is duplicated by the foal. Not only have you reduced foal stress, but you have instilled in the foal a friendly attitude toward people.
STABLE COMPANION. This is very similar to the foal companion, only in this case the donkey takes on the responsibility of another animal's well-being. Nervous horses have been known to calm down with a donkey companion as a stall or pasture mate. With horses recovering from surgery or injury or with nervous horses such as race or show horses, the donkey seems to have a calming effect. Almost as if the donkey is saying "It's O.K., we'll get through this together". The miniature is often used for this purpose since it does not take up much room in the stall of a race horse or injured horse.
HANDICAPPED RIDING PROGRAMS. The donkey has shown time and time again how wonderful it is with children and handicapped people. In many areas, especially England, the donkey is used extensively in riding and animal companion programs for the physically and mentally handicapped. Their small stature, slow and thoughtful nature and affectionate disposition make them ideal for this purpose when properly selected and trained. Both the person and the donkey know they are special together, and the bond that develops between the two is quite unexplainable.
BABY SITTER. The donkey naturally loves children. While there are a few exceptions, the donkey is not usually a biter or kicker. They have the patience of Job and therefore are ideally suited to being around children. For use around children, the handicapped and for most uses (except jacks kept for breeding) a jennet or gelding is the preferred animal. Our donkeys love our children, they know to be easier with the little people and they know to respect their space.
WORKING DONKEY. The donkey is used all over the world for an infinite variety of jobs. Here in this country, some common uses are recreational riding; recreational driving, both single and in teams; packing, many backpackers use a donkey (which they often call a burro), to carry the heavy load since the animals walk at about a human's foot pace and are such enjoyable companions on the trail; skidding or pulling things on the homestead such as firewood, trash, etc.; pulling a sledge, travois or wheeled cart to carry things for the small farm such as barb wire for fencing, trash, or anything that needs to be moved; the donkey can also carry such items on its back in panniers if that is more convenient than pulling it; showing, many adults and children enjoy showing their animals in the donkey and mule shows around the country; the different kinds of work your animal can do to help you are limited only by your imagination. As you may have read before in our other information, we trained and showed Johnny in the same week and there was not much to it. Our then 4 year old showed him and led him around the arena by herself. The more you can get your child to spend time with the donkey the more they want to please these little people.
MULE BREEDING. All sizes of donkeys are used to breed mules. Large mammoth jacks up to 16 hands in height are used to breed draft mules. Medium sized mammoth and large standard jacks are used to breed saddle and pack mules. Standard jacks are often used to breed miniature mules in the larger size ranges which are used in teams for pulling wagons and for children to ride and use. Miniature jacks are mated with miniature horse mares or Shetland ponies to produce very tiny mules for pets, single driving and just for fun.
Just to say you have a donkey. Do donkey lovers really need an excuse? We understand it like no one else does. If you already own a miniature donkey you know what I mean. I spoke to a friend who got 2 donkeys a month ago and she told me she finally understands why I have so many. Whether you want your donkey for hugs and kisses or for a child to ride or to guard or protect your herd, you won’t be disappointed.
When our jenny Brighty got so sick last summer I told my husband I never knew I could love a donkey so much until the moment I thought we were going to have to put her down. His reply was that he understood and said I would have put him down days ago…
Not true but you see what I mean, and even more than that, he was also worried about Miss Brighty. This comes from a man who wanted to raise cows and pigs for our freezer. This by the way is never happening.
As you can see on our Sold page, we have sold donkeys as companions to lonely horses, companions to weanlings, pets to love on, breeding and showing and many other reasons. I have also been told by many you can’t keep a donkey in a stall, if you have ever visited our farm you will see that these animals adapt to whatever you want them to do. They really want to please their owner. Ours were used to stalls within a week and when Brighty left for 3 weeks this summer to be bred, my friend said she would stand to herself at night at their barn as if she was waiting to go to her room, ok it is a stall. I am so glad we got into the miniature donkeys and if given the opportunity we would like to let you see what we mean. Most people getting rid of their entire herd and not holding one or two back for their selves are only doing so because of selling or shutting down the farm or not having the proper time to spend with them. There are very few who have just completely had bad experiences with the miniature donkey in general.
The miniature donkey is an easy keeper. They are cleaner and smarter than most horses. They are easy to train and do not require much. They do need love; please do not get a miniature donkey if you can’t spend the proper amount of time with them. As all animals they need us as much as we need them. You can not just get a donkey and leave it out in the field and expect it to take care of itself because they once used to live in the wild. They need worming just like all other animals do. They need their feet trimmed every 8 weeks and a 6 in 1 shot and rabies shot annually. If you can not afford shots and wormer and the small necessities you need to hold off until you can afford these things. They also need to have shelter of some sort for bad weather and resting.
We will buy back any donkey you are not satisfied with. If for any reason you are not happy with your donkey we will do what we can to help you or buy the donkey back. I’m not going to say 30 days because I do not want to put a limit on everyone’s particular circumstances. And if you have any questions I will be glad to answer where I can. Before or after your purchase or if you have a donkey question just drop me an email or give me a call and I will help where I can.
About Miniature Donkeys
Miniature donkeys are native to the Mediterranean Islands of Sicily and Sardinia,
and were imported to the United States in the 1920s. They are by nature
affectionate, intelligent, loving animals and become quite
attached to their herd mates and owners. Miniatures are "herd" animals and
therefore need to be kept in pairs or with a suitable companion. Gray-dun is the predominate color, but they can be found in black, brown, white, spotted and sorrel.
Life Span: 30 years average
Height: 36" maximum at the withers
Gestation:11.5 /13 months
Males: are called "jacks"
Females: are called "jennies or jennets"
Babies: are called "foals"
I worked on this information for some time and got most from the ADMS, if I have messed up on any information for your particular situation please let me know I do not claim to be an expert and still have alot of learning to do also.
Thanks for your interest and visiting our web site. We enjoyed having you.