Donkey owners--need opinions, please
 
 

       The Horse Forum > Keeping and Caring for Horses > Horse Talk

Donkey owners--need opinions, please

This is a discussion on Donkey owners--need opinions, please within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Opinions on donkeys
  • Opinions about donkeys

Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By smrobs

 
LinkBack Thread Tools
    01-23-2012, 04:31 PM
  #1
Trained
Donkey owners--need opinions, please

DH (yet unpublished) has written close to 40 American 19th century history novels, and he wants a character to go west from MO to the CO goldfields during the 1850's, leading a pack donkey. We've never owned them, so my input is...sparse. Let me know your opinions about the following:
1) at what age is a donkey mature?
2) how do you train one to carry a pack?
3) how much weight can they carry? (We're retired CW reenactors, so we know what the character would pack and the weights for such, but you can comment on that, too.)
Donkeys (and mules) have a legendary reputation for being stubburn. Is this true? I've read that they take longer to train, but retain their training longer--whatever THAT means!!!=b Is this true, and why?...false? ...anybody switch from horses to mules/donkeys? Why?
DH is considering having his character lead a jenny and her foal. Good idea?...bad idea? Why?
ANY input about your donkeys will be appreciated!! Love-fests over your donkey(s) welcome on this thread.
Thanks, in advance bc MY next equine will be an Arab!!
     
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
    01-23-2012, 04:57 PM
  #2
Showing
I don't have any experience with donkeys in general, but I do have fairly extensive experience with mules as driven animals. They mature at about the same rate as horses, though back in those days, people didn't concern themselves much with when the animal was actually mature. When they looked grown, they were treated as mature animals and were generally expected to work on the same level as the adult. That generally happened around the age of 2-3.

The amount of dead weight that a donkey can carry is more than that of a horse, though, of course, it depends on the weight of the donkey. Supposedly, they can carry 30-35% of their weight in dead weight (though I've never packed with an animal so this is hearsay).

As for the stubborn streak of donkeys...LOL. It's not that they are stubborn, they are just exponentially smarter than a horse and they have to be trained differently. You cannot man-handle them the way you can a horse without ruining their attitude. You have to give them a good reason to do what you ask and "because I said so" is not good enough for them. I have always preferred horses because I don't understand how mules/donkeys think and they frustrate me easily LOL. However, once you get them broke and they trust you, they are incredibly willing and trustworthy. They don't panic and react immediately the way horses do, they think things through first.

Their training, if done correctly, doesn't take any longer than it does with a horse (though sometimes it is much faster). They also retain it very well. My Dad broke a team of driven mules when they were about 2 years old. After they were sent back to the owner, he sold them to someone who didn't know how to handle mules and he ended up having some very serious issues with them running off and generally being unsafe to drive. He ended up sending him back to my Dad and it took only part of one session for them to remember and revert back to the training that they had originally received.

There is a good reason that a good saddle mule is worth anywhere from 50-100% more than a horse with comparable training/temperament .
ButtInTheDirt likes this.
     
    01-23-2012, 05:11 PM
  #3
Super Moderator
Not an expert by any means, but I know why they are called stubborn. Donkeys don't think like horses whatsoever... or any other livestock for that matter. Their sense of self preservation is very strong and they think things through carefully.
Most donkeys have their own ideas about what is worthwhile and what is not. They generally don't think our human ideas are good ideas, and unlike a horse they are not easily convinced otherwise.

Being told "Because I told you to do it, that's why" doen't work like it does with most horses and doesn't make sense because they don't desire to please their humans. Donkeys also need to know that you care about them first and foremost and want to be their friend. They are sceptics through and through and once they understand that you can be trusted member of the family, then you can "train" a donkey by getting it to think it (whatever you want it to do) is his/her idea.
Some are food motivated, like my Rosie who is a regular donkey, and some are smart enough to see through the ruse, like my Chico who is a BLM burro. I have different approaches for each one.
So far I haven't had to train them to do anything. They were older when I got them and already trained, but I do have to reasure them that I am their trusted family member and friend, especially Chico. He was not treated well as a young burro by his first owner. It has been over 10 years since that owner, but he remembers well and I'm getting the cold shoulder treatment because of the farrier visit (who is very gentle with him) from over a week ago.

Sorry I can't be of more help with your other questions. Hopefully other donkey owners will chime in.
     
    01-23-2012, 05:28 PM
  #4
Super Moderator
I looked through some of my bookmarks and found that I have some that talk about donkeys, mules, training them and how they think. These might be helpful so if you are interested PM me and I'll send them to you.
     
    01-27-2012, 02:27 PM
  #5
Trained
Anybody else? I'd still like opinions, pictures, comments... =D
     

Quick Reply
Please help keep the Horse Forum enjoyable by reporting rude posts.
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Got our donkey gelded! Britt Horse Health 0 03-30-2011 11:05 AM
donkey,s and horses jimmy Horse Talk 2 12-04-2009 01:13 PM
calling all Percheron owners or even draft owners! Starlight Draft Horses 17 08-25-2009 03:48 PM
Donkey Basketball saddleEMupCOWGURL Horse Talk 2 01-13-2009 09:21 PM
OK, any Donkey people out there? QuantrillRaider Horse Breeds 1 08-04-2008 07:26 PM



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.0