Advice on Donkey - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-20-2013, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Advice on Donkey

Hi all,
I just got my first Donkey this week. I'm reading everything I can about their behavior, how to train them, etc. We got her to be a guard for our pasture which has chickens and (soon) rabbits, and as a pet. She was raised around mostly goats but also chickens. She is about 9 months old.

I go out there twice a day and check on her and interact with her. The past few times she's been leaning on me, pushing me with her head, and won't leave my side for a second - making it really hard to feed/water the chickens. She seems to be trying to pin me between her and the truck. So far what I do is a very stern no and hold her head or neck so she cant push me. Half the time it stops her, the other half she just leans harder and I have to move. I tried a really firm pat on her chest too.

She also chases my truck when I leave (I think she kicked it today) and it takes forever to get her to come back in the inner gate.

1. How do I train her to:
A. Give me some space when I need to feed the other animals?
B. Stop chasing my truck?

2. Is the leaning/pushing aggression or affection? IE, is she lonely/sad/happy to see me, or angry at me?

3. Is this just an adjustment period of moving to our pasture and being away from her goats? If we got a goat (We want to get goats eventually anyway) would it make it better or worse? Better because she's used to goats, or worse because it's not HER goat?

Note: I spent several years training dogs professionally for pet owners, using clicker training, and have competed with my dogs in dog sports. I understand basic learning theory/behavior training. I know she's not a dog, and she's not a horse - I want to train her using kind gentle methods rather than keep yelling and pushing her which doesn't work well anyway, but I also don't want to use food because I don't want her to expect a treat from me all the time. I just don't know enough about her body language to interpret if she is lonely or angry, and this is the largest animal I've ever had so I'm a little nervous of messing up.

Here's a photo of her:

Thanks for any advice you can offer. I look forward to talking with other donkey owners - I have always loved them and am so excited to have my own now.
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-20-2013, 11:55 AM
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New gelded mini donkey bitting

I have two male gelded donkeys. We had two boer goats. Sold them and got a second mini donkey for our standard donkey, so he would have company. The little donkey is bitting the big donkey all around his head and neck area. How can I stop this behavior. I would like to keep both animals. Both are very sweet to us and our grand children.

The mini was used for children's birthday party's. He was saddled and kids rode him. He is 6 years old. Our standard is 3 years and is just spoiled. We have had the mini three weeks now
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-20-2013, 06:19 PM
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If she's pushing you around, you're going to have to get firm with her now or it will just get worse. Momma donk will put up with so much crap from her foal & then she will bite or kick back to tell them to knock it off. YOU are now Momma donk. A quick slap on the neck is not going to hurt her. A very loud "NO" will back up the idea. Mini or not, bad behavior is bad behavior. Horses try to go away from pressure. A donkey will push back. Pushing her will not help, you have to let her know you mean business.

In donkey play, biting on the neck is common. It looks horrible, but it's just what they do. The older donk is probably just putting up with baby & will tell her when enough is enough.

Get "The Donkey Companion" by Sue Weaver. It's been my "go to" book for donkeys.
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-20-2013, 10:01 PM Thread Starter
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So you're saying smack on the neck and loud no is a good way to handle it?

This evening she was much better, but my husband was also over there. She didn't chase his truck just mine.

She did lean into me once and I told her off and then she did better.
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-20-2013, 11:10 PM
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That's the way I handled it. They seem to go through a "bratty" stage about 9 months to a year.

Cowgirl up!
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-20-2013, 11:30 PM
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Donkeys are really smart and really love attention. They'll get your attention no matter what they have to do, so you need to instil limits right from the get go.

I hope you keep a close eye on your donkey's weight; they are supposed to be very, very slim. Many people think they are too skinny when they are actually at an ideal weight. With all that wonderful green in the field for him, you could end up with an overweight and sick donkey easily.
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-21-2013, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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She seemed much better this afternoon, she still chased my car but then went back in on her own.

I will definitely watch her weight. As we got her to gaurd the pasture I don't want to pen her up somewhere in it, that seems like it would defeat the purpose. :/
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-25-2013, 08:29 PM
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If she gets overweight you can just put a grazing muzzle on her rather than pen her up away from the grass :)

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post #9 of 12 Old 06-25-2013, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by littrella View Post
In donkey play, biting on the neck is common. It looks horrible, but it's just what they do.
Funny you say this- my 2 yr old mini donk is very attached to my gelding. He bites my geldings neck, legs, etc and my gelding returns it back. It's quite hilarious seeing my midget donkey and my 15h gelding play.
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-25-2013, 10:38 PM
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I have a mini jack that is gelded and a jenny who just gave birth and I mean Friday to a baby jenny....appall comments above are really good...also know that donkeys tolerate pain much better than horses so if they ever seem sick then they are really sick...they also like to eat anything in dry lot and pasture is near a road and if a bag flies in they will eat it and then colic so be careful of that as well....mine HATE any type of fly spray but they take dirt baths for fly prevention which means they will dig a dirt spot somewhere and always roll in it so don't expect to groom them like a horse they like to stay dusty and dirty....mine mostly stay in a very shaded dry lot so they wear their hooves down enough to never need trimming...I do pick them out periodically....when I got mine they were wild as bucks so I had to teach them to be haltered and leed and tied while standing.....they do need regular worming and shots....they do not learn about pressure the way a horse teach them to lead you need to use a lead line around there butt to apply pressure to the butt for them to will notice how different they are than horses when it comes to training....they are also VERY strong for their size. They also do not really require any grain unless not feed them alfalfa either.....for weight, keep,and eye on fat roll on the neck and/or top sides as that cannot be lost once they get it...they also love to chew on wood and trees.....mine are like dogs and love to be scratched especially....we bought 2 fainting goats to be with them and that did not work out at all....they tried to kill them and they were within 10 seconds of being successful until we were able to barely stop them.......keep that in mind....they will kill dogs and cats.....all depends on upbringing....hope that helps you....
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