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Questions about donkeys
Hello all! My husband and I are considering adopting a couple of donkeys for companion animals and to let them have a loving furever home. But first I need to research them a bit. So I have a few questions. I've was involved with a horse rescue group for a while, so I'm familiar with the basic care (pasture, shelter, grooming, hoof care...etc.) but not sure on some things.
1) Do they require a coggin's test like horses?
2) What kind of feed do they require and how much?
3) What kind of hay do they do best with?
4) Are the miniture donkeys 'escape artists (some on here say they are escape artists. lol)' due to being small enough to fit between the fence or are they just that crafty?
5) Is there a website that is devoted to only donkeys and their care that someone can refer me to?
Subbing because my husband (who still refuses to get on a horse) says he'd like us to have companion donkey(s) at our new place.....
Caring for donkeys is much the same as care for miniture horses. Donkeys were breed to live in desert conditions & sparce vegation. Too rich of pasture, alfalfa & grain can founder them quickly. My mini donkey does very well on grass hay & only gets a small scoop of grain during the winter.
My horse gets Purina Strategy, so my donk gets a very small scoop, just so he doesn't get jelouse. As for grass hay, no not lawn clippings, broame hay or prairie grass
I had donkeys on the farm as a youngster, but more recently I rescued two donkeys this past winter. The female is a small standard the lady was trying to pass off as a mini (she most definitely is not a mini) and the male is a standard size burro who was originally acquired through the BLM many years ago.
Feed wise they are easy to care for because as mentioned above they utilize what they eat very well. Mine survive just fine on plain grass hay and a mineral salt block. Too well in fact. If I did need to feed them any grains I would check into a low starch formula like SafeChoice or something made for minis or past foundered horses because they can founder easily.
I do treat them with a little bit of grass clippings, but only because I know exactly what is in my grass and that it is organic (has been for 6 years now) with no sprays or chemicals on it what-so-ever.
Temperament wise they do think differently than horses. Their sense of self preservation is very high and they are quite smart. They have minds like elephants, forget nothing, and are not easily convinced that humans are smarter than they are, therefore they should do what the silly humans are telling them to do.
Their reaction right off the bat is often.. “Why? What’s in it for me if I do what you are asking of me.”
But, once you gain their trust and friendship they are very loyal.
I think the tests they would require depend on where you live and where you plan to take them, if anywhere. A health certificate/brand inspection/whatever your state calls for should get you what you need to travel to your home. I would advise calling your local vet to inquire as they would know.
As for the escape artist reputation… I can see where minis are able to get out of typical horse fencing with no problems, but with their smarts I would think being able to open gates would be more of a concern. I have 5 foot no-climb fence (for all my critters) and have yet to have an escapee, beyond the brave small chicken who can fly.
Once you get to know donkeys, they are wonderful creatures and a joy to have around. Many of them make good livestock guards and are very alert. Mine will bray when there is something wrong, or when someone comes up the drive, which is helpful.
My BLM burro went through some rough stuff when he was younger and takes some extra thought in how I approach him with normal stuff, like the farrier, worming, and such but if you rub him with the curry he will stick to you like glue. I use the curry brush as a reward for tolerating things like being wiped with fly spray. He has now figured out the fly spray is a good thing, but it took me a little bit to find the right approach with him because of his mistrust of people in general.
Here are some websites I found very helpful…
Rosie and Chico-
Their coats are very differnet from horses. They absorb water & therefore in the winter, when it's snowing, they get wet all the way down to their skin. Wet & cold can make them sick very qickly. My horse & donk are kept together, stall door open to their turn out. Only closed them in durring the worst of snow storms. The donk very quickly figured out that he doesn't like to be wet & will stay in the stall while the horse stood out in it.
Yes, like littrella said, their coats are different. My burro has more hair that a wooly mammoth, but wet does bother him and Rosie had a nice winter coat as well, but when she got wet she would get cold.
Although my barn is open and airy and they have the abilty to go in and out of the barn at their leisure they did fine this past winter. I kept their area bedded up nicely with straw and shavings and when the weather was crummy I only put their hay in the barn.
2. Mine get unlimited pasture in summer plus grass hay in fall/winter. No grains at all. They get a small handful of alfalfa pellets soaked. Just enough to sprinkle a vitamin/mineral supplement onto but not enough for a real meal.
3. I would suggest plain grass hay, if you feed alfalfa I would be careful of the amount as for most donkeys unlimited alfalfa will lead to a very fat donkey.
4. One of mine is part mini we think (or else he is very stunted, he came from a very bad place) and he never gets out. Even if he sees a way out like when the step siblings leave a gate open he will not take it.
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