Mini Donks as Horse Companions
So my quiet 15 yo standardbred mare needs a friend now that I've moved her home from the stable where I boarded her. She actually does fairly well by herself, although she gets a little antsy when the local coyotes howl sometimes at night. She was pretty much at the bottom of the mare herd pecking order where she was boarded. I'm not sure, but I don't think she really likes horse geldings because she was constantly giving her gelding neighbors the pinned-ears cranky face, lol.
Given our smaller acreage and the fact that my husband likes donkeys much better than ponies and regular minis, I was thinking a larger mini donkey might fit the bill for my girl. I found a local breeder who has a large selection of very friendly mini donks for sale.
I want to try my best to pick one out that she will get along with, so initially I thought I would get a jenny, but I'm finding that most of the jennys the breeder wants to sell are obviously for sale due to very senior age or major conformation problems. The geldings, on the other hand, are younger and more conformationally in line.
Does conformation really matter when picking out a non-working companion? And as far as pecking order between horses and donkeys, do you think it will make much of a difference to my mare whether I get a gelding or a jenny? Is there any other advantage to choosing one over the other? Anything else to look out for?
Confirmation isn't key, I would say picking a companion that your horse likes would be higher on the list. Though once they realize its just the two of them they will probably become fast friends. I would make sure they aren't to domineering. Also, is your mare the type that won't hesitate to throw a hoof? Being 1/4 size of the horse its easy for them to serious injure or kill a mini.
One thing I've noticed about the mini donks is that once they bond with each other is hard to get them to hang with anyone else. We have 4 donks and 3 mini horses. Each set of donks hang out alone, they don't even care if the other set is taken, then the minis hang out together a don't give a rats behind about the donks. Lol. It's like little gangs in there.
I'm not saying they wouldn't be friends, and company is company whether it's a goat or sheep, but I'd be careful bringing in a pair as they may be reluctant to bring in another member to there herd. Lol.
Other then that, go for it! They are cute and extremely smart! They need a extra training time, they certainly aren't the "ok, I'll do that!" Types but once you "get them", you got them! Also they are VERY strong and fun to drive if your interested. One will pull my sister and I (about 300lbs total) easily through the woods at the walk and trot! I have pics of them under my albums! :)
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My mare is not much of a kicker, even under stress. She never even tried to kick my bratty dog the couple times he's gotten loose and tried to chase her; She just freezes in place or avoids. I'm hoping a brave little friend will give her a little more confidence with scary things as well as good company. It would be neat if we could pony the mini donk on our short trail rides, too.
BTW, your minis are adorable! Driving sounds like so much fun. I think I could definitely get into that with a mini donk as well. :)
I bought a mini donk to keep my two horses company and kinda 'protect' my two from the bobcats, coyotes, etc. so far he's been here less then 2 weeks and he's fitting in well. I was a bit nervous because my gelding is very low on the totem pole and I didn't want him to get bullied, but the donkey and him are inseparable and the donkey actually protects him from my mare. He guards my gelding while he's eating his hay and if my mare tries to start any trouble he isnt afraid to go after her. Otherwise he's pretty quiet.
Well, we got a little girl, and she is a total love bug! But I am a little worried because my mare is keeping her away from the shelter and the hay box. I hung up some hay nets in different areas so the mini donk can still eat. Will my mare calm down and let her in the shelter eventually?
It's normal for them to behave like that. Give it a few weeks, then see. We have two horses who are GOOD buddies and he won't let him in the run in, ever. It's actually kinda of funny because he only let's him put his head in so sometimes it looks like a fjord body with a appy head. Lol
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my mare wouldnt let him in the run in either but they got over that.
Well, my mare is starting to let her in the doorway of the shelter, so that's a start at least. I was wanting to pull the event stall front off my Noble shelter to make it 3-sided, but maybe I should wait and see how it goes.
My mare seems a lot more relaxed. I see her lying down to nap a lot more often than before. And she walks over to make her presence known when my dogs start barking at the strange new critter in the paddock. ("Um, that's my donkey you're barking at.")
The donkey is such a little sweetie! She's not even phased by the barky dogs. She brays when she sees me and follows me around when I'm cleaning the paddock. We named her Margarita, or Maggie for short. :)
O.O Omg she is SOOOOO stinking cute!
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