To Donkey or Not to Donkey?
I all, I have a 13hh pony mare who shares a paddock with a couple of sheep and cows. She was usually with other horses before we got her 4 months ago.
Now a friend has offered me a free donkey as a companion. Hes pretty old, and not handled much in the last few years. I haven't actually met the donkey yet.
Question is, do I take on the donkey?
I have no donkey experience, and only novice level horse knowlege. My pony has a tendency toward spookiness and is close to bottom in the pecking order in her "herd".
However this donkey is apparently lonely and needs a friend, and I have quite a large paddock (approx 5 acres maybe a bit bigger, with a Jenny Craig section fenced off for the pony when she gets too fat LOL)
Honest opinions, but please be nice :-) I'm a bit of a sucker for animals needing homes.
I would see how he behaves. If he is respectful and not too much for you to handle (you mentioned being a novice) then I would take him. Just know that he may come with heightened expenses in his old age.
Very sweet of you to consider taking on a lonely old guy :')
Will you be pasturing him with the sheep too? And has he ever been in with sheep before?
I think I'd take him in on a trail basis. That way, you can see how he'll behave with your herd (sheep included) and you can find out if you'll be able to handle him. If he was well trained at one time but just basically unhandled (not mistreated) for a while, then all that training should come right back. Donkeys and mules are way smarter than horses are and they never forget a single thing.
One good thing about keeping a donkey and pony together is that both tend to gain weight on air. If the fenced off area of pasture is good enough for the pony it's probably a paradise for the donkey.
I would meet the donkey first and handle him. How does he lead? How about foot care? How is he when he is free in the field? Donkeys can get pushy in a hurry so if he hasn't been handled in a while it will greatly depend on how well he was trained before. Also, make sure the donkey is gelded or forget it.
Thanks for the advice guys!
You're right, a lot depends on the donkey, and yeah if he's not gelded then its a deal breaker as our pony is a mare.
I'll find out some more and come back with more details in a few days, but I guess you're saying if he's respectful, gelded and had training at some point, he's a possibility ?
I have heard that donkeys are good companions for highly strung horses as their flight instinct is not as strong. Is that true or a load of hooey?
The flight instinct not being as strong is definitely true. Donkeys are generally fight before flight unlike horses. As to them being good companions, I think it depends on both the pony and the donkey. I've seen many pairs get along very well though.
Is he all boy still? I've seen a lot of jacks be aggressive to smaller livestock. I'd be a bit worried he would mess with your sheep if he hasn't been pastured and proven. You are to be commended on wanting to help this guy, just be wary he doesn't cause a whole mess of problems for you instead of making anything better.
Thanks for the comments.
I hope to find out more early next week.
Well, donkey, whose name is eeyore, it a lovely old guy. He is estimated to be 26years old! He's white, and pretty big for a donkey. He has been floated and can be lead on a halter. He is gelded.
Problem is my hubby and his parents, who live on the farm with us, are adamantly against me getting the donkey. :-(
So I'm asking around my horsey friends at the moment to see if someone can take him in.
He looks so sad...
The farrier did his feet last week as they were very overgrown, so when I saw him he was a bit tender footed still. I'm going to see if its okay for me to go see him a few times a week to check on him, brush him,give treats etc. while I try to rehome him.
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