non equine companions - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 22 Old 04-12-2019, 09:07 PM
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I personally find them easier - their hooves are much less physical labour to trim, and I trim all the hooves around here. After trimming a horse, trimming a donkey is like trimming little doll hooves!

The way we run our animals, the donkeys cost us next to nothing. They free range and feed themselves, on a mixed pasture with plenty of rough, coarse materials in it (super important for donkeys). I throw them weeds from the vegetable garden when I have them (they love thistles etc), and they are fans of the tree fodder (Acacia and tagasaste) we grow to supplement our animals in the summer drought and when pasture is slow in the cold mid-winter. Our only expense with them really is a small daily feed of chaff with a handful of pony cubes and a scoop of vitamin/mineral mix, to balance out the mineral poverty of Australian soils, plus worming and a lick block (salt and minerals). Also, grazing muzzles for two of our five donkeys, who don't know when to stop eating during spring flush. Stockholm tar for their feet once weekly when the pasture is wet.

The horses get more of everything, so are more expensive to keep - although ours still aren't very expensive. If you have to feed hay, feed coarse hay and also some straw to donkeys, for roughage. Straw isn't expensive. As with horses, feed them nothing mouldy, and avoid sugary stuff. Carrots and apples are OK treats.

I'd say a donkey is less than half the feed cost of a horse - largely because of the size difference, but also because donkeys are ultra efficient with their metabolisms! They're very smart and don't get themselves in pickles nearly as much as horses do, because they think, rather than run. And, they will probably replace a lot of psychological therapy for some people, as they are not just very social, but also very Zen and very, very funny!

They're sort of part horse, part Easter bunny, part teddy bear - and at the same time, 100% donkey!
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post #12 of 22 Old 04-12-2019, 11:45 PM
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As a PS, I just pulled out some photos for another post, that you may like.



Our two "new" donkeys love horses, and always come to greet us when we come in from a trail!







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post #13 of 22 Old 04-13-2019, 03:06 AM
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@SueC Love the photos. I like the idea of having an easy keeper and something smaller than a horse but not so small that I have to worry about it. Lulu seems to love the sassy miniature horse at the barn but I have read that miniature horses are not always safe with a full size horse. How did you get your donkeys? And do you do anything with them? Or are they just adorable creatures that keep company with your horses. :)
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post #14 of 22 Old 04-13-2019, 03:52 AM
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Our three biggest donkeys are large enough for the horses to think of them as "real". The other two seem to be thought of as "sheep" or "juveniles". I wouldn't think miniature horses or miniature donkeys would be great company for normal-sized horses - and our two smaller donkeys aren't miniatures, they're just small donkeys...

The initial group of three, I'd let the Donkey Society know that we were available to adopt a couple of neglected donkeys / donkeys in need of aid. (I'm pretty much the ideal adopter as I've got lifetime equine experience, I free-range my equines, trim their feet myself, plus I have a degree in the natural sciences, so full bottle on anatomy, physiology, animal management etc.) They called half a year later and said, "We've a group of three that need a long-term home, and need to stay together. One is blind, the other two need long-term obesity management. Want to give it a shot?" Their owner had health problems and was moving off her property. We said yes, and we never regretted it.

Late last year, we had a call from a friend of a friend who was having to sell their property and asked, "Would you give a good long-term home to our two donkeys?" We went and looked and were smitten. That's how it goes. These two are great donkeys, very horse friendly, there's mutual besottedness etc in all directions - horse-donkey, donkey-horse, human-donkey, donkey-human, human-horse, horse-human...

This last pair is apparently trained as children's steeds. They always come and sniff the saddle and bridle when I tack up my horse to ride, but there aren't any riding children around here! So they often tag along riding, when I stay on the property. Or tag along walking. But, I'm the only rider here, and have enough trouble riding my riding horse the four times a week I'd like when nothing else drastic requires my attention - and the next saddle training I will do is on Julian, who's 18 and the most recently adopted OTSTB here. He wants to work, and of course I was his co-trainer for his harness education, many moons ago...

Here's some clips I found of donkey/horse companionship at our place:





The three younger horses are hanging out under a huge Marri tree, and the "new" donkey Nelly is enjoying the sun, standing in the sandy surface of an old cattle camp - before we bought this place, this is where cattle congregated en masse to rest, in the soft sandy patch in the shelter of the trees at the edge of the bushland. Benjamin is under one of the tree branches scratching his back on the 'backscratcher branch" all the livestock love. You can see the effective camouflage afforded by his true dun coat - it's quite hard to spot him. He's between Nelly and Sunsmart (leftmost horse).

This is another quick view of the five critters:

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post #15 of 22 Old 04-13-2019, 08:54 AM
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In Nevada there are a zillion feral donkeys and I am sure you can find a BLM donkey for next to nothing. Here in New England where it is wet all the time it isn't frozen, donkeys usually have to wear grazing muzzles if they are on pasture, in order not to founder. Where you live is an ideal donkey climate.
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post #16 of 22 Old 04-14-2019, 01:21 AM
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I went to a BLM wild mustang/donkey auction once and the bid for donkeys started at only $25. Most of them didn't even get bid on so yes, you could get them for a great price. The horses started at $125 and mostly just the pretty colored ones sold so they are cheap as well.
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post #17 of 22 Old 04-14-2019, 01:46 AM
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So, silly question, do people ride donkeys? My daughter and I are only about 5'3" and 115 lbs. If I did get a donkey and it couldn't be ridden that woldn't be an issue. A companion for my horse is the first priority.
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post #18 of 22 Old 04-14-2019, 02:02 AM
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Yes! People ride donkeys--



So do cats apparently--
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post #19 of 22 Old 04-14-2019, 07:27 AM
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Oh my gosh, that reminds me of a farm I worked on which had a pair of donkeys, and my friend and I would race them! Whoever didn't fall off first won. All they have to do is stop and you slide right over their non-existent withers. The races were always really short.

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post #20 of 22 Old 04-19-2019, 12:16 AM
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@pasomountain Cute photos!



I was at the barn today and the trainer really feels Lulu needs a friend when she comes home. I think miniature horses are very cute but have been told so many negative things about them, health wise, that I don't think I want one. I really don't want a goat.


So I am thinking a donkey might be the best choice. I need to go meet a few.
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