Advice For The New Miniature Donkey Owner
Miniature Donkeys require access to pasture for grazing and exercise. The must always have access to shelter from the rain, snow, wind, hot sun and flies. Donkeys don’t mind the cold as long as they have shelter, warm bidding and are fed properly.
Donkeys need good quality hay in the winter and access to a salt lick. Young stock, Nursing and pregnant Jennies will benefit from a concentrate supplement. Miniature Donkeys are Herd animals and to avoid undue stress it is essential that they not be kept singly but with another Miniature Donkey or other equine as a lifelong friend. Remember, Donkeys by nature are stoic and laid back and it is not always obvious that they are ill. If your Donkey is not eating contact your Vet immediately. Scours/diarrhea can be fatal for foals if left untreated.
Are you considering Miniature Donkeys? Or have you just purchased your first pair? There are a number of things you need to know to be sure you and your new equine will get off to a good start.
The first thing you will need is adequate housing and a place for them to be turned out for exercise. The housing should provide protection from rain, snow or sun and be free of drafts. Heat is not necessary, but a tight building is important, especially for those who live in cold climates. A small barn or outbuilding will do nicely depending on the part of the country you live in. In cold climates you might want something more substantial. The flooring should be appropriate to drain or absorb urine and be easy to clean or “muck out”. Stall mats or bedding (straw or sawdust) work well although straw is a better choice for the foaling stall. The Donkeys will need access to fresh, clean water year round (an automatic waterer or a tank heater in cold climates is a real time saver). You will also need a hayrack, mineral and plain salt blocks and a feed tub. Check the stall and paddock area carefully to make sure there are no sharp edges or places an animal can get caught or injured. Ideally you should have a stall or barn with access to a paddock or pasture which will allow your Donkeys to come and go if the weather turns bad and you are not available. This is the best situation for the Donkeys and the least labor intensive for you.
If you have purchased your Donkeys from an experienced, reputable breeder no doubt they have given you information to get you started. You have probably gathered that a Donkey, as a herd animal, needs a companion and the best companion is another Donkey. Even if you purchased your Miniature Donkey as a companion to a horse, what happens when the horse goes off to be ridden? Usually the horse doesn’t want to leave his Donkey friend and the Donkey is very uhhappy to have his companion go without him so a pair of Donkeys makes good sense. A single Miniature Donkey will be lonely without a companion often braying and pacing when alone. Sheep and/or goats are not appropriate companions for a single Donkey since one-on-one Donkey/small livestock play could turn rough. The equation may change if you have two Miniature Donkeys coexisting with smaller livestock. tadual introductions will let everyone get to know one another and ease transition times.
You will also need to properly introduce dogs as well as other family pets when you bring your new Donkeys home. Donkeys tend to have a natural suspicion of dogs (as predators), but with time will get to know family members. Be sure your dogs are not chasing after the Donkeys.