DONKEY CARE

Miniature Donkey Care Tips

This page provides the basics of Miniature Donkey Care, donkey health care and welfare tips. If you have any questions, use the contact form.

Feed and Nutrition

A Miniature Donkey requires a good quality hay and should have free access to fresh clean water, loose trace minerals, and loose salt at all times. A low quality molasses grain should also be part of their diet. The amount you feed depends on the age and condition of the miniature donkey. A Selenium supplement may be needed if the soil in your area is selenium deficient. Check with your Agriculture Extension Agent or Veterinarian.

Shelter

donkey-care

Provide your Miniature Donkey with free access to and from as pasture with a minimum of a three sided shelter. you must keep your Miniature Donkey sheltered from the cold, wind, rain, hot sun and flies. A good dry bedding such as wood shavings or straw should be used at all times and especially to keep your donkey warm in the months. Manure should be removed from all stalls or shelters daily.

Hoof Care

A farrier plays a very important role in your Miniature Donkey’s welfare. The farrier trims and takes care of a donkeys feet. Your farrier should visit your farm every 8 weeks to check all the donkeys and trim or file as needed. You should check your donkeys feet for chips and cracks as well as signs of Thrush on a regular basis. Thrust is a anaerobic bacterial infection that is easy to diagnose, treat, and prevent by providing your donkeys with a clean dry environment.

Worming

Your Miniature Donkey should be on parasite control program that consists of regular dewormings (every eight weeks), pasture management, and removing manure from stalls daily will help to reduce or prevent most parasite problems.

Vaccines

While Miniature Donkeys are very hardy, healthy animals, they do require annual preventive vaccinations from Eastern Western Encephalomyelitis, Tetanus, Rhinopneumonitis and Influenza. It is illegal for a Miniature Donkey to cross a state line without a negative Coggins test and health papers.

Breeding Age for Jennets

Miniature Donkeys jennets should not be bred until they are mature at 3 years of age.

Gestation

The average gestation time is 11 months, 3 weeks and 5 days – but jennets can carry a foal from 11 1/2 to 13 months. Any foal born before 11 months is considered premature.

Weaning

Miniature Donkey foals are normally weaned between 4 to 6 months of age. A foal should never be weaned from its mother under the age of 4 months unless there are circumstances that might affect the health of either the foal or the mother. Foals under the age of 4 months need their mothers milk as well as their mothers emotional support and herd socialization.

Social Habits

Miniature Donkeys are very social animals and they need attention. If you have a single Miniature Donkey, you should always have another companion such as a pony, horse, or mule. Often times Miniature Donkeys “buddy up” and develop close relationships with another Miniature Donkey.

Donkey Care Vaccinations

Vaccination considerations for my donkey
Judy Marteniuk, DVM
Michigan State University

When designing a vaccination schedule for your farm, it is important to take in to account some important issues. First, what diseases are prevalent in your area of the country? If the disease is not prevalent, you may not need to vaccinate. It is not only an issue of cost, but also potential side effects of the vaccine or injection. Remember that every medication has potential side effects! Never use a product unless the benefits outweigh the risks of an adverse reaction! Also, consider the severity of the disease: is it fatal or does it just limit the use of the donkey for a period of time, such as Strangles? Most of our donkeys are more of a companion to us or other equids and “down-time” is not as critical as it would be for a racing individual. Another concern is the disease a problem – year round or seasonal? If the disease is seasonal, how long is the immunity provided by the vaccine? This will determine the optimum time of year to vaccinate, thus providing maximal protection during the high-risk times of the year. Eastern and Western Encephalomyelitis (EEE and WEE) are good examples of a seasonal disease with a vaccine that doesn’t provide good protection for a full year. There are certain vaccines that all equids require regardless of where you live in N. America. EEE, WEE, WNV (West Nile Encephalomyelitis), and Tetanus are the ones that kill and occur regardless of where you equid lives. Rabies is another disease that may be on the definitely do list in certain parts of the country. A final consideration is economics. If the vaccine is expensive, isn’t routinely fatal, has side effects, and my animal is at a low risk of contracting the disease, vaccination may not be warranted.

In general, an initial series of injections is required when dealing with an individual with no or unknown vaccination history. This could be a foal that is just starting its vaccinations or a recently purchased horse of unknown vaccination history. If the foal received adequate colostrums, foal vaccinations are usually started at about 5– 6 months of age; however, if the foal was a failure of passive transfer, vaccinations should start in the second to third month of life. Vaccinations of a horse of unknown status may be started immediately. A booster is required approximately one month after the initial injection. After the booster, a routine schedule is followed, depending upon the specific vaccine administered (see Table). Although a number of the vaccinations can be combined into one injection,the number of injections given may become excessive if many or all the above vaccinations are given to one horse. To minimize the discomfort and possibility of the horse experiencing a very severe reaction, the number of injections given at one time should be limited to two or three. If more injections need to be given, wait a week and administer the remaining injections.The majority of injections are given intramuscularly, however not all.

Read the directions for use carefully! To reduce the risk of an injection reaction, proper injection sites should be used. If you are administering injections to your equid, be familiar with these sites. The most commonly used sites are the neck, the butt (gluteal muscles), and the hindquarters (semi-membranosis / tendinosis). Never use the neck in a nursing foal! If the neck becomes sore, the foal may refuse to nurse. If you have questions about the proper techniques involved in giving intramuscular injections, consult your veterinarian.

There are several sources of vaccines (your veterinarian, feed or tack stores,catalogs, etc.), but the only vaccines supported by the manufacturers are those that are administered or supervised by your veterinarian. Therefore, both the design and source of your farm’s vaccination program should be determined thorough consultation with your veterinarian. Also, remember that vaccination is but one component of a complete health care program for your horse or farm. Vaccinating your horse for everything, but neglecting the deworming program, diet, or environment of the horse is counterproductive. Consult with your veterinarian to develop a complete program for your farm.