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View Full Version : HELP!! my husband wants a mini-donkey!!!



mpsbarnmanager
Dec. 20, 2010, 12:58 PM
Neither of us knows ANYTHING about donkeys. My DH knows someone through work that is giving one away. I have no open stalls, either. Can he live outside? What do they eat? What vet/farrier care do they need? Are the friendly? Escape artists? Please teach me so we can make an educated decision! Aagghhh!! I really don't want it, but my DH REALLY does!!

Alagirl
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:02 PM
:lol:

I see you got a keeper!
(or did one of your horses contact Swami Rabbit and have her relate the need for a Mini Donk to you husband?)

I am glad you didn't come here trying to get reasons not to get one....:D we don't to that often, so we have no practice in that....

caffeinated
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:07 PM
I know nothing about mini donkeys either, except that you need one.

hehehehe :)

(that said, one came to the farm where I board for a little while, and while my horse LOVED her, a lot of the other horses were scared of her :( )

mellsmom
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:09 PM
I got a standard donkey to babysit my retired horse. he is my husband's donkey and all of a sudden he's helping out at the barn and volunteering to feed, etc.

My donkey is exceptional though...... :-)

Personal Champ
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:09 PM
Uh, yeah - that's how we ended up with our first mini donk - DH wanted one and I got him one for his birthday. :lol:

Mine live out 24/7 with run ins, with the horses. They get trimmed when I trim the horses, vaccinated when I vaccinate the horses, dewormed when I deworm the horses. Just smaller packages.

They eat what the horses do, low starch feed, but just a teeny tiny handful. They are easy keepers. I am lucky that mine get just about free choice hay with the horses and stay ok weight wise, but some need muzzling/drylotting. My guys move a lot and keep themselves at a good weight.

I have had 3 - one was naturally friendly, one a bastard and one just wary. All have come around. Food is a powerful motivator. The one that was a jerk is now a total doll.

They can be escape artists. Depends on the animal, just like the horses. I have mine fenced with 3 strands of HOT electrobraid. No problems so far.

They are really very cool little critters. Great for amusement, big personalities in little packages. You won't regret it. But you really should have 2. They are happier that way.

TBMaggie
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:11 PM
I personally don't know that much about mini-donks, but the barn I boarded at years ago had one. He was given to the BO, too - so that must be fairly common.:)

"Larry" was in love with one of the boarder's mares (was gelded) - and he'd go out all day with her, come into the barn at night and slept on some shavings in an improvised stall (end of the barn,blocked off door to the arena). He ate about a flake of hay, and a little handful of corn - and he stayed fat. Farrier trimmed him every now and again, vet vaccinated him. He loved carrots and scratches/brushing - but had been abused by kids in his previous life, so was pretty shy.

I always thought he was adorable. A very unassuming 'pet.' I wish I could get one...but I have the opposite problem. I want one, DH says NO!!

Alagirl
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:18 PM
They are really very cool little critters. Great for amusement, big personalities in little packages. You won't regret it. But you really should have 2. They are happier that way.

Now we are TALKING! :lol::lol::lol:

EqTrainer
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:18 PM
Just say no.

mpsbarnmanager
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:24 PM
:lol:

I see you got a keeper!
(or did one of your horses contact Swami Rabbit and have her relate the need for a Mini Donk to you husband?)

I am glad you didn't come here trying to get reasons not to get one....:D we don't to that often, so we have no practice in that....

Crap!! :lol: I kind of was looking for reasons NOT to get one...I DID ask swami rabbit some questions form my TB mare, but Swami has not gotten to me yet. Perhaps she has channelled my mare and this is whwat happened.

mpsbarnmanager
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:27 PM
Just say no.

I sense that there is a story there.... or maye I ave been reading too many Swami posts and she is rubbing off on me?? :lol:

amastrike
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:32 PM
I fail to see the problem here.

horsepoor
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:33 PM
I have a mini mule. She stays on the same schedule for farrier and vet stuff as my horses. She's barefoot, but trimming her costs the same as the big guys, and sometimes I think it should cost extra but I won't say that to my farrier! He has to get on his knees pretty much to trim her and it looks very uncomfortable to me. She has a history of founder, so have to be careful about what she eats -- she's in a dry lot most of the time with limited grass in the summer, and no grain except the little bit she steals from my retired horse. Very easy keeper -- needs very little hay.

She is entertaining. Steals the pan from my moose-like horse and loves to run around getting everyone else worked up. Hates dogs (I've heard this about mules, not sure about donkeys). Great companion for the retired horse, and eventually will be a buddy for my IR horse since they have similar needs (no grass, grain, etc.).

leilatigress
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:34 PM
Be careful with the mini donks. There are horses that do not like them and even horses like mine who will try to kill them. Pal mare had a complicated horrible past. Humans loved her but other equines and animals were not her favorite. Not all horses like mini horses either so just be careful.

mpsbarnmanager
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:39 PM
I fail to see the problem here.

i just am not thrilled with possibly having another mouth to feed, and I am nervous about not knowing anything about them. I know what a disaster it would be to give someone a horse who had never ever been around one before. So are donks a little more user-friendly? :lol:

Rescue Pony
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:39 PM
Low starch diet....George gets corn with his grain. Low treats cause they can be pretty easy keepers.

Same shots, trimmings, dewormer as horses.

Only thing is...the cold. Donkeys do NOT do well in the cold....see thread "Jingles for George" to see why. Blanket often and heavy. ALWAYS have a shelter. and in the winter you have to watch them like a hawk.

Also they don't do flies very well either. fly masks are a must for them.

Oh! And they do hate dogs. George tried to eat the basset hound once!

mpsbarnmanager
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:41 PM
Be careful with the mini donks. There are horses that do not like them and even horses like mine who will try to kill them. Pal mare had a complicated horrible past. Humans loved her but other equines and animals were not her favorite. Not all horses like mini horses either so just be careful.

Thank you! This is exactly the kind of things I want to learn!

plumbrook
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:44 PM
I have had my two for 10 years. They are wonderful, sweet, adorable, and easy to care for. Keep up with trims and don't feed lush hay or pasture. Mine live in the school pony herd and the horses are all very sweet to them. Your really should have two though. It is true that some horses are not good with donkeys but we have never had any issues.

amastrike
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:52 PM
i just am not thrilled with possibly having another mouth to feed, and I am nervous about not knowing anything about them. I know what a disaster it would be to give someone a horse who had never ever been around one before. So are donks a little more user-friendly? :lol:

I desperately want a mini donk, so I can't imagine NOT wanting one! WeeDonks are pretty low maintenance, especially in terms of feeding, so it's more like another half of a mouth to feed.

sketcher
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:55 PM
I worked at a barn which had one years ago and also knew a breeder who had about 30 of them.

They are adorable!

3 caveats:
1. Some of them are escape artists.
2. Noisy!! If you are close to your neighbors they may not appreciate it.
3. Most of them do not like dogs and will try to stomp them.

Chief2
Dec. 20, 2010, 01:56 PM
i just am not thrilled with possibly having another mouth to feed, and I am nervous about not knowing anything about them. I know what a disaster it would be to give someone a horse who had never ever been around one before. So are donks a little more user-friendly? :lol:

Very user friendly! And don't need a heck of a lot to eat. Hay, water and very, very little grain. Donkeys in general are designed for arid climates where grass is not lush and food is not in abundance. I had a standard donkey (10 hands) who did beautifully on 2 flakes of hay and less than 1 cup of grain per day. Any more than that and he ballooned. Yours will eat much less. Otherwise they go right on the same vet/farrier/dental schedules as the horses you already own.

The American Donkey and Mule Society is a great organization to join and get information from. Ditto the Donkey Sanctuary in the UK, and I believe there is another sanctuary in the PNW.

PRS
Dec. 20, 2010, 03:22 PM
I have a mini donkey and while they are similar to horses in a lot of ways they are NOT just like a horse. Their fur is different...while a horses' hair is made to shed water the donkey's hair lacks the natural oils and doesn't shed water as easily....which is why the cold and wet bothers them more. Mine gets stalled at night with an attached run. He has access to the barn on days when he might need to stay dry. He is on the same farrier/vacination/wormer schedule as the horses. He does eat pretty much the same as the horses too, just a lot less. I feed him a handful of pellets twice a day, just cuz the horses are eating and I can't leave him out. He gets free choice hay in the winter with the horses. Last spring and summer I had to dry lot him though. He was trying to founder on the lush grass. When I bought him he was an intact Jack, I gelded him so I could turn him out with the herd. He gets on very well with my horses and is in LOFF with my mare. I broke him to the cart and my DH would much rather drive him than ride a horse. Now we can go on trail rides together with me riding and him driving.

Beware though with freebies. Many people don't think to train their donkeys and many of them are wild as they can be, they lack the training to lead, stand for a farrier or take their vaccinations. Consequently many of them have not been gelded or had their feet done....ever. Most donkeys are naturally sweet natured though and very smart.

katarine
Dec. 20, 2010, 03:31 PM
I wouldn't have a mini as I wouldn't want to keep him solitary. My horses would kill one, playing too hard. No way.

We have a small standard, Chico, whom we adore. We bought him as a weanling. We taught him to lead and tie, he gets trimmed every other time (ground ties for the farrier, he loves my ass :) ) He's small enough to eat very little and big enough to play rough and tumble, too.

He did founder this Spring, or something akin to it-and I think founder is almost a given with these desert-style air ferns. Loves me some Chicodonk.

Personal Champ
Dec. 20, 2010, 03:37 PM
Before I moved my horses home, my 2 donks - a mini and a small standard - were only costing me something insane like $25 a month to feed. Less in the grass months. Honestly - they don't need much.

Regarding blanketing - I only sheet mine if it is going to be wet and cold - either cold rain or excessive snow. I find they are actually annoyed by the sheets if they are dry. Of course - old, sick ones are different, but my young healthy guys feel that way.

Also - dogs - mine have learned to tolerate MY dog. Any others, not so much. Which makes it nice for me regarding the occasional coyote or fox!

mpsbarnmanager
Dec. 20, 2010, 03:40 PM
I broke him to the cart and my DH would much rather drive him than ride a horse. Now we can go on trail rides together with me riding and him driving.


Very informative post, thank you!!!!!! I didnt think to train it to drive, how FUN!! Thats so cool!! Can you tell me more about that?? Thanks! I am starting to see the pluses, I think!

Personal Champ
Dec. 20, 2010, 03:42 PM
My student is using my 2 donks in 4H this year. The younger one is doing long ear production, the older one is going to be either trained to drive or is going to do the in hand mini horse trail class!!!! :lol:

Will take photos!!! :yes:

EqTrainer
Dec. 20, 2010, 04:26 PM
I sense that there is a story there.... or maye I ave been reading too many Swami posts and she is rubbing off on me?? :lol:

I just fail to see the fun in bringing home another animal to care for, unless your husband will care for it himself... And we all know how likely that is to happen LOL best of intentions and all that.

But I have strong feelings that this is a horse farm, not a menagerie or petting zoo. Your feelings may be different and that's cool.

shakeytails
Dec. 20, 2010, 05:58 PM
I don't see a problem either. They don't eat much and they're awfully cute. I had a donkey for a while- the only problem was when I first brought him home- the horses were totally freaked out at this strange looking critter that made funny noises. The horses quickly adjusted and all was good. An added bonus- he HATED strange dogs (my own dogs were fine) and would chase them out of the pasture with a vengeance.

JMurray
Dec. 20, 2010, 07:26 PM
I love my 2 mini donkeys with a capital L_O_V_E. And they are not just barn bets, they have serious jobs.

They are very useful. They keep a horse company if I need to stall rest one or paddock rest one or leave the third horse when I take the other 2 for a trail ride.

They eat weeds on the fence line.

When I have an OTTB here fresh off the track, they teach them how to be turned out, how to graze peacefully, when to nap, when to take a tour of the pasture, when to roll, how to be a horse and not a racing machine.

The Jack will chase anything out of the fields including people he does not know. The occasional stray dog hasn't a chance up against Tucker donkey.

If something is wrong they will bray.

They live out most of the time with a shed but have a stall in the barn they share when weather is really bad.

And they suck their pepperments and I swear they say thank you.


I absolutely could not manage my farm and horses without them!

-Jill

rivenoak
Dec. 20, 2010, 07:31 PM
There is a BLM burro at the ranch. He is the cutest thing ever.

He is very, very quiet. Rarely brays.

He is turned out with his owner's other two horses and they all do fine.

He doesn't try to escape his pipe stall.

He doesn't seem to eat a whole lot and makes the cutest little poops.

The rest of the horses learned to tolerate him very quickly & I'm glad he's there for that reason alone.

He can be shy with people.

He almost assuages my desire to have a goat on the property.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Dec. 20, 2010, 07:45 PM
I think you need one.

deckchick
Dec. 20, 2010, 08:24 PM
I "acquired" a mini donkey this summer. I wasn't looking for one, I sure didn't need or want one, but the lady that had him needed to get rid of him and once I saw the poor little guy, I took him home. He was 2 years old and never had his feet trimmed, still intact, never looked after at all! I am in the process of fixing his slipper feet, and doing all the other stuff for him that needs to be done, but I must say he is just the sweetest guy! I called him Sam. The neighbour kid when he saw he said I should call him Two-Can Sam because he was so small, if the lady had sold him at auction the kill buyer would have only got enough to fill up 2 cans of dog food.

I have a ton of different critters, Willow my draft/arab horse, 2 goats, 8 pigs, rabbits, turkeys, chickens and an assortment of cats and dogs. All of my animals co-exist together and it does work. They live outside with their own shelters and pastures, but the donkey, horse and goats live together in the barn, and the pigs live beside them and they visit each other all the time. When the small pigs come into the barn, Sam will eventually put the run to them, but he is not mean to them at all. Sam is never far from Willow, in fact if she goes into the far pasture without him, he starts to holler and runs after her. Sam also loves the one barn dog.

I live in central Alberta, and Sam has no problem with the cold, he only gets free choice hay with the goats and horse. They do have the barn that I leave open at all times, and they sleep in there and come in if the weather gets bad.

I highly recommend a mini-donkey.

I have a bunch of videos of my animals on facebook on my farm page here if you would like to see them.

http://www.facebook.com/deckchick#!/pages/Coulee-Ridge-Farm/172968072716808?v=wall

Toadie's mom
Dec. 20, 2010, 09:19 PM
LOVE my mini! I got him 15yrs. ago to be a companion for a horse on lay-up. Of course that's the only horse that hated him:lol:. I've always told people he's my only maintenance-free pet. I trim his feet and vaccinate him myself, and he literally gets a handful of grain twice a day. He's out 24/7 and has been a companion to several different horses. This is a picture of him with a week old foal.
http://s267.photobucket.com/albums/ii295/learfan/?action=view&current=vinnyandmreko.jpg

On the down side, you do have to be careful introducing them to dogs. He's gone after every new dog we've gotten since he's been here. He does get used to them after awhile, and just ignores them.

I'll have another one someday:D

asb_own_me
Dec. 20, 2010, 09:28 PM
If your location on your profile is correct (VA) then I'm in a colder climate than you are, and mine are out 24/7 with access to a shed. I introduced them to the horses slowly, and they have an "escape hatch" so they can clear out from the horses if they are getting pestered.

You DEFINITELY need two. Mine are inseparable. They don't cost hardly anything to feed, you split dewormer between them (dosage by weight :) ), and I've found I can keep up on their hoof care needs about every other time the horses are done. My farrier won't even charge me for them, because really all they usually need is rasping. My two are very active and will spend half the day playing "tag" and playing tug with their Jolly Ball and assorted rubber dog toys that are left in the pasture for their amusement.

They have gotten out, once when the fence shorted and one when the gate got unlatched. Both times they meandered over to the bedroom window and peered in, scaring the BEJEEZUS out of our Dobermans :D

They are an absolute riot, so fun and cute. Chuck and Larry come running when called (and I don't even give them treats) and only bray either in greeting to me, or to raise the alarm if someone's come on the property. They know our regular UPS driver and won't "alert" me to him, but raise holy hell every time he is on vacation and there is a sub driver!!! They do NOT like dogs and since I don't let my dogs go in/near the pastures (they are hardly ever even out by the barn at all) I've never tried to acclimate them. I'd rather they intimidated any dog that was stupid enough to come in the pasture, so that the dog wouldn't end up chasing the horses. The neighbor's dog is terrified of Chuck and Larry, and they just watch her through the fence. Whenever she's patrolling in the neighboring cornfield, they beat tracks out there to glare at her. She runs away.....sometimes whimpering. They must have some excellent trash talk!

I've tried to get them to wear fly masks but they just think fly masks are for playing another game - this one called "Houdini" - so after buying several, I've given up. I also bought them winter blankets for the worst weather of our winter, but I've not put them on yet. I imagine the blankets will befall the same fate as the fly masks. They do NOT like to come inside and are very dramatic and cranky if they are kept in.....think throwing themselves on the ground in utter despair and then pushing on the door with all their combined might while beseechingly gazing at me with eyes upturned. Drama queens.

I love them :D

RubyLink
Dec. 20, 2010, 09:33 PM
There is a mini donkey where I used to work and he is super cute. He lives out with the sheep as their guardian and goes where they go. They get turned out during the day year round so in the summer he's on grass and winter he gets hay. He only gets grain during breeding and lambing season for the sheep and thats only because he doesn't get separated from the sheep. He is a wicked easy keeper and is a tad fat.

Though they all come in from pasture at night, they are still outside in the paddocks. The only time he stayed inside the barn was when we had a bad snow storm and it was so windy that I put him inside for the night. By the next morning he was itching to get outside to be with his sheep.

He is on the same trimming schedule as the horses as well as worming and vaccinations.

His bray is so quite that you have to be pretty close to hear it. He hates dogs or anything that resembles a dog and will try to kill them. In the fall, the horses and sheep share a pasture and we have a new horse that is intent on killing the donkey.

I don't know about being escape artists because Donkey never wants to leave his sheep, so no help there.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=502752044956&set=a.502751650746.2002206.124500353

LisaW-B
Dec. 20, 2010, 11:14 PM
My trainer has a pet mini donk and a pet BLM burro, and I looooove them both. They're both super friendly and affectionate characters. Some day, I WILL have donkey(s).

NeedsAdvil
Dec. 20, 2010, 11:35 PM
I have a small standard, and he is awesome. Super friendly, gets along with the horses very well, and is quite a character. At first he DID try to stomp my dogs, but with some patience and careful introductions, he now tolerates them VERY well. He loves being groomed and is a very easy keeper. I'd have whole herd of them if I had the space!:yes:

PRS
Dec. 21, 2010, 09:55 AM
Very informative post, thank you!!!!!! I didnt think to train it to drive, how FUN!! Thats so cool!! Can you tell me more about that?? Thanks! I am starting to see the pluses, I think!

After I had my little guy gelded and allowed him some time to recover I took him and had him fitted for a harness and cart. I had downloaded a very informative booklet on teaching your donkey to drive by Dr. Judy Martens. (can't find it now or I'd post a link, I can scan and email a copy to you if you want to pm me with your email address) I ground drove him for several weeks, exposing him to the entire neighborhood, the train tracks, cars on the road etc. He only had to experience something once or twice to realize it wasn't going to hurt him. Traffic was my biggest concern. The first time we were on the road and I heard a car coming I got him well off the road, he seemed very concerned about the car. The second time I just got him over into the ditch, the third time I got him just onto the shoulder of the road. The fourth time we just moved over enough to allow the car past. He wasn't concerned about it at all, he flicked his ear back to listen it to it coming but that was all. Donkeys learn very fast, usually in just one or two lessons. Do not think that you are going to school a donkey like you would a horse :no:. Once a donkey has learned something he is ready to move on. I tried to lunge my donkey. He went around a few times and then stopped and looked at me like, "ok, I know how to do circles, now what?" Nothing could make him run more circles because he didn't see the point. When I finally felt he(I):D was ready for the cart I had a couple friends come out to head him while I hitched him up for the first time....he walked off like dragging a cart behind him was perfectly normal. After having my friends holding his head for a few minutes I had them let go and off we went! For all that year we drove all around the area, into the farm fields where we encountered large trucks, tractors, combines and other farm implements to which he never batted an eye. We have done parades and I can have a beginner or a child drive him and he is fine with it. I love this little guy. He is such a funny character, he gets on very well with my dogs and horses, loves everybody, and doesn't eat much. He is a little booger for the farrier though but he is good for the vet and has never purposely tried to kick anyone (except right after he was gelded and I was checking his incision :eek:...Understandable)
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1414972469416&set=a.1319899772658.42464.1685723434
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1119334758658&set=a.1119333118617.15893.1685723434#!/photo.php?pid=232737&id=1685723434&fbid=1119334678656
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1120376584703&set=a.1120373744632.15994.1685723434

PRS
Dec. 21, 2010, 10:11 AM
I love them :D

Chuck and Larry are absolutely adorable!!!

asb_own_me
Dec. 21, 2010, 11:58 AM
Chuck and Larry are absolutely adorable!!!

I will tell them that they have a new online fan :)

They have requested that I upload video of their tag and tug-o-war games. Chuck forsees the video going viral. Larry thinks the video of him standing up to the bossy horse at the round bale is better, and that it could earn him an endorsement contract with Gatorade.

Ozone
Dec. 21, 2010, 12:40 PM
Your really should have two though. .

YES you really should have two or a goat or a sheep to keep the mini company. They NEED companionship if your horse is not able to give that to the mini then you must get another smaller type animal to pal with the mini.

I've had a mini for 18 years who, thankfully - too to the pony so I did not have to get another to keep her company. Unfortunately when the pony passed the donkey went down hill very fast and I had her put to sleep. She died of a broken heart for sure.

I currently have a mini and a goat. Mini's are sweet and very smart - they remember everything so be kind to your donkey - always! Even when she is stealing treats or trotting up behind you for no reason - please be kind.

Some get along great with horses, some not so much. They are not mean. It is usually the horses that are mean to the donkey!

GET A JENNY! Jack can be ... welll.... Jacks! Even geldings can be a handful. Trust me on this one! ;)

LOW starch, love copper feed an not much of it at all. Donkeys become metabolic quickly so it is important to monitor their feeding. Lush pasture is not a great idea but if it is what you have then only let the donk graze with no grain/feed. If not easy on the hay and feed little grain. Salt lick avaiable and freash water daily. A donk will not drink out of even slightly dirty water! Picky little things!

They need shelter as when they get rained on/snowed on - wet in general the water lays down deep into their coats. They don't dry all that fast which chill them.

I could not imagine a barn without a donkey. Lovely animals!

horsepoor
Dec. 21, 2010, 01:22 PM
I don't know about this "you need two" thing -- I've got just the one mini and she is out with the retired horse and they are best buds. She doesn't seem to mind at all -- he's less competition for her than another mini would be, I'm sure (she's far more adept at stealing food than the big horse)!

Chester's Mom
Dec. 21, 2010, 02:41 PM
If I love them :D


OMGOMG, they are so cute!!!

OP, you obviously need two simply so you can posts photos we can drool over!!

PRS
Dec. 21, 2010, 02:45 PM
I don't know about this "you need two" thing -- I've got just the one mini and she is out with the retired horse and they are best buds. She doesn't seem to mind at all -- he's less competition for her than another mini would be, I'm sure (she's far more adept at stealing food than the big horse)!

I don't get it either. I only have one mini donkey and he gets on fine with my horses. He is in love with my grey mare. In fact, when I sent him to stay at a friend's before he was gelded ;), he basically ignored her 2 jennets for HER gray mare. He's obviously got a thing for older women.