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Buying our first Mini Donkey! UPDATE: Our little guy is home! Pics in last post!

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  • Buying our first Mini Donkey! UPDATE: Our little guy is home! Pics in last post!

    After having the two bigs guys at home for a year and a half, we have decided we are ready to buy our mini donkey!

    Never owning a mini donkey, I have a a few questions.

    1) Fencing: I currently have electric Horseguard fencing. Three strands is sufficient for keeping the big guys in, but I was going to add an additional low strand. Do mini donkeys respect electric like horses? This fence is HOT HOT HOT.

    2) Shelter: Barn is currently set up so the 12 x 12 stalls open into the sacrafice paddock. Do we need to build a smaller shelter off the barn for our mini or see how he does with the big guys first? Our horses are out 24/7.

    3) Clothing: Besides a halter, do the mini donks need rain sheets, fly sheets, fly masks? Please don't laugh (too hard) at me!!!

    4) Grazing muzzles: Our guys will be out on my established pasture for the first time this year with the use of grazing muzzles. Can I use one on donkey or do I need to just keep him off the grass?

    5) Vitamins/Minerals: We live in a selenium/E deficient area so should I provide a daily multivitamin?

    6) Do you free choice hay your donkeys? Mine will be living with my geldings who get free choice now....

    Ok... that's enough for now!
    Last edited by manyspots; Apr. 26, 2010, 08:10 AM.
    Gone gaited....

  • #2
    Congratulations on the new addition!

    Mini donks are very, very easy keepers. I definitely do not suggest free choice hay. Depending on the size, 1/2 to 1 flake of grass hay twice a day should be sufficient. No alfalfa ever. Obesity is a huge problem with minis. And with obesity can come founder issues. A grazing muzzle on grass is a must.

    Donkeys don't like cold, damp weather. They are originally desert animals. They typically will seek out shelter, unlike horses sometimes. A blanket and rain sheet are very good ideas.

    They need vitamins and minerals since they shouldn't have grain. We use the Equilix mineral tubs.
    "Crazy is just another point of view" Sonia Dada

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by manyspots View Post
      After having the two bigs guys at home for a year and a half, we have decided we are ready to buy our mini donkey!
      Congrats! You will love having a donkey (you will love having two even more )

      1) Fencing: I currently have electric Horseguard fencing. Three strands is sufficient for keeping the big guys in, but I was going to add an additional low strand. Do mini donkeys respect electric like horses? This fence is HOT HOT HOT.
      I have Horseguard as well, three strands on most of my big pasture and the donks do fine with that. I have to say that there isn't much of interest outside the fencing at my place. But I've also been told that once they know their territory, they are not inclined to leave it. Their coats are thicker, so I don't know if that affects the electric influence, but mine have never challenged the HG.

      2) Shelter: Barn is currently set up so the 12 x 12 stalls open into the sacrafice paddock. Do we need to build a smaller shelter off the barn for our mini or see how he does with the big guys first? Our horses are out 24/7.
      Do you have enough stalls for everyone? I have one stall that has a stall guard high enough for the donks to get under (the two girls share one stall), but keeps the horses out. They do like to spend some time in that stall, but they also spend time in the horse's stalls. I don't think you *need* a separate shelter, but your donk might enjoy having his/her own space. (btw, is it a he or a she? I've heard jennets make better "pets"; jacks, even altered, can be moody)

      3) Clothing: Besides a halter, do the mini donks need rain sheets, fly sheets, fly masks? Please don't laugh (too hard) at me!!!
      Mine have no clothing other than their own coats. I suppose we might be milder in winter in NC than NH, but I think a good shelter is the place to start. They do put on a heavy winter coat! I put Desitin in their ears to protect from gnats in the summer, but don't use fly masks on them--mine always have access to the barn in the summer and tend to come in during the worst of the bugs mid-day, anyway. In fact, I count on the bugs to limit their time on grass. I'm not sure the donks would come in if the horses didn't anyway, though. My donks do come in when it rains; they don't like to be wet! They think snow is fun.

      4) Grazing muzzles: Our guys will be out on my established pasture for the first time this year with the use of grazing muzzles. Can I use one on donkey or do I need to just keep him off the grass?
      Yes to grazing muzzles, and they are easier to keep on long-ears . Mine are out during the day only, in a dry lot/run in at night; it's one of the way I limit their time on grass as all of mine are easy keepers anyway (see bugs, above). You will not be able to keep your donks thin, the trick is to keep them somewhat less fat, and it is a battle. But definitely grazing muzzles. I would have thought they'd see me with the muzzles in the morning and play hard-to-catch, but they're smart enough (they ARE smart! but practical, too) to know that the muzzles mean out on pasture, no muzzles mean dry lot, and are willing to make the compromise.

      5) Vitamins/Minerals: We live in a selenium/E deficient area so should I provide a daily multivitamin?
      I don't, but perhaps just a E/Se supplement? Mine get a couple of cups of alf pellets in the hard winter, but otherwise just what they can get in pasture thru their muzzles, and any hay the horses leave behind.

      6) Do you free choice hay your donkeys? Mine will be living with my geldings who get free choice now....
      Hmmm. Free choice may end up being too much for the donks. My horses are both easy keepers (well, one easy keeper, one self-limiter, who has taught me a LOT about how much hay horses can survive on--so no free choice at my house). I suppose it depends on the quality and type of your hay. You might try high hay nets, so the horses can get what they need but the donks are just cleaning up what falls out. I do not budget anything for my donks; they just eat after the horses.

      Good luck--you will LOVE having a donk!
      "One person's cowboy is another person's blooming idiot" -- katarine

      Spay and neuter. Please.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, you need this entire getup for your mini-donk. http://www.minitack.com/kmps.htm Ok... I know nothing about mini-donks, but my mini horses want NOTHING to do with fly sheets, masks, etc. and I think it's just the cutest thing on earth. I would laugh and maybe die of cuteness overload if I passed a field of 6 minis all wearing that.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          We are very excited!!!! Going to visit the breeder this weekend and hopefully pick out our forever donkey. Fiance has his heart set on a jack (who we will alter). Moody huh? Interesting thing to consider.

          We use hay feeders now that the boys eat out of and will be builder a hay feeder box with the mesh to sit permenantly in the sacrafice paddock. I have one gelding who likes to pull hay out and place it on the ground as he eats it in mouthfuls, so it's very likely donkey will have plenty to scrounge!

          Right now we have the two big stalls/shelter for the boys, so I was going to see how donkey does, but fiance can easily build a shelter right off the barn for the little guy if need be.

          Any recommendations on muzzles? I was going to get the Best Friend for my big guys......

          Thanks so far!!!!
          Gone gaited....

          Comment


          • #6
            I have two mini donks - Chuck and Larry. They are out with my horses and have an "escape hatch", a space by the water tubs that they can walk under (but the horses can't) to go in the adjoining pasture.

            I live in central Iowa and they are fine all year round. They have been through blizzards - this winter was especially rough - and through hot humid summers. They are HARDY animals. Besides, they will eat whatever you put on them, either because they pick/fuss at it or because they play so rough. Chuck and Larry roughhouse like big dogs. Biting each other, jerking each other by the halter, playing "tag", etc. I did fly masks but after a week of them removing them at least four times a day, I gave up

            My guys share a helping of Progressive grass mix diet balancer, some oats, and Envision fat supplement - the same stuff the horses get. They are out on pasture and we feed round bales. They have not gotten fat at all....they run and play and stay trim and healthy on their own.

            You will LOVE having a mini donk. But I strongly suggest you get two. They do best in pairs.

            Comment


            • #7
              I had 2 minis, one died and I am in the process of trying to find another that is not ridiculously expensive.

              Mine do get free choice hay, and are not fat. But they play like two little loons, lol. They are turned out with my horses.

              We have electric fence, like you, I added a low strand. I have never had a problem with them leaning on it if it is hot.

              My donks are spoiled. They have Kensington fly masks (lol) and rain sheets. Mine HATE being wet.

              I give mine an appropriate dose of the SmartPak grass vitamin to make up for any deficiencies my hay/pasture may have.

              Enjoy! Photos please!

              Comment


              • #8
                My donkey hated his blanket and destroyed it in a matter of hours. A salt lick is a must and since you live in a selenium deficient area get a salt lick with selenium added. NO grain, no grain, no grain! A very small amount of hay, scraps from the big horses and floor sweeping are all that my little jack gets.
                When I got my little jack he was just weened and SO cute. When the testicles dropped ( it can take up to 2 years for them to drop) he turned mean. Very mean. I thought I was going to have to have him euthanized. I talked to my vet, we decided to geld him first, to give him a chance. About a month later my sweet little donkey was back. I could not believe the difference.
                They are not little horses with big ears. They think differently and react differently to new things. They are guardians by nature and most donkeys take that job very seriously. Warn your neighbors.
                They are a lot of fun, good luck and enjoy.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Also in Iowa with a mini-donk (hi ASB!). Francesca lives out year round (no blankets) with my Irish Draught horses, shares round bales, run-in shelter, and is not grass restricted (I have a grazing muzzle for her but tend not to use it). We also have Horseguard fence and while she will duck under if I set up temporary two strand fence with the bottom strand too high, she stays in the three strand. F gets flax, mineral, and yeast culture at dinnertime. She does *not* like to be wet and uses the shed *way* more than the horses. Flies love donkey legs so keep that in mind. She wears a long ears fly mask during fly season (Crusader makes them in mini donk size). Vax and deworming same as the horses and she gets trimmed every other horse trim.
                  Liz
                  Ainninn House Stud
                  Irish Draughts and Connemaras
                  Co. Westmeath, Ireland

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Check out The American Donkey & Mule Society. There's a wealth of information to be found on their website, as well as in their bookstore.

                    If you're not going to be breeding, you can save some $$$ by buying one that is ever so slightly larger than specifications allow.
                    The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
                    Winston Churchill

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My mini donk is out with my big horses all day but in his own stall at night. (his stall is 12x14 with a 12x20 run) He owns a blanket but only wears it when trailering in cold weather. Donkeys are not "waterproof" like horses meaning that their coats lack the oils in horses coat that helps to shed water but he probably won't like to wear a rain sheet. When the weather is really wet and cold I put mine in the barn. For regular summer thunderstorms he just gets wet.

                      My little guy does tend to put on weight and I sometimes have to keep him up where he gets a flake of hay in the morning and another at night. He get free choice hay most of the winter when I have round bales out though. I'm mostly concerned about him eating too much green grass. He does get 2 cups of pelleted feed in the am and pm but that is just because the horses are getting fed and I can't leave the little guy out.

                      some people body clip their donkeys...mostly for showing. If you body clip him then he will most certainly need blanketing in cold weather.

                      My donkey has no problem respecting our hot wire fencing. We now have 5 strands. We listened to a friend who had a mini donk that would lie down and roll under their 4 strand fence. Did anyone tell you that mini donks are very smart?

                      During the introduction period I would most certainly keep everyone separated. You may have problems integrating him anyhow if he is still intact. If so I highly recommend gelding ASAP. I could not put my donkey out with my horses until he was gelded. He was very agressive towards my geldings and wanted to breed my mare.
                      "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Congratulations, manyspots! I have a small standard donkey. She is on the same vaccination, deworming, farrier and dentistry schedule as the horses.

                        I have Belgian draft horses, and I turned her out directly with them, immediately upon arrival. No problems at all! She doesn't like to get rained or snowed on, but I don't have any clothes for her. They do have a huge loafing shed to go into, if they want to.

                        Yes, she is turned out with a grazing muzzle on during grass season. I give her only a tbsp. of fat-and-fiber pellets at feeding time. Selenium supplement 2x per week; just a tiny amount. She doesn't seem to need a fly mask. She does need a lot of roll-on fly repellent in her ears during black fly season.

                        She respects the electric fence completely! N.B. Use only a leather halter, or a nylon one with break-away, for such a small critter. My Vet has seen several tragedies with small horses and nylon halters, and immediately ordered me to change my lovely patterned, new nylon one for leather, when I got my donkey.
                        My Equestrian Art Photography page

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Can't answer your questions but congrats! And I am sooo jealous. I want one! Enjoy!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I really want one too, someday, and love living vicariously through you people who DO have mini donks!
                            Visit the County Island, home of Whiskey the ranch horse: http://countyisland.wordpress.com
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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              I saw it mentioned in this thread that it can take til 2 years for them to drop to be gelded? Is that typical? I don't have any mares on the property and never will, but definitely have plans to keep everyone seperated for as long as it takes. The old man has been around mini donkeys before but my younger guy has never seen one. Should be entertaining! We have no intention of ever breeding, so I was hoping to geld him as quick as possible.

                              I still need to place a call to my farrier and find out if he does donkeys. Is it typical that regular farriers would?

                              The more I read these posts, the more I think we should build the overhang on the barn that only donkey can go under. Seems like he should have his own "space" .

                              I will probably just give him a handful of the beet mash I make for the big guys to mix his vitamins in and call it good. As for the hay, no issue for awhile as he will be on his own.

                              So on my "must" buy list:
                              Breakaway halter
                              Grazing muzzle

                              So excited! We have an appointment to go meet a weanling on Sunday!
                              Gone gaited....

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                A typical conversation when soliciting sevices for my donkey....
                                Me: Hello, I need to make an appointment for my donkey.
                                Vet: Uh, hmmmm....a donkey huh? Is your donkey, uh, halter broke?
                                Farrier: Uh, hmmmm....the donkey, huh? do you think his feet reallllly need trimming?

                                This reaction is because most people turn their donkeys out and don't handle them or make them learn their manners. The vet found out that my donkey is sweet and well behaved. My farrier and I both found out that just because my donkey will allow ME to handle his feet that courtesy does not necessarily extend to the farrier. I ended up having to hold his back feet while the farrier worked on them. Awkward.

                                RE: a "safe" spot....You could use a dutch door system...where you can leave the bottom half of the door open with the top half shut. This would allow the donkey to enter but not the horses. I used a simlar arrangement to keep my mare from eating her foal's food....by putting a board across the gate opening so the smaller foal could fit but not the mare.
                                "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by PRS View Post
                                  A typical conversation when soliciting sevices for my donkey....
                                  Me: Hello, I need to make an appointment for my donkey.
                                  Vet: Uh, hmmmm....a donkey huh? Is your donkey, uh, halter broke?
                                  Farrier: Uh, hmmmm....the donkey, huh? do you think his feet reallllly need trimming?

                                  This reaction is because most people turn their donkeys out and don't handle them or make them learn their manners. The vet found out that my donkey is sweet and well behaved. My farrier and I both found out that just because my donkey will allow ME to handle his feet that courtesy does not necessarily extend to the farrier. I ended up having to hold his back feet while the farrier worked on them. Awkward.
                                  LMAO!!!!! I do intend on making sure Donkey has good manners. One of the reasons we want him young. And I worked with a trainer for a long time that did halter horses. Ground manners are key in my barn! Although, we will see how it goes... they are different to train right?

                                  I've heard everything from twice a year on trimming to every 4 weeks. Hoping my regular farrier will add him to our 5-6 weeks schedule.
                                  Gone gaited....

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Just Sold One This Week

                                    We had a gelded mini-donkey for five months.....he was about four years old and we found him to be very shy.....The family that had raised him really wanted him to come home for their children.....It was a unpopular decision in my household, but I sold him.....

                                    - He did require a grazing muzzle, made by Weaver, which he hated
                                    - He was on the same worming and shot schedule as our horses
                                    - He had to be held, as in bear hug, for the farrier, every six weeks
                                    - He had mineral trace&salt blocks, a few cups of "Lite" grain and hay leftovers

                                    They are prone to gaining weight and foundering.....he was very quiet and fun to watch in the pasture.

                                    Best of luck with your new mini
                                    Berkley

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I love my donkeys but here it's the jenny that's moody and my gelding is a sweetheart. Well until I got a new colt and he figured the colt was after his woman and took him on. Mine have had NO trouble handling themselves around the horses but they do have their own stall at night. New horses are hilarious when they meet the donkeys!

                                      I'm one of the strange ones that does have winter blankets (only used when it's really wet snow), I have coolers for them - in case they get wet and I need something to wick the moisture out and warm them as they dry, they have Cashel fly masks with donkey ears - the gelding wears his, the jenny removes hers at the farthest end of the field every time so by about the 10th time she gets Swat rubbed in her ears and gets sent out unprotected and they're very well behaved for the vet and farrier.

                                      I have them on the same shots, farrier and deworming schedule as the horses, I have smaller water troughs/buckets in each field which of course the horses empty first and I make sure the round bales are on the grassy side and if a horse needs alfalfa, they get it in their stalls at night.

                                      I don't use muzzles but I take a very long time introducing them to grass and spring they do spend a lot of time in the bad weather turnout - big but very little grass. No grain - they get some carrots when the horses are being grained - and no vitamins/minerals. But their salt addiction is well handled by himalayan rock salt.

                                      Congratulations and have fun picking and owning one... donkeys are the best!
                                      Sometimes I just think funny things - Dudley Moore in Arthur
                                      Come join us at - TheMuckBucket

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by manyspots View Post
                                        LMAO!!!!! I do intend on making sure Donkey has good manners. One of the reasons we want him young. And I worked with a trainer for a long time that did halter horses. Ground manners are key in my barn! Although, we will see how it goes... they are different to train right?

                                        I've heard everything from twice a year on trimming to every 4 weeks. Hoping my regular farrier will add him to our 5-6 weeks schedule.
                                        My little guy has wonderful, hard feet that rarely need trimming. I've owned him for several years and have only had them trimmed a few times. This year, because there was so much rain, his feet aren't wearing down as usual and required the farrier's services, much to my farrier's dismay. In my farriers defense though, the only time he was kicked in the head a donkey did it...not my donkey though. Many donkeys get slipper feet and need trimming much more often than normal. Donkey's are very different to train. Mine doesn't lead well unless he is really motivated to go where I'm leading. Donkeys actually do better being driven. When mine gets balky I just swing the lead rope towards his hind quarters and he comes un-stuck for a little ways then I have to repeat. Donkeys are much smarter than horses. Just remember that you aren't going to "school" a donkey like you would a horse. Don't try lunging for extended periods. You'll probably get a couple of times around but then the donkey is going to stop and look at you and say "OK, I've got the circle thing down, what next?"

                                        Really, do like you would with any young animal...handle daily and socialize well. Unlike horses who don't seem to mind being handled by strangers, as long as the stranger is confident, donkeys know their people and are uncomfortable being handled by strangers.
                                        "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."

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