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calling all donkey enablers: need to convince hubby...

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  • calling all donkey enablers: need to convince hubby...

    Long story short, after posting and searching through threads on here, and conversations with in-person friends and people like my farrier, I am dying to get a donkey (preferably a mini-donkey) as a companion animal for my two horses at home, in the event that I have to take one somewhere (e.g. hospital). These two horses already met a mini-donk this past weekend; one of them fell in love and couldn't get enough of the little guy (bordering on creepy).

    I need to convince the hubby, especially because I have had the worst luck horse-wise in the last few years. Significant ligament tears ending careers, catastrophic injuries in multiple horses almost ending lives and resulting in copious $$ in vet bills, and just overall anxiety about how the horses are going to try to kill themselves next.

    Can the donkey enablers fill me in on realistic expectations for upkeep of a donkey/mini-donk in relation to the horses? It would be joining two easy-keeper old (20's) Morgans maintained on pasture and coastal Bermuda hay, and my 6 year old TB show horse, when he comes home from boarding during off-seasons.

    I'd rely on my friends/farrier in the area, but they keep feeding me adorable photos of baby mini-donks, which isn't helping my obsession. I need to try to stay somewhat realistic... My farrier can get me one at any time for a few hundred $$, and has offered to let me have a trial run to make sure everyone gets along.

  • #2
    We haven't really had many issues with mini donks or mini horses at our barn. They eat very little. They don't seem to get hurt much. Yes, a colic or something could happen. But they just seem pretty hardy.

    I think a mini donk could be a nice calming influence. And the cuteness factor is through the roof!!!

    My two were both afraid of the donks at first. Now my big mare just wants to follow them around whenever she sees them!
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

    Comment


    • #3
      My mini donk is a very easy keeper, in fact she only gets a tiny pinch of grain (she gets upset if the horses get something she doesn't). She gets along with everyone and guards the herd continually! She also likes to eat weeds the horses won't touch, which has endeared her to my husband.

      Comment


      • #4
        First rule: No jacks! Verify gelding has been done.

        Tough creatures, overall, but feed them separately from horses. They don't need any alfalfa at all. Grass hay and a little feed to keep them friendly is all. They are twice as easy to keep as a Shetland. My large standard sized donkey eats about as much as our little Shetland even though he outweighs her by about 300 pounds.

        They can live into their 40s, so an older one is fine. Don't turn down a needy, older, well-trained donkey!

        They can develop fat pads, if overfed, that will never go away. They start collecting fat along their neck first, followed by back and hips. Very easy keepers.

        Make certain the donkey has had a proper upbringing and can be handled for the farrier and vet visits. Unless you have time for a project.

        Good luck! They are very affectionate creatures.
        “Pray, hope, and don't worry.”

        St. Padre Pio

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with Microbovine (great username!) -- consider an old donkey! Mine came three years ago at age 30 and is going strong. Their life span is between 30 - 40 years old; I'm 51 right now so if she lives into her 40's that's kind of perfect for me. A younger donkey I'd have to make plans for after I'm gone.

          (though I know, anything could happen to me & I could make plans now. But it is less likely).

          My donkey came with fat pads, and they have not gone away. As all the others have said, she's an extremely easy keeper. Her only vet bill (besides the usual spring shots & dental work) was when she choked due to getting into her best friend's dinner and eating too fast.

          She's in a herd of geriatric horses and one of them ADORES her, is never more than 10 or 20 feet away, and will intervene if any of the other horses gives her a hard time.
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          • #6
            Ditto all the good things said above! Ours - Cupcake - is super adorable, well behaved (even for the farrier), and the delight of everyone who comes to visit. The horses love her and she is VERY easy to take care of. She is very clean and neat, eats probably too much as she is fat, but whatever...she gets 1/8 of a cup of grain twice per day when the horses are fed, more to keep her from shrieking than for need. We rescued her and couldn't be happier to have her with us.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ooh I love donkeys! I worked on a donkey farm and they are a million times hardier than horses. They don't need much food at all, and they are a LOT less accident prone. I saw a donkey step into a spool of barbed wire. I thought he would react like a horse, panic, and cut himself to bits, but no, the donkey just calmly looks down, realizes his leg is in a bad place, and slowly and carefully extricates himself. They can colic, but it takes something pretty extreme to set them off. And SO CUTE! But training can be a little different than some people are used to with horses. Force Will. Not. Work. Patience and gentleness are the key (should be the same with horses but y'know...). Just don't give them an inch, they are smart and will take a mile, there are a lot of spoiled mini-donks out there because of this. Good luck and post pictures when you get one!
              "Here? It's like asking a bunch of rednecks which is better--Ford or Chevy?" ~Deltawave

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              • #8
                ditto all the above, but, also, keep up on their farrier, deworming, and vetting. they are the same as a horse.

                also, when its cold AND wet, they should be blanketed. they dont have the water proofing fur next to their skin like horses do (they are desert animals), and can get compromised. this makes them susceptible to lung-worms. they can handle the cold fine, and the wet fine, but, not when its cold AND wet

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                • #9
                  If you had a mini donkey you could do this:
                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e45ShwejmDM
                  and this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ2FtaAbs5Y
                  or this: http://smile.webshots.com/smiles/d19...0422000abc0d4a
                  And be greeted every morning like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRSms73U8_Y
                  Donkeys are generally hardy little stinkers but keep in mind that they are designed for arid regions. My little guy will get laminitis if he is allowed too much green grass. He has to be dry lotted for much of the day during spring and summer. They require the same vacinations/wormers/farrier work that horses do but they don't require any grain and survive quite nicely on just grass hay. I do give my little guy a tiny handful of pellets when the rest of the barn gets fed just because I don't want him to feel left out and he looks so pitiful if I don't. Donkeys can be such funny little characters. They can be suspicious of strangers and some can be quite violent towards strange dogs. Donkeys are, generally speaking, friendly creatures if handled gently. They are very trainable (just don't make the mistake of thinking he's a tiny long eared horse). It's been my observation that the gelded jacks make the best pets.

                  ETA: Donkeys are fast learners and I always tell people that they WILL learn the lesson you are teaching them...so just be sure you are teaching the lesson you want him to learn
                  "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


                  • #10
                    Hardy, smart, good natured. I'd recommend a young animal unless you can find a well socialized and halter broke adult. Once they know they are stronger than people, good luck teaching one to lead. They need precious little to eat and mine is the best babysitter ever.

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                    • #11
                      I believe they should be dewormed before bringing them in. They can have lungworms.

                      Ours don't really lead as much as trot in front of you when you're going somewhere. Or one of them kind of leads and the other just follows. They are small enough that at times they just get picked up and carried!!
                      Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks all for the info and experiences!
                        So when you bring your horses into stalls (as I do at night), I assume the donkey has his own? That'll be a consideration because at this point I only have three stalls and three horses.




                        Originally posted by PRS View Post
                        [
                        And be greeted every morning like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRSms73U8_Y
                        Oh geez. While hilarious, I'm not sure my neighbors would like that very much... Any experience with that?

                        Originally posted by PRS View Post
                        Donkeys are generally hardy little stinkers but keep in mind that they are designed for arid regions. My little guy will get laminitis if he is allowed too much green grass.
                        So I live in the Gulf area... so not too big of a deal with cold weather, but obviously rain/wet/humidity is a huge issue. They always seem furrier than the equine counterparts; will 100 degrees with 100% humidity be an issue? 50 degrees and 80% humidity in the winter?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I had two hinnies, not donkeys, but very similar in care and character. One thing to be aware of is that they generally HATE dogs (which is why they're good at guarding sheep) and will chase any that venture into the field. And not in a merry way! Mine also went after the various ducks and geese that wandered in.
                          "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." –Bradley Trevor Greive

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                            Thanks all for the info and experiences!
                            So when you bring your horses into stalls (as I do at night), I assume the donkey has his own? That'll be a consideration because at this point I only have three stalls and three horses.
                            Hank has his own stall, he'd do just as well with a run in where he could get out of the rain.

                            Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                            Oh geez. While hilarious, I'm not sure my neighbors would like that very much... Any experience with that?
                            When we first brought him home he was and intact Jack and VERY vocal. Shortly after we got him the neighbors came over to let their child get a close look at him and feed him carrots. I over heard the man telling his wife, "I thought he was bigger, he sure sounds bigger". I still get a giggle whenever I think of this. My neighbors really haven't complained though.

                            Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                            So I live in the Gulf area... so not too big of a deal with cold weather, but obviously rain/wet/humidity is a huge issue. They always seem furrier than the equine counterparts; will 100 degrees with 100% humidity be an issue? 50 degrees and 80% humidity in the winter?
                            Hank gets fuzzy during the winter but sheds out for summer. We live in central Georgia where we have some serious humidity also, he's no more miserable than the rest of us.
                            "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


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by morganpony86 View Post
                              Thanks all for the info and experiences!
                              So when you bring your horses into stalls (as I do at night), I assume the donkey has his own? That'll be a consideration because at this point I only have three stalls and three horses.






                              Oh geez. While hilarious, I'm not sure my neighbors would like that very much... Any experience with that?



                              So I live in the Gulf area... so not too big of a deal with cold weather, but obviously rain/wet/humidity is a huge issue. They always seem furrier than the equine counterparts; will 100 degrees with 100% humidity be an issue? 50 degrees and 80% humidity in the winter?
                              Donkeys MUST have available shelter too (just like your horses, maybe even more so).... sigh.......

                              these long-ears are living, breathing creatures with BIG hearts.... VERY big hearts. and are "worthy" of good care.... they are probably more like a dog than a horse. they actually thrive on affection much more than a horse.

                              why would you consider separating a herd animal from his herd at night? leaving him all alone in the dark....... your donkey will probably wonder why he has been separated and left all alone while everyone else gets taken inside.. this could make him worry/aggressive/LOUD (unless you are willing to get 2 mini donks).

                              when donkeys (and mules) are treated well (this includes discipline and love), they become the absolute best animals on the planet (IMO)... but, if they are not treated well, they can go rank. and even a mini is VERY strong and can hurt (even kill) you, and your other pets.

                              There is a old saying: "you MUST treat a donkey/mule the way you SHOULD treat a horse".... they must have good manners, be disciplined and believed they are loved.

                              rule of thumb for me.. if it ever drops below 50 degrees and its raining, the donks get blanketed.. period... like I said before: they can get compromised in the cold/wet and are susceptible to lung worms

                              if you are not set up to have one (facilities, disagreeing neighbors, time), please dont get one. shelters are too full with unwanted donkeys right now...

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Good lord, I read the OP's last post as asking if the donkey should have his/her own stall, not that she was planning on leaving it alone outside with no shelter!

                                And, OP, my donkey and her beloved (a 16.2 TB) share a stall. They must, or the horse would lose his mind -- he cannot stand to be separated from her. She on the other hand, probably would be fine in her own stall, but we've never tried it.
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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Cool your jets, everyone, I was more asking whether they can get by with a shelter or something similar or if they're sensitive enough to require a stall. My three horses have various issues that require stalls at night (injuries, etc). And my horses get separated all the time; not everyone can go out as one big happy herd because of their issues.
                                  And did I ever say anything about not providing a shelter??? Absolutely not.

                                  ETA: pen where donkey would live is literally right next door to the open air barn, allowing the donk to even touch noses with horses over the wall.

                                  Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                                  And, OP, my donkey and her beloved (a 16.2 TB) share a stall. They must, or the horse would lose his mind -- he cannot stand to be separated from her. She on the other hand, probably would be fine in her own stall, but we've never tried it.
                                  This is an option that I was also thinking of. My ponies are dwarfed in their 11'X15' stalls, so if I get a mini donk and they fall in love, do others let them share a stall?

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by SMF11 View Post
                                    Good lord, I read the OP's last post as asking if the donkey should have his/her own stall, not that she was planning on leaving it alone outside with no shelter!



                                    So when you bring your horses into stalls (as I do at night), I assume the donkey has his own? That'll be a consideration because at this point I only have three stalls and three horses.
                                    THIS indicates to be that she would be bringing in 3 horses from the pasture, at night. leaving the donkey alone outside. A "shelter" and "company" out there would be a consideration for the donkey, would it not?





                                    Oh geez. While hilarious, I'm not sure my neighbors would like that very much... Any experience with that?
                                    a donkey separated from his herd would most likely bray all night. If neighbors would not like that, it would definitely be a consideration, would it not?

                                    there are too many donkeys in rescues and auctions these days. this is why these things are concern to me. my post was not intended to offend anyone. It was intended for the best interest of the animal... which, I guess would always be my priority
                                    Last edited by Jumpin_Horses; Feb. 5, 2013, 12:13 PM.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I've had standard donkeys for 17 years. Three were rescues and one was purchased from a breeder as a two year old (she's now 14). Over the years, as an old one became infirm and died, I replaced it so that none of my donks has ever been alone. I also have Shire horses, but their feelings for the donkeys isn't printable. My last rescue died in August and I determined to acquire a Baudet du Poitou companion for my 14 year old. I now have a 5 year old Poitou jennet imported from France, and a 10 months old Poitou jennet foal purchased from a zoological park conservation herd.

                                      When I first decided I wanted to share my life with donkeys, I attended an all-day course given by The Donkey Sanctuary, the world famous donkey charity with headquarters in Sidmouth, Devon, England, and refuges in many countries throughout the world. The Sanctuary's work in donkey welfare was initiated by the late Dame Elizabeth Svendsen, MBE, who devoted her life to the plight of donkeys worldwide. Through the Sanctuary, inroads in understanding the medical needs of equus asinus has provided the veterinary profession with invaluable information as to their husbandry (donkeys are NOT little horses with long ears). This is so much the case here in the UK that virtually all equine vets automatically contact the Sanctuary when faced with donkey clients.

                                      The Sanctuary has produced many books on donkey care. I would venture a guess that Amazon would be a good port of call for some of their literature.

                                      Owners of donkeys in the UK are encouraged to feed their charges a diet of ad lib barley straw. Easier said than done. My lot are fed very coarse hay in a slow feeder with barley straw as a base. They will always prefer the hay to the straw, though. They MUST have shelter from the rain and snow because their coats are not waterproof. Donkeys can harbour lungworm without symptoms (the parasite is not specifically dependent on cold, wet weather), so a well-considered and organised worming regime is a must for both donks and horses. A donkey must have a friend. The Sanctuary has an adoption service, but the donks are always adopted out in pairs, never as singles. I don't trust mine with my pet sheep because they have a tendency to chase the little woolies. As has been mentioned previously, some donkeys would rather kill a dog than befriend it.

                                      Regarding medical problems like colic...donkeys do not behave like horses in the throes of a colic attack. They are much more stoic than horses, so observation is key. If they have been off their feed for any length of time, hyperlipaemia is a very real threat. Basically, educate yourself before jumping in at the deep end, and DON'T think that because you have horses, having donkeys will be a breeze...they are very different from each other. But, they are delightful.

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                                      • #20
                                        So I live in the Gulf area... so not too big of a deal with cold weather, but obviously rain/wet/humidity is a huge issue.
                                        I live on the Gulf Coast as well. I body clip my mini donk in the summer as she has this unbelieveably thick coat. I leave hair on legs, face and ears. She loves it. I blanket her in winter and she loves her blanket too. We have a big run-in out in the pasture, but she has her own stall. Before I owned her, she shared a stall with the blind horse she was a companion for, and then the orphaned foal she babysat. If I didn't have room, I could stall her with her favorite mare and they would be fine. Here is a pic from our Halloween party of Miss Moneypenny:
                                        http://i1226.photobucket.com/albums/...ps5b951cc2.jpg

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