Miniature donkeys have to be the most gentle, loving, and people-friendly equine in existence.
After years of owning horses and ponies, we were amazed at just how calm and easy to manage
miniature donkeys are. Having a herd of miniature donkeys in your backyard is wonderful
therapy - nothing soothes your nerves better after a stressful day than hearing a chorus
of donkey brays! They just have a relaxing way about them that is difficult to put into
Miniature donkeys are very easy keepers. We have found that it is not necessary to grain
the donkeys, with the exception of weanlings and pregnant/nursing jennets. Our pastures
are more than sufficient during summer and fall, and during the winter and spring we provide
alfalfa/grass hay, or straight timothy depending on what is available at that time. Miniature
donkeys will get very heavy if fed too much, so you really have to be careful. It is just
as un-healthy for a donkey to be overweight as it is for one to be malnourished.
We provide a constant mineral salt supplement to all of our donkeys. We also provide a selenium
block in all pastures since discovering we are in a selenium deficient area of the country.
It is also necessary to provide fresh drinking water at all times. Donkeys are not like
horses when it comes to drinking - a horse will drink out of a filthy water tub without
hesitation, but we've found the donkeys will not. They prefer a clean bucket or tub of fresh
water. On our farm, we have a mix of water sources. One pasture has a stream running through
as its water source. Another has an automatic waterer that provides a constant supply of
fresh cool water. Remaining pastures are handled "the old fashioned way"...running
water from a hose or pump into tubs or buckets.
donkeys are vaccinated yearly with a 5-way vaccination, and a separate E-Se (Selenium and
Vitamin E) booster. They are also wormed every three months, usually with zimectrin, ivermectin,
equimectrin or strongid. We use panacur for weanlings. Our weanlings are vaccinated soon
after being weaned from their mothers, which is between 4 and 5 months of age. All babies
are handled from day one, and will have been halter broken, started with leading, and many
will have had their first hoof trimming experience before leaving our farm. We've also begun
giving newborn foals selenium injections to further ensure their good health and muscular
donkeys are very sociable creatures. They buddy up in pairs, or even in groups of three,
and will go to the earth's end to stay with their best friends! We've found they get very
upset if separated, so we try to keep the girls with their best buddy, or buddies, at all
times if at all possible. Because of this strong need to be with other equine, we will not
knowingly sell one single, lone donkey without equine companion(s) waiting for them at your
home. Everyone needs a best friend, even your new donkey! Donkeys thrive when allowed to
live with other donkeys. A single, lone donkey is a lonely donkey, and should be avoided
if at all possible.
you just want a pet...
you are interested in owning a donkey as a pet, the best-case scenario for you would be
to own two little gelded jacks. They will give you a lifetime of happiness with their amusing
behavior. Geldings are easy to handle, make perfect, gentle pets, and are less expensive
to purchase than jennets. If you are dead set on owning just one donkey, it is possible
to buddy one up with a horse, pony, or even a goat I'm told. Here at Shorecrest Farms we've
successfully pastured donkeys with horses and with ponies. I do prefer separating them when
I can, though, as they just seem happier with their own kind!
you are looking to purchase your first miniature donkey, take your time, do some research
and compare donkeys from farm to farm! If you do your homework, you'll have the best chance
of finding the donkey that is right for you and your family, whether you are interested
in a pet quality, show quality, or breeding quality donkey. The more you know about miniature
donkeys before you buy, the better for you and the donkey!
you're new to miniature donkeys,
you should know:
Jennet - Is a female donkey
Jack - Is an unaltered
male donkey who has superior conformation, overall build, disposition and pedigree which
makes him a candidate for becoming a quality herd-sire.
- Is a male donkey that has been castrated so that he cannot, will not, and does not want
to reproduce! (Geldings make the BEST and most economical pets!)
- This is a donkey baby from the time it is born until the time it is weaned from its mother.
Weanling - A young donkey that has been separated from its mother
(a weanling will be anywhere from 4-5 months old to one year old)
Yearling - A young donkey who is between one and two years of age.
If you're new to donkeys,
you REALLY should know...
A miniature donkey does not reach maturity until the age of 3. This is
important to know! Jennets should never be bred prior to the age of 2 ½ to 3 years old because
of this very reason. They need time to grow and mature, both physically and mentally before
A miniature donkey jennet will carry her foal for 11 to
13 months on average.
A miniature donkey foal averages between 19
& 25 pounds at birth, and between 18 & 25 inches in height.
Foals are weaned from their mothers from 4 to 6 months of age.
most common color for a miniature donkey is gray-dun. Other colors include various shades
of brown, black, spotted, sorrel and frosted spotted white.
expectancy for miniature donkeys is anywhere from 25 - 35+ years, making donkey ownership
an important lifelong commitment!
The average adult donkey will
weigh between 250-350 pounds.
The average height of a mature miniature
donkey is 32 - 34" at the withers. The maximum height for a miniature donkey is 36"
at the withers. Extremely small jennets (those around 30" and under) can have trouble birthing
foals due to their small size.
Miniature donkeys need to have their
hooves trimmed just like other equine. Normally, if you keep them on an 8-12 week schedule,
they do just fine. Some donkey's hooves grow faster than others, and they also seem to grow
at a faster rate than horses. Allowing your donkey's hooves to grow excessively without
proper attention could easily cause them extreme pain and harm their leg structure.
Miniature donkeys also need to be wormed just like their equine counterparts. Worming every
2-3 months is normally sufficient.
Miniature donkeys need shelter
in a barn or a 3-sided shelter in order to be able to get in from rain, wind, snow and even
extreme sunshine in the summer months. They CANNOT survive without shelter of some sort!
Miniature donkeys need to be provided with enough pasture to be
able to run and play and get exercise.
All miniature donkeys really
want in life is your love and attention!
We hope this information
has helped you in your search of miniature donkey knowledge! If you have questions we've
not addressed here, please don't hesitate contacting one of us for some answers. We'll do
our very best to answer your questions, and if we don't know the answers, we'll try to refer
you to someone else who may!