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Basic Donkey Needs & Care
















Whatever your reason for owning a Miniature Mediterranean Donkey, meeting the physical and mental needs of this fine creature will basically be the same. At minimum, your donkey will need the following:

-A companion. Donkeys are herd-bound creatures, and will need a pasture pal. Another donkey is the very best option. When I was first looking at donkey ownership, I thought this was just want crazy donkey owners advised. Turns out, they were right, and I was wrong! Provide a friend for your miniature donkey. 

-Shelter. Three walls and a roof will do just fine. A place where your donkey can escape the elements is essential to their health. Keep it clean, dry, well-ventilated, and free of muck. (8'x10' is a good size for a pair of minis.) 

-Fencing. A defined space for donkey to roam and get exercise. Donkeys are risk-averse creatures, and seldom roll the dice on what might happen if they escape. Electrified fence will protect them from outside intruders (think ferrel dogs, coyotes, etc.)  Beauty and function have always been my taste, so I prefer live-edge fence rails and treated posts to woven-wire or field fence. But that's me. Just make sure your fence is taller then donkey's withers (>36"). Amount of fenced area should be dependent on your herd size. Some people like a huge, green pasture. Others rely on a dry lot (a.k.a. paddock) and choose to expand as they see fit. 

-Hay, Water, and Mineral Block. In the off-season, or where pasture is minimal, serve up some grass hay to your mini donkey. 2 flakes per donkey per day is my rule of thumb. Keep in mind that they are desert creatures, and their nutritional requirements are very different from other farm animals and equine. So avoid alfalfa and other rich hay. I chose not to feed grain to my herd, and I use treats only when training them. Be careful not to overfeed your donkey! Obese donkeys are not healthy donkeys. Consult your vet about how to keep your focus on body condition.Access to clean water is must. Refresh it every day, and don't let it freeze in the winter. A 5-gallon bucket set inside an old tire is an affordable way to present water to donkey. Daily hauling will also keep your arms and core muscles in decent shape. (Win!) 

A salt block and granulated trace minerals are also a need. Like water, keep these available at all times. 

-Hoof Trims. Find a farrier who will come to your farm to trim your donkey's hooves every 8-12 weeks. A good farrier is one of your most important assets. He'll teach you to pick-out donkey's hoof, which will help you stay in tune with donkey's health and will also give you a chance to work closely and directly with your donkey. Your vet will likely have a list of local farriers to recommend. 

-Vaccinations and Deworming. If you come from hardy stock and like to get in on the action, giving your own vaccines and dewormings may be something you can grow into. Check with your vet, who can teach you how to administer them. Our schedule looks like this:

Deworming: Ivermectin in Dec., March, & Sept.; Fenbendazole in June.

Vaccinations: 1x/yr for Rabies, Encephalomyelitis, Rhinopneumonitis, Strangles, Tetanus, and West Nile.

(Foals and Pregnant Jennets need boosters and additional care. Talk to your vet or breeder.) 

-Basic Tack and Grooming Materials. Good breeders will send your new donkey home with a properly fitted halter and lead rope. A dandy brush and curry comb can be picked up at your local farm supply store. Donkeys love, love, love a good brushing, and if you have kids around, you might end up bickering with them about whose turn it is to brush donkey - theirs or yours! 

-Your time and Attention. Enjoy your donkey! Spend time grooming them, watching them, leading them, petting them, or even training them to do tricks (like smiling!) or pull a cart. Your time-freedom and willingness to work with your donkey are the only limits on what kind of life they have on your farm. Being around your donkey, you'll very soon discover that each one has a defined personality! Miniature donkeys are intelligent, interested creatures that will take delight in your presence almost as much as you take delight in theirs. Don't miss out!

For more information, please visit

National Miniature Donkey Association at

American Donkey & Mule Society at

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