Caring for your Donkey
Before you decide to adopt a donkey, it is important to know the basics of how to take care of them. First of all, it's good to know that becoming a donkey owner is hard work! This page will give you a good idea of what it will look like caring for a donkey. Please make sure you always reach out to a vet to double check that what you're doing is right or if you have any concerns about your donkey!
Do you have a donkey for working purposes? Please scroll down to the bottom of this page to check out the DO's and DONT's!
Finding the right Donkey
First of, you need to think about why you are getting a donkey. Are you looking to breed donkeys, use them as a working donkey or are you looking for a pet? Castrated male donkeys are called geldings and females are called jennies. Non castrated male donkeys go by the name of jack. It is not recommended to get a jack if you are not looking to breed.
If you can, always consider getting more than 1 donkey since donkeys are very sociable animals. If donkeys are left by themselves for too long, they can feel alone and sad. When a donkey is surrounded by others, they feel much happier!
Important note: if two donkeys have been living together for a while, they must not be separated, this can cause a high amount of distress.
Living space for your Donkey
Make sure your donkeys have a proper shelter since they really struggle when they get wet since their coats don't cope well with water. Once it starts raining, your donkey will look for shelter, it is advised that your shelter has hard floors to avoid exposure to damp which can have a negative impact on their hoofs. Adding some warmth and comfort by adding straw/hay is recommended.
If your donkey lives in colder climates, a barn is advised for winter times. The barn should be big enough for the donkey to move around to make sure it gets enough exercise.
Your donkeys need lots of grazing areas to roam around and graze. Donkey's main activity during the day is grazing so it's really important there is enough grass around for them to graze all day long. You can also keep your donkey grazing in a paddock, as long as there is plenty of grass!
Clean your donkeys shelter/paddock minimum every other day. Remove all waste and spray down the walls if necessary. If your donkeys are grazing in a fenced off area, please ensure the fence is secure because your donkey may try and escape. Recommended is having a fence that is up to your donkeys shoulders height.
Keeping your Donkey healthy
General Health and Grooming
Recommended is to check your donkeys behaviour, appetite and thirst, faeces and urine, eyes, nose, coat and skin every day! If any of those mentioned above are abnormal, please contact your vet.
Donkeys don't need to be bathed, brush your donkeys hair every day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Check your donkeys hooves regularly, try to keep them dry and they should be trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks.
An equine dentist should check your donkey's teeth once year, if your donkey has a problem eating, check your donkey's mouth and if needed, contact a equine vet. Please ensure you keep your vaccinations up to date, your vet should be able to assist you on when your donkey is due for it's next shot. Besides vaccinations, regular deworming and dipping is extremely important. Recommended is to dip and deworm your donkey every 3 months.
Always ensure your donkeys have enough space to roam and exercise. If they are kept in an overnight shelter or paddock, make sure they get enough time during the day to roam and graze outside.
The same counts for donkeys as for human beings, maintaining a healthy diet is extremely important. Poor diets or lack of nutrition can cause illness and/or diseases.
Donkeys need to be fed food that has a high source of fibre but low from sugar, straw/hay is a good example of this. Avoid feeding your donkey oats, wheat and corn as this can cause obesity and other diseases. Donkeys prefer to munch on their food all day, which is better than providing them with large meals. Make sure there is always plenty of grass for your donkeys to eat.
If you want to treat your donkey, only give treats that are save for them like carrots, apples, bananas and turnips are fine for your donkey to eat. Don't forget donkeys are vegetarian so never feed your donkey meat! Besides food, fresh and clean water should be provided at all times.
If your donkey is not feeling well, supplements might be needed. Please ask your vet for assistance.
Rules to keep your donkeys healthy and strong!
Use correctly fitted and comfortable harnesses
Give your donkey water at regular times
Let your donkey eat plenty of grass
Rest in between work, 2 days on = 1 day off
Dip and deworm your donkey every 3 months
Check for ticks regularly
Use a wooden ox-yoke, ever!
Beat, kick, punch or hit your donkey
Overload your cart, max 200kg per donkey