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  #1  
Old 12/30/12, 08:46 AM
 
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Location: Frozen in Michigan
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Mini horse or mini donkey?

This upcoming year I have two things going on. 1. I am buying 10 acres and 2. My Heifer will have her first calf. However, I am pulling the calf soon after birth and I want the calf to have a buddy that doesn't eat a whole lot. I have a few young daughters who are absolutely in love with the idea of a horse and a son who saw a mini donkey before and has wanted one ever since. I think when we go to the land for camping (probably most weekends) I want to take the calf with me for grazing (heifer is staying home and i will go back to milk her) But I was thinking of fencing in an area for pasture for our camping trips and taking the calf with us.
Would a mini horse protect the calf at night? we will only be sleeping 50 feet away from their pasture so if anything attacked at all, we will be right there so I dont know if protection is an issue or not. The calf will never be left alone. Here at home the calf will have a small pen as we have no pasture here.
I love the idea of the sound of a donkey around the place but at the same time, i love the manes of horses far more than mini donkeys. It is a bit easier to find mini horses but the prices are similar if I can find a mini donkey.

Can mini donkeys be as friendly for little girls (ages 6 and 8) as a mini horse? or would they be standoffish? Advice? is either better for our situation?

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  #2  
Old 12/30/12, 08:50 AM
 
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Not all horses/donkeys will get along with cattle ... especially a young calf. You would need to know that the particular animal you get will, in fact, get along with the calf rather than nip, kick, chase away from feed.

Protection ... probably not, horses tend to prefer flight to fight ... mini horse or donkey would likely be too small to be effective anyway.

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  #3  
Old 12/30/12, 08:54 AM
 
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what if the mini was a baby as well at the time? and thanks for answering about protection. Around here the only threats are dogs and coyotes. I guess I should have said that (big difference if we had bears or cougars as an issue) but I guess, now that i think of it, neither would be do much until full grown and even then, probably not a whole lot

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  #4  
Old 12/30/12, 09:16 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LittleRedHen View Post
what if the mini was a baby as well at the time? and thanks for answering about protection. Around here the only threats are dogs and coyotes. I guess I should have said that (big difference if we had bears or cougars as an issue) but I guess, now that i think of it, neither would be do much until full grown and even then, probably not a whole lot
You'd want to get a mini that was at least weaned, which would make him mentally 'tougher' than a baby calf to start with even if he wasn't bigger. And a weanling horse or donkey is untrained so with inexperienced kids lwho may do the wrong things they are likely to grow up to be spoiled/ problem animals.

As for dogs vs. minis I have known of more than one instance in which one to three dogs have injured/taken down a full grown mini.

I think it would be fine to get a well mannered, mature mini horse or mini donkey for the kids but I would not necessarily conclude that it would get along with the calf or that it would not require protection itself against anything big enough to be a risk to the calf.
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  #5  
Old 12/30/12, 09:28 AM
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I bought a 7 yr.old mini in spring of 2011 because of a coyote issue that sprang up . The issue resolved its self the day I brought Rosie home .I honestly can't say if it was because of her or not . My mailman tells me he saw Rosie kill a fox .I have seen her run off barn cats and when my dog is nearby she will follow him all the while keeping her face one inch away from his head . She went from being very shy to overly clingy ,in fact she does not like it when I pay attention to my other animals . I agree with SFm in Ky last sentence

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  #6  
Old 12/30/12, 09:30 AM
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What is going to protect the mini horse?

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  #7  
Old 12/30/12, 09:48 AM
 
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Location: Frozen in Michigan
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I would be sleeping in a tent a mere 50 feet from their pasture. At home there is no issues here. I just want to be woken up if there is a problem. I guess I could lock them into a shelter at night. I cannot built much due to land restrictions prior to living there but im sure i can build something small enough to avoid township problems but big enough for them

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  #8  
Old 12/30/12, 09:54 AM
 
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and yes i know they have to be weaned. I meant baby as in young- not as in newly born. Baby=young ---not 12+ years old with an attitude and abused over the years

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  #9  
Old 12/30/12, 10:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LittleRedHen View Post
and yes i know they have to be weaned. I meant baby as in young- not as in newly born. Baby=young ---not 12+ years old with an attitude and abused over the years
You can have issues going either way. I'm not as experienced with minis (horses or donkeys) as I am with horses and 'regular' ponies, though large minis and small ponies are very often pretty much one and the same.

I've had youngsters (weanlings 6 months old up to 18 months) that tested people with every step they took. You had to be watching everything you did with them, correct unwanted behavior instantly and firmly and make sure they stayed respectful and learned what was acceptable and what wasn't. Most youngsters will do this, some are much more inclined to test and push than others and all of them will do things that are not desirable if you allow it to happen. This is why children, especially inexperienced children, can actually *teach* a young horse or pony so many bad habits so quickly. They start feeding bits of green grass because they want to be good to the pony. Pretty soon pony expects green grass every time they arrive. Kids don't have any green grass, pony nips, annoyed. Kids go away ... or find green grass to give pony ... pony wins ... and learns nipping gets it what it wants.

Two of the best mannered small ponies/ minis I have ever had were 2 years old and 5 years old respectively. Both these animals had been raised by experienced horse people and had never been around children.

Older horses/ponies can have issues if they have not been properly handled, either attitude from not being firmly taught what is allowed and what isn't (see scenario with kids and nipping above) or from abuse. I will say, however, that I have seen many more ponies that were difficult because of learned attitude and inadequate training and discipline than I have seen difficult because of abuse.

I've been around horses and ponies all my life and I have always advised potential buyers with children that are not experienced to not consider young, untrained animals. There is just too much that can go wrong. They may be harder to find, but an older, reliable animal is much the safest option.
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  #10  
Old 12/30/12, 11:01 AM
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For a kids pet mini donkey all the way. Mini horses seem to need constant corrections.

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  #11  
Old 12/30/12, 11:04 AM
 
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Thank you very much for your advice. I will heavily keep it in mind!!

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  #12  
Old 12/30/12, 11:28 AM
 
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I am not an expert on either except for this story: My Papa has raised Angus cows for years and years w his brother. His brothers daughter wanted a donkey (full_ size) so he kept it in the pasture w the cows. Everything was fine until the cows started calving. The Jack killed three calves. I was confused bc I thought donkeys protected livestock. Dad told me that really they attack anything different, which can be good if it is a predator. I would get a mini if you want a mini but wouldn't look to it as protection.

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  #13  
Old 12/30/12, 11:32 AM
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For a kids pet mini donkey all the way. Mini horses seem to need constant corrections.
Ah yes that is so true. Who can resist something like this so huggable?

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  #14  
Old 12/30/12, 12:44 PM
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For a kids pet mini donkey all the way. Mini horses seem to need constant corrections.
I agree...
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  #15  
Old 12/30/12, 03:20 PM
 
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I have two mini donkeys, one is 34" the other 36", so they are at the big end of mini. When there is a threat, such as dogs, the sheep would all pile up behind the two donkeys. The donkeys positioned themselves between the sheep and the dogs. They will defend the herd to the best of their abilities.

There are coydogs around here who could easily jump my el fence. We only know they are here because the neighbors across the road have found fawns and grown deer buried their garden. Last year one of my sheep had a boo boo and had gone to the shelter by herself. She was killed, much blood on the shoulders, easily seen on white wool. She was not eaten at all. I believe because when she was attacked the donkeys came to her rescue and frightened off the dogs/coyotes/coydogs.

Unlike horses, when donkeys are vocal they are very vocal. Their braying is loud and if you are fifty feet away you will hear it. I did get my mini donkeys when they were young, 4 months and 7 months, so they accepted the sheep as part of their herd. You either need a foal, or a donkey that has been around cattle and accepts them. Get a jennet or two.

Pound for pound a donkey is stronger than a horse. If you get either, get a little two wheeled cart to train her with before putting a saddle on.

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  #16  
Old 12/30/12, 04:49 PM
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Having had both, with kids around I would say mini donkey, and I would get the smallest one I could find with a good temperment.
There is a difference between donkey and horse behavior. Horses and personal space can be an issue with kids. Donkeys are naturally touchy feely in your space critters so if a kid is hanging all over them it isnt going to cause as many behavioral problems from the animal as it may with horse. Donkeys also seem to be a little more aware of where other critters are around them, more sure footed.
If the donkey is a very small one, and say a yearling, its size alone will give the calf higher ground, as the calf will be bigger in a few months.

I had a donkey and a haflinger at the same time, that haflinger killed anything that came into the pasture. I even found cottontails dead in her shed. The donkey didnt mind animals at all, weird.

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  #17  
Old 12/30/12, 06:44 PM
 
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I think it'd be better to get an older mini that you know is comfortable with cattle than to get a young horse.

Our neighbor has a Shetland pony mare. I cannot tell you how quickly that thing runs. She chases the neighbor's bulls like nobody's business.
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  #18  
Old 12/30/12, 08:30 PM
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Mini donkey would be better. Mini ponies tend to run rather than guard. Donkeys stand their ground more, but both types of minis are almost in as much need of being guarded as the critter they're guarding. I like the temperament of donkeys, but I prefer horses.

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  #19  
Old 12/30/12, 10:06 PM
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Talking

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  #20  
Old 12/31/12, 07:20 AM
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We have had mini horses and mini donkeys. I have to say the horses were more fun to brush. However every donkey I've had (we've had standard size too) was generally just more lovable/huggable then a horse.
I have met donkeys that weren't..but the ones we've had are all sweethearts. We've had 2 jacks in the past and currently have 2 mini jennets.
Our older donkey did grab one of my goats and pin her to the ground by her neck though. Not a mark on the goat but it was a horrible sound and I don't trust the donkey with the goats anymore.

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  #21  
Old 12/31/12, 11:11 AM
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Just because you pick up an older animal, doesn't mean it's been abused and unless you have training skills, it might be a good idea to consider something that has some training.

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  #22  
Old 12/31/12, 11:26 AM
 
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Our older donkey did grab one of my goats and pin her to the ground by her neck though. Not a mark on the goat but it was a horrible sound and I don't trust the donkey with the goats anymore.
This was before my time but DH raised minis when he lived in NH, stallion had his separate paddock with a little 'hill' that was his and he played king of the hill with. DH also had a pygmy goat. The goat could get out of anything and kept insisting he was going out with the minis ... stallion was NOT pleased and when he got into his paddock and got up on his hill.

DH said the stallion grabbed the goat by the back of the neck and packed him over to the gate, like a mother cat with a kitten, and spat him out at the gate. Not a mark on the goat but DH said he'd never heard such squalling.
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  #23  
Old 01/01/13, 10:58 AM
 
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Oh my that photo of a mini donkey sure makes my heart melt! I will keep my eyes out for a mini donkey and do a lot of testing to make sure its the right one. One with cow experience and children... and that has been taken care of.

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  #24  
Old 01/01/13, 07:07 PM
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Donkeys and Mules are a bit different to handle.

And I wouldn't recommend a young donkey, being around young kids or baby animals.
Baby donkeys can be very feisty, and like to chase things around.
And if the animals they chase run.. .. it normally doesn't end well.

If you want to go the donkey route, buy a mature Jenny or gelding, one that has been handled, has good manners and raised around cattle.

My jenny was a sweet heart with people, but I made sure she had manners.
She was a stinker to anything that was smaller than her. She would attack them.

The mini mare I have now, is pretty good with most stock. Most she will do is shake her head at them.
She is just wonderful and have owned her a long time.

You could also look into an gelded Alpaca, they are smaller and the trained ones tend to be gentle.
And goat wethers can make good pets too... and folks pack with them.

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