Talk to me about donkeys, please

Discussion in 'Equine' started by KnowOneSpecial, Oct 16, 2013.

  1. KnowOneSpecial

    KnowOneSpecial Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2010
    A friend of mine is moving off the farm to a house in a town closer to where her DH works. She has a 25 year old donkey that needs a home. We've already taken the mini donkey and he's the friendliest little guy you'd ever meet! Now she needs to rehome the big donkey and being the sucker I am, I'm strangely for it. Mostly because the mini and the big are bonded and the little guy cried a good chunk of the night for his lady.

    So what do I need to know about donkeys? I have goats so they will be in the same pasture together. I get that goats are caprine and donkeys are equine. So do I need to get a farrier out here? How do I care for her hooves? Does she need feed or is the pasture enough?

    Any other things I should know about?

  2. G. Seddon

    G. Seddon Well-Known Member Supporter

    May 16, 2005
    Very nice of you to give these two a good home; it sounds as if they've been together for a while and it would be best for both to stay together.

    Basically they require the same care as a horse except when it comes to grain (unless they're in dire straits, they don't need any grain). Worm them every 3-4 months (could be every 2 months) with equine paste dewormer (avoid Quest as it requires very precise dosage based on weight).

    Pasture or hay is probably enough, depending on their condition and what is available to them. Some have to be kept off grass at times because they'll gain too much weight or possibly founder.

    Teeth might need checking at some point; ours get their teeth floated about every other year. Vaccinations are done annually.

    Donkeys appreciate shelter to get out of icy, wet conditions; they prefer to come and go into a shelter as they please and not to be locked in a stall.

    Yes, donkeys need their hooves trimmed about every 10 weeks or so; donkey hooves are much smaller, more upright and more round than those of horses; they usually carry a much higher heel than a typical horse.

    Not sure how they'll adjust to your goats; I've never had goats so I've never had to deal with the combination. Donkeys CAN be very rough when they play and even the little ones could easily kill a goat. You may have to experiment and see how they adapt to sharing space with a goat.

    Here's a website that will have a lot of answers to your questions (American Donkey & Mule Association):

    I've got many articles and information bookmarked, so I'll see what I can find that about hoof trimming for you. A good farrier will be able to read what's needed and do it accordingly. Bear in mind that some farriers are automatically "anti-donkey" because the donkey owners haven't worked with the animals by handling their legs and picking up their feet.
    KnowOneSpecial likes this.

  3. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

    May 11, 2002
    Now in Virginia
    Be careful when putting donkey's in with your goats. I have heard more horror stories, about donkey's killing goats and sheep, than not.

    They need the same care as horses. As Seddon said.

    Yearly vaccines, the local Vet will know what ones are needed...
    Hoof trims, about every 8 weeks by a good farrier
    De worming, you can have the Vet do fecals.
    Being in a new to us area, the horse's are de-wormed every 8 weeks.

    Shelter from the weather, fresh water... good hay. Mineral/salt blocks.
    Be careful of rich green pastures, as it can cause them to build a crest and possibly founder.

    My wee Jenny, hated any wet or snow. If we had any snow... she would bray and bray until I came out with her orange blanket. LOL

  4. longhorngal

    longhorngal Well-Known Member Supporter

    Aug 3, 2005
    NE Oklahoma
    I have had good donkeys and bad donkeys! One I had picked up my mini gelding by the neck and ran off with him like some kind of donkeyzilla! Turned out not to hurt him but that donkey had to go! I have a mammoth one now that I've had about 6 weeks-she was extremely thin but has now packed on some weight and is a total sweety to everyone. Gets along with the goats, chickens, dogs, everything. Good luck with yours!
  5. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 6, 2004
    Michigan's thumb
    Donkeys form tight bonds with a best friend. I'm glad you are also taking the standard donkey.

    I'd put them adjacent to the goats and let them get used to each other. As G Seddon wrote, they do not need grain. My donkeys are fat from pasture only. In the summer I have the farrier out every 8 or 9 weeks. In the winter, 12 or 14 weeks as their hooves don't grow as much then. Make sure your farrier knows how to trim a donkey hoof.

    They will behave better for you if you do stuff with them. Go out and brush them. Ride the big fella, drive the little one. Train them to a target, etc.
  6. CountryCorner13

    CountryCorner13 Member

    Nov 14, 2013

    I'm new here and my two-cents may not be welcomed just yet. However, I too have goats and donkeys and I do not have them pastured together. As I was forming my mini barn/farm, I did much research and the horror stories I've read prevented me from forming one big pasture/stall for both species.
  7. DJ54

    DJ54 Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2013
    SE Central Ohio
    My boy Percy, is a Prince. Very protective of smaller animals, and even of my horses. Here is a picture of him guarding a perfect stranger to him goat that escaped from her makshift pen, due to some dogs. Some folks got a goat for a 4-H project for their young daughter. Some of her neighboring dogs running loose spooked her out of her flimsy little pen they had erected. She had been on the run for about 16 hours, when she found my horses and Donkey for protection. She actually collapsed on my front porch from exhaustion.

    I got a lead rope on her, and lead her into the front pasture, hoping someone might spot, and claim her. Knowing those large dogs roam the neighborhood loose, I brought in Percy to protect her. I lead him over to her, petting one, then the other. Both smelling each other. After 10 minutes, I left the pasture, but kept a close eye for the next hour. This is what I saw... After this, I dubbed my boy, "The Good Shephard".., LOL...

    If introduced slowly, and properly, I don't know if there will be a problem. All depends on their personality...

    On the other hand, I have the sweetest Tenn. Walker mare, but HATES goats. She kicked two of my Nubians, ending up with fatal results... Seems anything smaller (animals) than her, she does not have any tolerance for them.
  8. Muleman

    Muleman Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 8, 2013
    Donkeys are like people, there are good ones and bad ones. You said the big one was 25 years old. He honestly is probably not in that active adolescent period. I would be surprised if he had much interest in your goats, especially if you have a mini-donkey that he knows. Two donkeys will usually bond with each other and pay little attention to other animals. Yes, I could tell you stories of good donkeys and horror stories of bad donkeys, but the truth is none of these stories will tell you what your donkey will do. I would put the donkey in a pasture or pen next to the goats and watch them, then put them in with the goats when you can watch them and if all goes well you may be able to pasture them together with no problems. Many people do this with no issues. The worst thing you can do for a donkey is to overfeed them. A dry lot with free choice hay (cow quality grass hay, not alfalfa or high quality Bermuda, just native grass hay). A good farrier to trim the hooves. They will probably not need to be trimmed often, but an honest farrier will tell you what they really need, which depends on the individual and the condition of the terrain they are on.
    Maura likes this.
  9. Hossplay

    Hossplay Active Member

    Jul 21, 2012
    Donkeys are dry land foragers. The biggest mistake people make is putting them on green pasture or feeding them like they do horses. Donkeys founder very easily. Donkeys with huge fatty crests and fat pads on their backs are very common and these are characteristics of pre or post laminitis. They should do very well on grass hay. Their feet are of a different texture than horse feet and do not usually break off so hoof care is important or they will end up with tubes for hooves.
  10. Spamela

    Spamela Well-Known Member

    Nov 23, 2013
    I am new to posting on here too, but I will give my 2 cents from experience.

    Earlier this summer we got a little breeding trio, a jack and two jennies. The jack is a very nice fellow, pretty tame. We tried putting them in with our steers. We never had a problem with having them together except feeding time. The jack would just go crazy over the smell of grain. We tried seperating the steers and donkeys at feeding time but the jack would get kinda ornery when we tried to kick him out of the barn when he knew it was feeding time.

    Whenever there is not food involved he is a lamb. We finally had to seperate the steers and donkeys even tho we were really hoping to keep them together so we would only need one water tank/heater.

    As a side note, never having more than one equine at a time, I was surprised at how violent they are even between each other at feeding time, I have to have three seperate piles of hay for them. I think it is mainly the jack causing the problems.

    Not sure if we are going to keep him yet, but I don't know if we could find a nicer one since intack jacks have a bad reputation, and I wanted them to have some babies..

    So I would say if they get along during feeding time, you should be fine, cuz anyother time they will probably just ignore the goats since the two are already bonded and older. They are not going to be interested in playing with goats.

    O and I wouldn't give them free choice hay, when they were with the steers they pretty much had hay all day, and they would eat ALL day long and they were getting FAT. Many sites on mini donkeys say they only need one slice of hay a day. So now thats what they are getting and boy are they mad at me...
  11. cedarcreekranch

    cedarcreekranch Well-Known Member

    Nov 24, 2010
    We've had several donkeys here, starting with Betty. She was given to me because she was playing too rough with the calves at her former home (she was just 2 yr. then). I took her, gentled and halter broke her, turned her out with our goats, mini horses and geese and she loves them all. She's had 2 babies and they are the same way, I guess being raised with the other critters helps. However, that said, we've had 2 more intact jacks and both were absolutely the sweetest animals I've ever been around! They never bothered any of the smaller animals and loved people. A spotted jenny I bought at an auction settled right in, no trouble with anyone. A big jack gelding was in love with the cows and calves - he went to live with a lady who had trouble with dogs getting her poultry. He hated dogs, liked the chickens. None of my donkeys get anything but pasture or a round bale they share with the goats and ponies. Maybe a treat now and then but no grain or alfalfa. They are very smart - those we've had trouble with trimming feet we tie a foot up. After the one time, they almost all will stand and if they don't just throw a rope over their back and they will stand as if they have a foot tied. Very easy animals and I sure wouldn't worry too much about the goats. If they get mean, take them out. I love them - they are just sensible, smart, personable critters! :)