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kidsncritters

Donkey As A Companion

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We have a retired show QH with navicular at home in our pasture/dry lot. He goes nuts by himself to the point where we can't leave him by himself. Borrowed our 22 yr old, old pony for the winter. Worked great. Where ever the pony is Dream is. Problem- pony needs to go back to his home to get ready for the show season. We have other horses that we ride all the time at a stable with an indoor arena. Could bring one of them home but when we leave for show- Dream would be all alone again so it would solve nothing.

Thought about a goat but we don't have goat safe fencing so the goat would wander all over and Dream would try to follow.

What about a mini donkey? Are they good companion animals for a horse? How much to they eat? Grain? How does one take care of their feet? They will stay inside an electric fence correct?

Thanks for the education. Any other thoughts on a companion animal would be great too. NO more horses though. We have all we can keep up on now.

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I don't have a whole lot of experience with this but I know my old trainer got a mini for her 16.3h warmblood mare. it was so funny b/c they were in love with each other, the mini would walk under her belly and try and nibble on her neck...but he could only reach up to her elbow, haha! Kept her company. :)

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My neighbors' daughter has an older horse, just one horse. They knew he'd be lonely, so they got a donkey after a friend recommended it as a companion. Worked great. The donkey is very protective of the horse until he gets to know you. Then he wants scratched. LOL

One thing to think about is you need to WORK with a donkey, just like you would with a horse, maybe even more, or it could become a nuisance or uncontrollable. If you get a full-size donkey, get one that is broke to ride and you can work it on the ground and/or under saddle. If you get a mini, do groundwork regularly with it. A disrespectful donkey is not a pretty sight.

To answer your question, yes... a donkey can be a good companion. I've never had one, though, so can't tell you about their feed requirements. I know there are others here who can and I'm certain they will contribute their knowledge.

Good luck! Post pics if you get a donkey. :smilie:

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I had a donkey as a companion for my horse. Worked really well. I had to get rid of him cause he was putting off bad habits towards my yearling. Plus, he couldn't ever touch him, get near him, and he was a stud as well. Never showed the habits though. He went to a good home with a bunch of mares. Lol

Both of them were real good buds, played in the pasture and always next to each other. So, Yes, it's a good idea, haha.

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Donkeys are amazing companions. They are extremely intelligent, so you have to make sure they know you are in charge. They're sort of like kids, they always have to try their limits. Once you've gained their trust and respect though, they will do absolutely anything for you. They form very strong bonds with whomever or whatever they are with. I volunteer at a donkey sanctuary, and I am quite confident that any and every one of them would happily trample anyone or anything that posed a threat to me. They are excellent babysitters, and are used by some breeding farms as Nannies for weanlings.

Donkeys don't eat a lot, they don't handle lots of sugars and protein very well. Lesser quality grass hay is all that is necessary for them. Unless very old, or ill, donkeys don't require, and shouldn't be fed any grain of any type. If your gelding gets grained, tossing a handful of carrots into a bucket for the donkey will keep him happy and busy while your gelding eats.

As far as hoof care, most donkeys are fine with whatever trimming schedule you have for your horses. Mine is on a 6-8 week schedule right now, but, like horses, it depends on the animal. In winter, when growth slows down, they normally go about 10 weeks at the sanctuary between trims. Make sure your farrier is knowledgeable about doing donkey feet, as they are shaped a bit differently. Their feet have a steeper slope than horses.

I would suggest a small standard size donkey, as minis seem to be a bit more problematic, IME. I think it may be short guy syndrome [Crazy]

Donkeys, as I mentioned, are very intelligent. If they know where home is, and they respect boundaries, keeping them is is no issue. Some donkeys love the challenge of escaping, so if your fencing is less than perfect, a donkey will find his way out, however they are opportunists, so they won't work too hard to get out. Open gate, donkey will be out exploring, lower section of fence, unless it's low enough to step over without effort, donkey will ignore it and stay in his safe, happy pasture with his buddy. When donkey bonds to buddy, even if donkey gets out, if buddy can't or doesn't, donkey will stay with buddy, maybe just on the other side of the fence to prove to you that he can get out. Before my horse passed, the BO regularly left the gates open, but neither animal ever left their field unless they were led or called out. I went one time, and both boys were standing beside the open gate, with their heads over the fence asking to come in.

I love donkeys, and personally feel that everyone with livestock should have one for protection from predators. They are very adaptive and extremely smart.

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Thanks for all the feedback. Sounds like it might be a good option for us. Dream gets very attached so it sounds like they could be best of friends. Are mares easier than geldings?

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Jennets (Females) are usually more protective than geldings. Gelding donkeys are pretty much like gelding horses. More laid back. As far as companionship, both are great. I would suggest an older, more mature animal, as a youngster may just irritate your gelding. Donkeys have an extremely long life span, if cared for properly, the oldest I've personally known was 42.

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If you get a donkey get one already totally docile and friendly with people who is good to load, lead, feet, shots, worming, etc.

Donkeys don't train like a horse, they are much more challenging to teach because they are way smarter and can out manoever a human better than a horse can, so TRAINED and friendly is what you HAVE to have to avoid all kinds of issues with your new donkey.

They normally HATE dogs and goats so watch those animals don't go in with your Donkey, especially at first. Most donkeys, once they know an animal belongs there won't kill it. My eartha didn't care, she wanted to kill the small goats so I had to get rid of her, since that was the point of getting her; to guard goats.

Take ALL of GeneralMyBaby's advice to heart. It's all spot on. NO grain and low quality hay. They live off scrub in the desert so they will get sick and/or over fat on high quality feed. Once a donk gets a roll of fat on their crest. It's ugly and almost impossible to get rid of.

But, don't forget, some horses hate donkeys and mules. I know a couple horses like that. So, introduce them slowly. Don't just throw the donk in there.

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What about a mini horse? Feed wise, they're the same as donkeys. Little to no sugars, no grains, etc.. ???

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we have three mini jennys and a bun in oven in our pasture with the cows...they are so great...best $$ my brother ever spent.

We have a ...I can't remember what ya' call her but she is a mule ( but a donkey mama, not a mare) She is great too...behaves like a donkey....

They are characters.....get two or three if you can....try to only get jennys....I heard jacks are pushy so we got girls instead....worked out great.

They mark territory...and mark over another's mark...like big game cats in Africa....so strange.

They kick coyote BUTT...big time.....

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I have a Mini Donkey, Elsa Mae, in with my horses. She wants to be given wormer, comes over begging to have the halter put on, always wants to be touched. She's good for the farrier and leads fairly well. They do well on low quality hay. She hates the rain and the mud. It was hard for her to get around when there was 2' of snow on the ground. The horses accept her. The mares are protective of her. She's " the baby" to them.

The only issue I have with her is that she likes to stand next to you, whatever you are doing, and gets in the way sometimes. Love her to death!!

I think they make a great companion.

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I have 2 mini donkey's now. I agree with all that's been said, but I really don't think a Jack or Jennet makes a difference. EXCEPT, that I wouldn't keep a jack a jack, mine are cut. Even when my little guy was still "all there", he was a sweetie. We keep ours separate because the young one loves to play rough, and the horses are a bit too big for him. I think the right donkey is a great companion, and they are the most amazing animals you'll find. Mine are good with kids too, my son plays with them alot.

I have the most trouble with their feet. We couldn't get any grass hay, and only had good alfaha this year (usually a good thing!). I am having a terrible time with feet this year, but am working on fixing that too. They can founder easily, and don't need grain! But, all of that has already been covered.

Make sure to post pictures, they're just adorable!

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