Many farm owners choose to add a donkey to their herd for a variety of reasons. Not only do they make great protectors, but they also have good temperaments and are considered hardy. While they’re similar to horses, you should be aware of their unique requirements. It’s important to do your research before adding any new animals to your farm.

Tips for New Donkey Owners

1. They need friends: Whether with another donkey or a horse, most thrive on companionship. They are social creatures that enjoy playing, eating and sleeping near others. A lonely one can become very destructive. They may pace, destroy fencing, act pushy or constantly holler.

2. Proper shelter: Your donkey is likely to be hardier than your horse. They usually do perfectly well with 24/7 turnout and no blankets. You should offer a covered shelter though! This can be an open stall or three-sided run-in. Make sure your fencing is safe, as well. You should never fence in your pasture with barbed wire, rather use wood, electric or mesh.

3. Feed them correctly: Unfortunately, they’re prone to overeating. An overweight donkey will have fat deposits on their neck and rump. They do best on a high fiber, low protein hay. Most of them don’t need grain. A slow feeder net can be helpful in slimming an overweight donkey down. Furthermore, clean drinking water should be offered at all times.

4. Keep them healthy: Your donkey will have a variety of health needs. These include getting their hooves trimmed, having their teeth checked, de-worming them and getting routine vaccines. You should pay particular attention to your donkey’s normal behavior, so you can identify when they’re acting off.

5. Training: These clever animals think slightly different than your average horse. They can’t be bullied into listening, rather patience and kindness is key! Your donkey should know basic commands. This will make handling them easier. It also simulates their mind and keeps them active.

Owning a donkey is a rewarding experience! These tips will hopefully set you in the right direction.

Don’t forget to check out: 5 Ways Donkeys Are Different From Horses