FOR THE NEW MINIATURE DONKEY OWNER
IT'S EASY TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR MINIATURE DONKEY WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO !
Updated 10-24-08 - Thank you for visiting!
1. SPEAK THE LINGO
Jack: Male (not castrated)
Foal: Baby donkey
Gelding: Castrated male
Mule: The offspring of a jack with a mare (female horse)
Hinny: The offspring of a stallion (male horse) with a jennet
Imprint: Positive human interaction at birth (Never forgotten by a donkey foal)
Withers: Point at the shoulder where the neck meets the back (this is the point at which height is measured)
2. WEIGH YOUR DONKEY WITH A WEIGHT TAPE
A weight tape can be purchased at www.horse.com or your local tack shop.
200 - 350 pounds -- Adult
20 - 40 pounds -- Newborn (weight and height vary)
3. CHART YOUR DONKEY'S HEIGHT (A YARDSTICK AND CROSS STICK WILL WORK)
Adult: 28 - 36 inches at the withers (average height 33")
Newborn: 18 - 22 inches at the withers (approximate average birth height 20 1/2")
3. FEED YOUR DONKEY
Spring, summer, and fall pasture for your donkey will provide plenty of grass fiber.
During winter months, provide quality hay (wet, moldy, or very course hay is unsafe).
Or if you do not have pasture, provide hay daily.
Coastal hay is an excellent choice to provide fiber, nourishment, and keep weight at a norm.
Avoid anything very rich (peanut, alfalfa, etc.)
Provide continuous access to fresh, clean water and a trace mineral block with selenium
(not a liquid, paste, or pill selenium supplement). The donkey will lick the block when her body needs the selenium.
Give small amounts, about 3/4 cup of grain 1x or 2x daily.
Some donkeys may become overweight and/or founder just like their horse cousins, while others
including nursing jennets, may need a little extra grain.
A selenium salt-block type supplement is needed in Florida because the soil is selenium deficient. (Tractor Supply)
Some parts of the country do not require a selenium supplement. However, it is a fine balance that must be struck.
Do not give liquid supplement without vet recommendation.
Selenium deficiencies can cause mild to severe problems, especially in foals. Too much can be poisonous.
"Equine that are overdosed with selenium even once can develop acute selenium poisoning." -- ASSET
MAGAZINE, Issue no 22
"Selenium is considered a trace mineral, one that the body needs in small amounts." -- HOBBY FARMS
MAGAZINE, "Selenium Shortfall", Dr. Aaron Tangeman, Sept/Oct 2006, P26-27
Check with your vet if you are concerned or don't know if your area is selenium deficient.
4. SHELTER YOUR CRITTERS
Miniature Donkeys require some shade and shelter (a 3-sided shed or lean-to) for severe weather.
White, cream, or spotted donkeys do better with more shade trees because their noses
and faces can easily sunburn (just like people). I have found some white or spotted donkeys whose skin may be irritated
by sunshine will rub their noses on trees and fences to relieve itching, causing a bald nose.
Miniature Donkeys are known to be strong, hardy animals, however, they require annual vaccinations.
Our vet recommends the following:
Eastern/Western Encephalitis (2X/year)
West Nile Virus (annually)
Rhinopneumonitis and Influenza vaccines may also be given. As always, please check with your vet.
All equines must have proper health papers, including a negative Coggins test, to cross a state line.
Check with your vet to help with the correct paperwork required by your state.
6. TRIM THEIR HOOVES
You or your farrier may regularly trim and take care of your donkey's hooves. If you choose to trim your donkey's
hooves, you should first be trained in proper hoof care. If you prefer to use a farrier, visits should be scheduled to trim
your donkey's hooves every three to four months (12 weeks is average) or as needed.
Farrier or not, use a hoof pick to gently pick out your donkey's feet on a regular basis, especially when the ground
remains wet. This keeps your donkey used to hoof care so the trims are not scary to her.
Check for cracks and chips in the hoof wall and for thrush in the foot (easily detected by strong smell when picking out).
If you say "Whew, that smells!", your donkey has thrush, which is easily treated.
Thrush is a bacterial infection of the donkey's frog, which means the tissue of the frog becomes soft,
ragged, and very smelly. Avoid thrush by keeping your donkey's feet dry and picked out regularly.
A home remedies that works well is asking your donkey to step into a shallow pan of iodine or diluted bleach.
Yes, they will do this for you! Donkeys are very cooperative, contrary to what you may hear.
Treatments may also be purchased at the feed store.
White Line Disease is also common in donkeys and can be very severe if not caught and treated. It is the combination of
a fungus and a bacteria that live and grow under the hoof wall. The best cure is getting air to the affected area. If
concerned, speak to your farrier who should be able to diagnose and treat these.
Any on-going foot problems should be always referred to your farrier.
7. WORM YOUR DONKEYS
Donkeys must be on a regular worming program for good health.
Pasture clean-up can reduce worm infestation in your donkey.
Worm in January, April, June, August, and October every year, no matter how good your donkey looks.
An even more effective method recommended by our vet is to do a
follow-up dose (same product and dose) ten days after the first worming.
Ivermectin (paste or liquid) and Safeguard are well-known products and are considered safe.
Rotating wormers is very effective.
Our vet does not recommend Quest for donkeys.
Some websites list Quest and Combo Care as the same product but sold under different labels.
Please check with your vet before purchasing wormers.
8. PROVIDE COMPANIONSHIP -- OH SO IMPORTANT!
Miniature Donkeys are social animals and they love human attention! Because donkeys are herd animals, if you have
ONLY a single donkey, she will be a sad, lonely donkey. A companion animal (goat, horse, cow, mule, sheep or llama)
will help but cannot replace the companionship of another donkey. Their playfulness together is astounding.
There is nothing like seeing two donkeys happily at play!
Important: Never leave a donkey completely alone without any human contact or companion animal for an extended
period of time. It can negatively affect their attitude and personality.
Have you ever impulsively purchased a kitten or puppy and had the excitement and companionship wane for days,
weeks, or even months? A human-imprinted donkey without human attention will become
depressed and lethargic. They need human attention.
Please visit rather than purchase a donkey if you will not have time to commit to the relationship they need.
Miniature Donkeys crave your attention! Keep your donkey happy and content by loving on her daily.
We have not figured out who craves the attention the most -- the donkey or the human.
9. WEAN YOUR FOALS
Between 4 and 6 months of age is the appropriate age for a miniature donkey foal to be weaned. A foal should not be
weaned from its mother under the age of 4 months unless there are circumstances affecting the health of the foal
or the mother. Nursing until 4 - 6 months also helps the foal with emotional support and herd socialization.
You could say the mother teaches the baby how to behave, make friends, and stay out of trouble.
10. WATCH FOR STIFFEL JOINT PROBLEMS (REAR LEG POPPING/JOINT LOCKING)
This is a fairly common problem that can be very frightening to us humans when seen for the first time.
It can happen so randomly and disappear so quickly, we may think our eyes deceived us.
Occasionally when the foal walks, a popping action may occur in the her rear leg(s) at the stiffel joint near the hip
caused by a tight tendon. This is fairly common growth problem in young donkeys and
may occur intermittently between 3 months to 12 months of age and can occur up to two years of age.
It usually occurs a few times a week for several weeks and then clears. Our vet and other sources tell us it is
a condition that the foal usually outgrows. If the joint continues to lock or pop and/or the back leg
is dragged occasionally after two years, or it is a daily occurrence, medication can be given and/or
a simple surgical procedure can be done by your vet to correct the tightness of the tendon.
We are still researching this problem and will continue to post information as we find it.
11. UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE CHOOSE A DONKEY INSTEAD OF A HORSE
The miniature donkey is a healthy, calm, intelligent animal that won't become terrified and run away at the slightest
unexpected noise or movement but instead will want to investigate.
Naturally inclined to like you and all people, she gives you
a package deal -- a donkey that is easy to take care of, easy to work with, and so very easy to love.
12. EXPECT THE PROBABLIES (unlike their horse cousins)
Your Miniature Donkey will probably run to you instead of away from you.
If you forget to give her grain, she will probably not get a belly ache.
If you give her too much grain, she will probably not get a belly ache.
If a monster (dog, snake, plastic bag, chicken) passes in front of her, she will probably not run away in terror.
If she gets her foot caught in a wire fence (which she is probably too smart to do), she will not self-amputate
but will probably remove it by herself or stand very still until you get there. Smart . . . very smart!
Become a little donkey's best friend -- you will never be happier!
All site copy and photos are the exclusive property of Best Friends Farm and may not be reproduced in any form without written permission.
Any violation of this copyright is pursueable to the full extent of the law.
|BEST FRIENDS FARM M I N I A T U R E DONKEYS
Farming for the fun of it!
Jim and Frankie Lee
13903 Millhopper Road, Gainesville, FL
352-339-3908 or 352-333-3819