Checklist BEFORE you get a donkey
Donkeys are the loveliest, most sweet natured animals you can find. Once you have their trust they are a wonderful addition to your family.
You do however need to seriously consider the commitment you are taking on when getting a donkey.
Here are a number of questions you should think about:
- Are you aware that donkeys are very different from horses and require specific care?
- Do your hours of work and lifestyle leave you time to check your donkeys daily?
- Can you afford to have two donkeys? Donkeys need company – preferably another donkey. They are very emotional animals and form very strong bonds with their best friends. They have successful relationships with horses (particularly mini horses) goats, etc but another donkey is best.
- Do you have at least one acre per donkey, so you can spell areas as needed?
- Can you provide an electric fence unit, stakes and tape to break feed larger areas?
- Are your paddocks well fenced, with no barbed wire and drain well?
- Do your neighbours have shrubs overhanging their boundary fences the donkeys could eat, which could possibly be poisonous?
- Can you provide a dry shed for shelter and large trees for shade? Donkeys do not have a waterproof coat like a horse. They can suffer very badly from the cold especially when wet.
- Are you prepared to buy covers if your donkeys require them?
- Can you provide a trough of reliable fresh water?
- Can you always provide a multi-mineral salt lick?
- Can you afford to buy meadow hay and barley straw, as your donkey needs roughage every day and are you prepared to feed them daily?
- Can you afford to call the vet when your donkey is unwell?
- Can you afford to have the donkey’s teeth filed every 2-3 years?
- Can you afford to pay for a farrier to trim their feet every 6 to 8 weeks?
- Can you afford to pay for worm drench and lice treatment?
- Do you have time to “muck out” their paddock daily especially if their paddock is small?
- Do you have time to brush them and lift their feet to pick out dirt and small stones?
- Can you afford a halter, a lead rope, a hoof pick and brushes?
- Do you have someone to check on them should you be away or are unwell?
- Can you afford to get a jack gelded if you are offered an entire male donkey? All male donkeys should be gelded unless you are an experienced donkey owner and intend to breed.
- Can you care for your donkeys for the rest of their lives? A donkey can live to 35- 40 years old and is a lifetime commitment for most of us.
While there are a number of things to consider before getting donkeys, all the effort is worth it as they return your love and care in spades.