ASS-OLOGY 101 

Deworming is another important aspect of your donkeys health. You may use any one of the equine wormers on the market. When in doubt, check with your veterinarian. Worming should be done 3 to six times a year. If internal parasites are not removed by regular deworming, your donkey may suffer internal tissue damage which may considerably shorten their life span. A good idea when worming is to vary your type of worming medicine each time you worm. For example use Eqvalan brand the first worming of the year and Panacure brand the next time and so on.

JennetsJennets getting 4x and Rhino shots.

Vaccinations are the last, important step. Your donkey should be given an annual injection of a three-way equine vaccine and a rhino/influenza vaccine each spring. Do remember, when you are doing an inital vaccination on a foal, the first set of shots must be followed by a second set of shots three to four weeks following. This important, one time only step, should not be overlooked. The three way provides immunity against eastern and western equine encephalitis, and tetanus. The rhino/influenza vaccine provides immunity against equine rhinopneumonitis and equine influenza. All these are potentially fatal diseases. Also, pregnant jennets should be immunized with Pneumabort-K, K, a vaccine that protects the pregnant jennet from Equine Rhinopneumonitis which can cause spontaneous abortions.
Before starting any vaccination program, contact your local veterinarian to see if there are any special immunization needs in your area.

What is the difference between a good Miniature donkey and a bad one...?
There are many factors that contribute to being able to tell a good donkey from a bad donkey. Overall conformation, which is how well the donkey's body is put together, is one of the most important factors. (Check out the Donkey Conformation Form to see what factors are included in grading a donkey.

In the Newsletter section of this website, we will be featuring all the aspects of conformation for the next several months. It will be an intensive guide, based on the Canadian Donkey & Mule Handbook guide-lines for grading donkeys.) As well as conformation, important factors are attitude, color, pheno type (ie. whether the donkey is attractive or not), and genotype. Again all of these terms will be discussed in greater detail in the newsletter. In any breeding program, culling is an important step to making sure the breed has good quality animals. Culling means getting rid of breeding stock that is not up to standard. This means castrating jacks that do not have superior conformation and that special spark of "presence". Breeding quality jennets should also have excellent conformation and the ability to pass it on to their foals.

What is the difference between the following Miniature Donkey terms: Jack, Jennet, Foal, Weanling & Gelding?

• A Jack is a male donkey that has not been castrated. When he is mature enough he may be used for breeding.
• A Jennet, or jenny as some people say, is a female donkey. When she is three years of age, she can be bred to a breeding quality jack.
• A Foal is a young donkey from birth to the time that they are weaned from their mothers
• A Weanling, is a young donkey who has been separated, or weaned, from its mother usually at a year old.
• A Gelding is a male donkey that has been castrated so that it cannot reproduce.

Are donkeys really stubborn?
Donkeys, due to their origins on the steep, rough mountains of their native land, are keen on self preservation and are very cautious. They do not get themselves into the trouble that a horse would. A horses instinct is flight, whereas the donkeys is to look the situation over and determine the best approach. Their ability to stop and assess a situation is what has earned them their reputation for being stubborn. You could call it being "on donkey time."

Is there a central "Miniature Donkey Organization" per se?
In North America there are three different registries. In Canada, the miniature donkeys are regulated and registered by the Canadian Donkey and Mule Association. It is the governing body over the miniature donkeys which sets the registration requirements and keeps permanent records on all miniature donkeys that are registered (as well as the standard, and mammoth donkeys and the mules). This organization is regulated by the Canadian Animal Pedigree Act.
In the United States there are two Registries. The first is the American Donkey and Mule Society. They operate on the same basis as the Canadian Donkey and Mule Association . The second is the International Miniature Donkey Registry. It varies from the other two registries as it only registers miniature donkeys, and they are allowed to be 38" in height and under.
There are also registries and various organizations around the world that register, and promote the miniature donkey industry.

What can a Miniature Donkey do?
Miniature donkeys make excellent predator control for sheep, goats and llamas. They are sold as investment livestock. They are easily trained to carry a pack saddle, or pull a cart. You can show them or take them to fairs. They are an excellent animal to use for therapy in nursing homes or with handicapped people because of their gentle temperament. They make an excellent reason for a school class trip to your farm. They are also good therapy for your soul. Many times when we may be feeling blue or discouraged, we go out with the donkeys and those long ears, big, soulful eyes and gentle personalities melt your heart and make all right with the world again. See more at: What Donkeys Do.

Guard DonkeysCircle C geldings have been very successful at guarding sheep. They take this job seriously and will tackle any intruder.

Who buys Miniature Donkeys?
Everyone who meets a miniature donkey wants one of their own! Donkey owners come from all walks of life and include doctors, lawyers, executives, housewives, children, farmers, retired people, and investors to name just a few. Because donkeys are easy to care for, they make an ideal animal for anyone to own.

 

 

:: Back to Library

Where did Minature Donkeys come from?
Miniature donkeys are native to the Mediterranean islands of Sicily and Sardinia. However, there are not many left in that area, and import restrictions have been applied. Here in North America, there are over 20,000 registered miniature donkeys and an unknown number of unregistered ones. The original miniature donkey is a true breed of it's native land. The heritage of many of todays miniature donkeys can be traced back to the original Mediterranean stock, which measured 38" and under.

What kinds of colors should Miniature Donkeys be?
The most common color for the miniature donkey is a grey dun with a black "cross" running over their shoulder and down their back. Their underbelly and noses are usually white, although dark noses and points do occur. Donkeys do come in other colours such as spotted, brown, black, sorrel. The brown, black and red, however, are very uncommon colours and highly prized in breeding programs.

How big do Miniature Donkeys get?
In order to register your miniature donkey with the Canadian Donkey and Mule Association, the donkey must be under 36" or less at the shoulder at four years of age. The average height for them is 34", and the smaller they are the more valuable they become. It is important to check the specifications for registration with the different registration organizations, as there are some variations on height restrictions.

How old do Miniature Donkeys get?
Miniature donkeys have very long life-spans living to 25-30 years of age with proper care and feeding.

What do I feed a Miniature Donkey?
Donkeys are very hardy animals and require very little special feeding. During the summer months a donkeys nutritional requirements can be met on a pasture. Donkeys can graze on coarser pastures than horses, and lush pasture is not recommended as donkeys have low energy requirements and can be prone to obesity and foundering. Allow 1/2 to 1 acre of pasture per donkey and if space permits vary the pasture from time to time to allow the eaten down pasture a chance to regenerate. If the summer is particularly dry, and pasture grass is scarce, you will have to supplement with good quality hay. One to two extra flakes per day should be enough, but it will depend on how much grass is left to graze on. In the winter months high quality hay should be fed. One to two flakes per animal twice daily should be enough, but you should be flexible. If your donkey seems to be eating all that up and still looking for more you may want to increase the rations that you give. Hay rich in alfalfa or clover is not recommended for donkeys having regular nutritional requirements. Timothy, meadow grass, brome grass, or mixed legume-grass hays are recommended. Hay composed of 50% timothy and 50% alfalfa is best for weanlings, pregnant or nursing donkeys. As with other equines you must make sure that your hay is free from mildew & dust as it is toxic to the donkeys digestive systems.

Grains are not often needed by donkeys, although weanlings, pregnant, or nursing jennets, and working donkeys (driving, packing or predator control) benefit from the extra energy grain provides. Weanlings especially benefit from the energy grain supplies to supplant the energy they received from their mothers milk.

Equine supplements for protein, vitamins and minerals are recommended to keep up good nutritional health. Do not use supplements designed for cattle, pigs or poultry as they can be potentially toxic. You may also check your area for your specific mineral requirements, for example, a selenium deficient area that may lead to reproduction problems, and white muscle disease in foals.

Because of their long, shaggy winter coats, it is tough to tell if your donkey is getting enough to eat. Make sure to feel through the hair often to check your donkey's body condition.

As with most other animals, donkeys love treats. Breads, carrots, and fresh fruit are all favourites. Just be sure to feed them only as treats and not a substitute for hay or grain.

How much land does a Miniature Donkey need?
For grazing purposes a single miniature donkey needs 1/2 to 1 acre of pasture. Donkeys are very adaptable to their environment, however and will adjust to either more or less space. The only consideration that needs to be taken is in regards to feed. if there isn't enough pasture for grazing you will have to supplement their feed.

What other animals do Miniature Donkeys get along with?
Miniature donkeys get along with goats, sheep, horses, cats, dogs, llamas...all it takes is common sense. For example the miniature donkey makes a superior guard animal for sheep goats, and llamas, herding them and protecting them from predators. While they can go in the same pasture or pen with those animals, it is not wise to put them in with larger animals such as horses and cattle, as they may injure your donkey. It is best to let them be in adjacent pastures. As well, although miniature donkeys do not like canine predators, they will adapt to a dog that is yours, but if another dog were to come onto the property your donkey would defend it's territory.

What is a Miniature Donkey's personality like?
Miniature donkeys are one of the most affectionate and friendly animals of their kind. They are tame, gentle, loyal, playful, and affectionate. They are very social animals who like to give and receive a great deal of attention. They are very easy to train, learning quickly and wanting to please their owner. If you want a friend for life, a miniature donkey is a wonderful choice.

Can Miniature Donkeys be house pets?
No, miniature donkeys cannot be house pets. They are livestock and as such require a barn or three sided shelter to give them protection from the elements. While they might like to come and visit you on your front steps, they cannot (to our knowledge) be housetrained so you would set yourself up for some very large messes!

WormingCircle C Jennets are rounded up in the corral to be wormed.

What kind of health care do Miniature Donkeys require?
There are four aspects to your donkeys health: grooming, hoof care, deworming and vaccinations.

Donkeys can be groomed like their equine counterparts. Brush them with a stiff brush, going with the direction that the hair grows. Be gentle around their face and ears. To get rid of the shaggy winter coats, you can purchase a shedding blade, or a kitchen block, much like pumice, that is used to clean out wooden stoves. By rubbing it gently on your donkey, it sheds out the old, shaggy hair, leaving a shiny coat in its place. You can buy these stones at any store specializing in wooden stoves. For show they can be clipped to give a nice clean look. Just remember to have a blanket for them if the weather turns inclement. Most tack shops will be happy to custom make blankets to fit your miniature donkey.

In the summer, however, there is not much need for brushing and grooming as the donkeys prefer to take dust baths. This is their natural method of bathing.

Donkey hooves are very elastic and do not wear down like those of other equines. If they are left to grow out, they grow quite long and can lead to permanent damage. Ideally hooves should be trimmed every six to eight weeks depending, of course, on how rapidly your donkeys hooves grow.