Do you wish you could replace your riding lawn mower with a four-legged friend?
If you answered “HELL YES” to these questions, then maybe a mini donkey is the perfect pet for you. Let’s go over some of the realities of adding a miniature donkey to your family.
First of all, let’s cover the “pet part” of owning a miniature donkey. Mini donkeys are wonderful pets and loyal companions. However, they are not cats and are not to be a replacement for your next chihuahua. Donkeys are in the equine family and their emotional and physical needs correspond to their animal classification. Miniature donkeys are herd animals, which means their emotional stability is dependent on developing close bonds with other animals in the equine family, preferably other miniature donkeys. If this basic need is ignored, mini donkeys are susceptible to depression, the development of bad habits and ultimately health issues. While close human connection provides comfort and love to both donkey and human, it is not a replacement for the herd instincts of your mini donkey. No matter how well-trained, your miniature donkey will be most comfortable living outside with his or her other big-eared friends. That’s right, you heard correctly. We’ve just officially crushed your dreams of an indoor miniature donkey sleeping at the foot of your bed.
Miniature donkeys do best with a bit of space to roam! The general recommendation for a mini donkey is .5 acres per animal. However, this assumes that the animal feeds primarily on pasture grass year-round. It is possible for miniature donkeys to live happily with slightly less space if their pasture provides adequate terrain for rest and play as well as supplemental food when pasture grass is unavailable. A mini donkey’s space should include a fenced area, preferably clean pasture, with access to food, water, shelter and some form of entertainment (toys, scratching post, etc.).
Miniature donkeys must measure no more than 36 inches from the highest point of the withers to the ground. At Double Donkey Ranch, many of our donkeys measure less than 32 inches. But don’t let their height-challenged stature fool you. Mini donkeys can weigh anywhere from 150-400 pounds full-grown. They are dense creatures with a good deal of strength and determination. For this reason, halter training is necessary to move your mini donkey, load them in a trailer, or simply take a walk.
The lifespan of a miniature donkey can vary greatly. Yet one thing is for certain, they are a lifelong companion and commitment. The average miniature donkey lives anywhere from 25-35 years. For this reason, the purchase of a miniature donkey should not be taken lightly. On the flip side, a miniature donkey is a relationship to invest in, based on its lengthy lifecycle.
Let’s get to the fun part! You might be asking, how much money is my mini donkey going to set me back? The cost to acquire your miniature donkey (or two or three) will be dependent on a variety of factors. Size, sex, age, color, conformation, overall demand and location of the breeder will all play a role in determining the cost of your donkey. As mini donkeys have grown in popularity, so have their price tag.
Their ongoing costs include food, regular veterinary care as well as regular farrier visits. As a rough estimate, you can expect each of your miniature donkeys to eat two flakes of orchard grass hay per day. To calculate food costs you’ll need to inquire about hay costs in your area. An additional cost to consider is shelter. This cost may or may not include heat depending on your climate and propensity to make your donkey as comfortable as possible. You’ll also need basic supplies such as an equine first aid kit, brushes and blankets.
To conclude, while adding a mini donkey to your family will likely be the best decision you’ve ever made, it is not one to take lightly. Feel free to contact Double Donkey Ranch if you have additional question about adding a little heehaw to your home.
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