Donkeys! A quick question!

StelleKitten

Songster
7 Years
Jun 27, 2012
664
30
128
Granbury, Tx
I will soon be in charge of two donkeys. I don't have a clue what breeds of donkey (are there different breeds?). I know one is 18 and the other is 4. The jack is 18 the jenny is 4. I think the male has been fixed (what do you call that for donkeys?). I do know the previous owner uses sweetfeed only to supplement grazing. The hooves look nice (I know a little about horses feet but not too much). I will be posting some pictures in the next few days.

My questions are:

What is the ideal diet for donkeys of their ages?
How do you tell the difference in breeds (if there are)?
How do you know if they are being friendly or wanting to bite?
Where do they prefer to be petted?
What sort of grooming do they need? (One has a really fuzzy look to it, the other seems to have shorter hair)

Thank you guys for any and all help that you can give me.
 

Caitlin2013

In the Brooder
6 Years
Feb 23, 2013
36
3
24
Maine
You should of probably titled this post "Donkey" not goat. The wrong people are most likely going to click on this thread. I thought you had questions about goats which is why I came to view it. I'm sorry but I do not have any knowledge of donkeys. I hope someone will be able to help you.
 

StelleKitten

Songster
7 Years
Jun 27, 2012
664
30
128
Granbury, Tx
Yeah, sorry about that. I had started to ask a goat question and then changed my mind. I can't figure out how to change the title.
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Eta, apparently you can't do it from your phone. succeeded in changing it after using the laptop.
 
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Bunnylady

POOF Goes the Pooka
11 Years
Nov 27, 2009
18,763
9,779
641
Wilmington, NC
What is the ideal diet for donkeys of their ages?

The appropriate diet for a donkey is grass or hay. Donkeys have very efficient digestive systems; they come from parts of the world where forage can be pretty sparse. Some donkeys seem to get fat on little more than air
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and that's a problem. Donkeys can develop deposits of fat on their necks and rumps that are almost impossible to get rid of. While donkeys love sweet feed, if you must give them feed, it is better to give them something that contains lower, slower delivery carbohydrates than sweet feed contains.


How do you tell the difference in breeds (if there are)?

There are a few donkey breeds; the main difference with most of them is size (Mammoth and miniature, for example). There are a couple of breeds that are distinctly different, but you kinda have to know what you're looking at to know what you're looking at with them. There is one breed with very long hair, but it is a pretty rare breed.


How do you know if they are being friendly or wanting to bite?

As with most equines, the ears are a good indicator of what the animal is feeling. Those twin exclamation points on a donkey's head are hard to miss! The ears typically point toward whatever the donkey has its attention on, so if you are behind him, his ears may point toward you. That is quite different from the ears going flat back against the neck as a sign of displeasure; it won't take long to know the difference.


Where do they prefer to be petted?

If a donkey doesn't know you, you want to keep your hands away from its face at first. "In your face" reads as aggression to a donkey, and he'll try to avoid it. Petting/scritching on the withers/shoulders is usually understood to be a friendly gesture. Once the donkey is comfortable with you, he won't have a problem with having his head petted. Some people have this thing about grabbing a donkey's ears, so a lot of donkeys are protective of them. Donkeys that have been handled with kindness may even enjoy having their ears stroked, but you mustn't pull on them (remember that when haltering them, too. They make special donkey bridles with a buckle behind the ears to avoid this.
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)


What sort of grooming do they need? (One has a really fuzzy look to it, the other seems to have shorter hair)


A good going-over with a brush is all the grooming a donkey should need. Donkeys need hoof care like a horse does, but the angles of their hooves are different; you'll need a farrier that is familiar with donkey feet.

Donkeys grow longer hair in the winter and shed it out in the spring, so it may be that one of the donkeys just hasn't finished shedding out yet. If the shaggy one is the older gelding, retaining his long winter coat could be a sign of Cushings, too. Donkey hair doesn't shed water like a horse's does, so shelter from the elements is even more important for donkeys.

Enjoy your new long-eared friends!
 

nok13

Songster
7 Years
Dec 8, 2012
411
31
101
i raised 13 +- donkeys for about 10 years here in israel; almost all were rescues from arab villages, or dumped from local small farms, or born in my petting zoo;
most were a mix of local types my fave jack, django was a cyprus type, very tall, with white chin and chest, massive chest, strong legs, and eventually i had to rehome him as he was a working male; he went to learn how to work on a 'ancient agriculture farm' and was taught to haul plows and also used for breeding...

males can be very very very jealous. django almost tried to kill several workers who were in our donkey area (a huge open field with boulders and an open shelter), if they tried to approach me.

donkeys use their teeth much more then horses.
donkeys suffer pain and ill health much longer before u see signs, in which case its almost too late.
they suffer less from colic but if they suffer, it is harder to identify , and harder to give treatments.
donkeys learn faster then most horses but positive reinforcement is much more effective then pressure. donkeys are more sure footed but slower, if they dont go forwarc its not from stubborness but because the way is not safe.
our donkeys were calm and collected when we had forest fires in the area; horses when crazy, deers and ibex went nuts, goats deal a little better then the horses.
donkeys if treated correctly are amazing and rewareding animals but beware beware beware. they are not horses, they do not have that little extra domestic gene of 'wanting to please' 'niceness'. they were bred for work and efficiency in water/food usage first, and for personality second...
donkeys have less genetic problems mostly becauuse in most of the world they are treated very badly and the bad/unhealthy foals died off.
male donkeys can kill foals, if the jenny doesnt have 'aunts' or friends to rally round her after the birth and for the first week or so... or if the mother is indifferent and doesnt defend the foal. this behavior is to ensure that the mother bonds strongly against predators later on... if the mother can keep the male away, he will stay away, as it means the mother is strong.
our donkeys if they lost a foal at birth, would circle the area for weeks after, and they would actively call for the foal.
many of our donkeys were tortured by children in villages burning tires on their backs (a common game) or had barb wired buried in their legs from being hobbled or tied with wire. many peopel think that donkeys can be raised on straw. not so. but as the poster above said: lots of roughage, and browse similar to goats (both medeterennean diets).
they can take heat no problem, suffer from cold legs and chills in our jerusalem winters so cant imagine bout real winters.
we never shoe'd our donekys but did have an expert farrier trim. many donekys develp laminitis due to people over feeding, under working their donkeys.
donkeys need to be worked/play worked or they can get bored. not jsut being ridden, but being used.... not abused. but used as carriers or wagon pullers or trail riding...
donkeys kick differently then horses, and can do a great two legged kick and a lash out without warning.
in israel a white tall donkey can bring a huge price and get stolen; most donkeys are local mixed and people dont even bother to give medical treatmetn cause it costs more then the animal.
donkeys have very good memories for faces and also remember if soemone treats them badly. OTH handfeeding shoudl be avoided and they should work for their treats, or they will becme very ornery and bossy...
donkeys and baby/small goats dont mix frm my experience and others; we lost a few kids from donkeys stomping on them on purpose or picking up by the neck and shaking. donkeys are great guard animals against many predators; ive seen our donekys chase many dogs (we have feral dogs, foxes and snakes), with goats, during birhting season, separate them. also around puppies. we had sevaral try to kill off our pups from our canaan guard dog *****.
these are obvously personal experiences but also from my vets, and from other old timers who still worked with donkeys back in kurdistan etc....
 

StelleKitten

Songster
7 Years
Jun 27, 2012
664
30
128
Granbury, Tx
Wow that is a lot of really good information. I'm glad that you took the time to share it with me. I think they are spoiled and I will have to work hard to unspoil them. So far I like the jack better. He is more laid back and isn't as hoppy jumpy as the jenny. She tosses her head about at just about everything. It could be he is a lot older. But I like him better.

I will try to find ways to put them to work. Maybe have them haul the feed from the front of our property to the back. I'll find a way. I can't risk riding them or having them kick because of back problems. If I fall wrong I will be paralyzed for life but I enjoy being around animals.
 

nok13

Songster
7 Years
Dec 8, 2012
411
31
101
donkeys respond to firm treatment, they are quick learners of bad and good things; we had one female that could get out of any enclusure by using her teeth to untie or open handles;
train the donkeys not to rush you when u open the gates to feed them;
the head shaking is her way of saying she doesnt want to do stuff. if u work with them, do everything in small incremenants and make sure they really will do the thing u wnat them to do and make sure u really know what u want the animal to do. being 'wimbly wombly' doesnt work with donkeys; cause, unlike horses, its almost impossible to convince a donkey to do something it deems not neccessary or NOT SAFE. (donkeys are ever so much safer then horses when on trails because they will always choose a better easy safe way even if u demand they go an other way, a way that a horse will go because you asked it to go.)...
i still say watch out for the jack; if teh jenny comes in heat, he will be very not nice and remember, donkeys use their teeth much more then horses to communicate everything from dislike, to punishing a subordinate, to love nips and everything in between both with horses and with humans. make sure that the donkeys get the vaccines needed (tetanus i guess, worming, and rabies because they do bite and we had a few instances of rabies in donkeys here because they are exposed here to canine predators from the wild and we have rampant rabies.

. i know of several instances where donkeys caused real damage to humans do to human misinterpretation of the animal, and/or 'spoiled' animals who get away with **** around poeple.
 

StelleKitten

Songster
7 Years
Jun 27, 2012
664
30
128
Granbury, Tx
So far I have thoroughly discouraged nibbling. They have large teeth and I have been bit by horses before. I didn't know donkeys were more prone to it. The jenny was in heat a while back and I stayed out of the enclosure completely until he quit trying. I have read horror stories about that, so I played it safe.

They don't rush the gates because the gates open inwards. I can't come into the enclosure until they move away from the gate.

As far as I know they have had their shots but I will ask the previous caretaker to make sure.

Balem has gotten to like me more. He now will walk over for back scratches and will even avoid the sweet feed if I am scratching his back. Fiona on the other hand, is forever flipping her head around which makes it hard for me to get near to her. She was born on the property as well but she wasn't handled at all for almost her whole life. She will take someone who can actually control her better than I can. She's the one who tries to bite the most. I have pinched her nose (like I have done with some cattle) to get her to move around. She tries to block me from getting anything done in the enclosure. I will keep at it.

I have always been the one in my family who will discipline the animals. My sister says I am mean to them but I know if they aren't taught manners they can become dangerous. Ear pinches for teaching puppies (just like the mama dog does), nose grabbing on larger animals, carrying around angry birds until they calm their silly selves down. Even kids are discipline at my home. Which means some parents won't come over, but I will not allow them to engage in dangerous or destructive behaviors. Such as one that was kicking my dog because it slobbered on them. That got me very angry. Poor kid, he was standing in the corner and crying before he even know what had happened. But you know what, he didn't EVER mistreat any of my animals again.

I guess that makes me the mean Aunt. On that same note most ask to visit me because I am also the one with the best tasting food. Lol.
 

nok13

Songster
7 Years
Dec 8, 2012
411
31
101
im not sure that i would use the nose grabbing for a donkey. they take that as threatening action;

do u keep them haltered? i know that americans dont keep their animals haltered in pasture but here, we keep a string/'rope tied loosely around the neck of a donkey for exactly that purpose: catching and holding them.

to work with her, use the herd instinct. use him to lead and her to follow. try persuasion, and small things at a time.... most of the donkeys that i got were either after being terribly abused ( a commong thing in israel especially among arab and beduin villages and also on some moshavim with people from 'the old country'(iraq, kurdistan, etc) or were born in captivity and not worked with.

try using behavior modelling (karen pryor style); also, try ignoring. donkeys are curious creatures, so if u are doing something that she might like, just ignore her, and only pay attention by talking at her and then ignoring before she starts all her acting up. donkeys are not horses nor cows. here are some sites that i like:

http://www.calkinsart.net/donkeyinfo/vldonktrain2a.html

https://lazydogranchtx.com/Caring_for_your_donkey.html
http://www.donkeywa.org.au/Understanding_your_donkey.html

i really loved my donkeys and found them much more fun that flighty horses (and i prefer goats to sheep for the same reason); they are practicle animals.
you have to see when and why she tosses her head. what do u do that kicks in the tossing. does she toss her head at the male? only at you? when u have a dog near you? ive had kickers and biters but not a head tosser like you are describing. we had one that would back up and give a double whammy kick, and two that were sneaky biters not including jango the big male, who only bit his females (and killed two foals for the same reasons).

donkeys like routine. but they also like intersting things to do. do they have an area where htey can change levels? (like a hill, or some rocky area? or aer they just in a yard standing around all day? )can u get a lead on the female? can you tie her? etc

tried searching for photos of ours but i dont have any that you can actually see the animals since we had them in a huge rocky hilly area, with a watering trough and bales of hay for them, and a winter shelter.
 

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