Donkey Care and Information

Shelter or Stabling

Donkeys don't need rugs during cold or wet weather but do require an accessible shelter all the year round to provide respite from the hot, cold, windy and wet weather. It is much better for them to be able to shelter as and when they feel the need - and they like to make that decision for themselves.

If it starts to rain donkeys will dive for cover, their coat is not waterproof and they really don't like the wet. However, foals should not be left to decide for themselves whether to get out of the rain or not as they can become cold very quickly and take hours to dry out. If rain is expected it is a good idea to keep young foals inside with their mothers.

Provided your donkey has shelter, overnight stabling is not necessary and they will come and go as they please. However, it is best to stable new foals with their mothers for the first few weeks which allows the mother to relax and not worry about other donkeys getting too close to her foal or attacks from foxes and the like.

Water

Always ensure a supply of fresh, clean water is available to your donkey. When the weather is very cold try to give them warm water. This will also make it available to them longer since it won't freeze as quick as cold water.

Feeding

The main diet for your donkey is good quality hay and barley straw. Whilst barley straw can be fed quite freely, you should limit hay to avoid your donkey becoming overweight. Overweight donkeys will develop fat deposits around their neck, buttocks, and abdomen. The fat deposit on the neck is known as a 'crest' or 'fat roll' and once developed will stay with the donkey for life - so don't overfeed your donkey!

New or lush grass needs to be limited during spring and summer as this can cause your donkey to become overweight and also cause foundering. Give a little hay and barley straw to divert their attention!

During the winter, when grazing is limited, we supplement our donkeys' diet with an evening feed of cake and pasture mix. Pregnant and nursing jennies, together with their foals, need extra feed to make sure their nutritional needs are taken care of. We give our cake and pasture mix.

It is a good idea to allow your donkey access to a salt block to make sure they get the necessary minerals.

Worming

The frequency with which your donkey will need worming depends upon their environment. If you clear manure out of the shelter/stable regularly you will need to worm less often. It is always a good idea to check with your vet for the best advice regarding a worming programme for your donkey.

Hoof-Care

Hoofs should be checked and picked out daily. They will also need trimming several times a year. Trimming frequency depends upon how quickly the hoofs grow and whether or not they spend time on a dry, hard surface which will wear them down naturally. Please make sure that you find a farrier with experience in trimming donkey's hooves as they sit up higher in the heel than horses.

Fly/Lice Control

Donkeys are no different from all other equine in that they need to be protected from flies during fly season. There are several products on the market to control flies and lice - it's best to seek advice from your vet as to which will be most suitable. To prevent your donkey from injuring his/her eyes from rubbing at flies, you can purchase a fly mask. We have fly fringes available in our Tack Barn which will help keep the flies away.

Companionship

A donkey on its own is a lonely donkey. They are herd animals, and whilst they can be good companions for horses, ponies, and goats, they are happier with another donkey. Donkeys are very sociable and love interaction with humans and lots of attention and fuss. In addition to forming very strong bonds with other donkeys, they do the same with their owners. They are liable to want more attention than you can give - even if you are with them all day there will still be some who want that extra hug or scratch!

Teeth Care

Donkeys teeth should be checked annually and more often if the animal appears to be in discomfort.

Vaccination

It is always best to consult with your vet regarding a vaccination programme for your donkey. Standard vaccinations are against Equine Influenza (annually) and Tetanus (every other year).

If your donkey gets injured or is unwell, prompt attention from your vet is the best course of action.

Grooming

Donkeys absolutely love to be groomed - all that attention coupled with a good scratch from the brush.

In the winter your donkey will need a good coat to help keep him or her warm, so don't groom them so much during this time of year.

During the spring and summer, daily grooming will help to remove their winter coat and so keep them cool.

Minimum Requirements for your Donkey

  • A safe enclosure, with shelter, that is well fenced or hedged
  • A constant supply of clean, fresh water
  • Sufficient quantity of food of good quality and a salt block
  • Regular inspection and care of teeth
  • Regular treatment of parasites - external and internal
  • Regular care and trimming of hoofs
  • Vaccination programme and prompt treatment for any ailments
  • A confident owner
  • Basic training so that they can be handled safely and looked after well
  • Ongoing training for mental and physical stimulation
  • Companionship

Some information about donkeys

  • Donkeys can live for over 50 years and are very strong and intelligent.
  • A donkey is stronger than a horse of the same size.
  • Donkeys have incredible memories, they can recognise areas and other donkeys they were with up to 25 years ago.
  • Donkeys are not easily startled and are very curious.
  • Their reputation for stubbornness is due to their highly developed sense of self-preservation. It is difficult to force or frighten a donkey into doing something which it sees contrary to its own best interest or safety.
  • Donkeys will reason and make decisions based on their safety - they are more independent in their thinking than horses.
  • Training a donkey entails showing them, by words or actions, that they can trust you to protect them from harm. If we take time to show them they will learn what we want them to do.
  • Donkeys are herd animals and don't like being kept on their own although a single donkey will live happily with goats, horses or ponies.
  • In a herd the strongest donkey will be chosen to be the leader, even if domesticated. In the wild the lead donkey would ward off an attack by a wolf or other animal to allow the rest of the herd to escape to safety.
  • As with monkeys and chimps, donkeys in a herd will groom each other.

The legend of the Donkey's Cross

"Bring me the colt of a donkey," was the Master's request. A young donkey was brought to Jesus to carry him to Jerusalem. A week later Jesus was ordered crucified.

The little donkey so loved the Lord that he wanted to help carry the cross. But alas, he was pushed away.

The sad little donkey waited to say goodbye until nearly all had left. As he turned to leave, the shadow of the cross fell upon his shoulders. And there it has remained, a tribute to the loyalty and love of the humblest of God's Creatures.

Singer

The legend of how the donkey got his voice

After the Christ Child was born long ago
In a stable that first Christmas night,
An angel warned Joseph to leave Bethlehem and
So the whole family took flight.

Then, as the three of them journeyed to Egypt,
They rested when stars filled the sky.
And while they were sleeping, their donkey's keen ears
Heard King Herod's soldiers nearby.

He tried very hard to get Joseph away,
But donkeys were mute in those days.
Then all of the sudden a miracle happened . . .
He let out some great piercing brays!

The family awakened in time to escape
And hurriedly slipped out of sight.
The donkey was grateful and quite humbled, too,
That God chose to use him that night.

And still, to this day, the loud, piercing bray from a
Donkey so gentle and mild
Reminds us again of that creature's devotion
And love for the dear Holy Child.

Author unknown

Donkey Sales Testimonials...

  • Alice and Coco

    Alice and Coco are lovely donkeys. They came to me well cared for and with super temperaments. Zoie is very knowledgeable on all aspects of donkey care. Highly recommended!

  • 2 Donkeys to Scotland

    Many thanks for the two lovely wee donkeys. Both are adorable and have sweet natures. Were sent up to Scotland within a few days and Zoie has been very helpful with any questions. Would recommend x. - Karen

  • Antony Ford

    Just a quick note to say thank you for all your help and support regarding the purchase of our three little baby Donkeys. After there long journey from Wales up to the Midlands region of England they have settled in a treat and becoming proper little celebrities throughout our village. Having their mothers travelling with them on the journey and staying with us here whilst the babies settle in was a wonderful idea. The Mothers are enjoying their holidays and Syd, Summer & Sky (the babies) are becoming right little characters and are growing in to lovely donkeys. I would strongly recommend Donkeys of Wales, lovely caring people offering wonderful help and support. - Antony Ford Rugby, England
  • Pippa - Nineveh Ridge Care Farm

    Hi, Elvis, Jack and Jill have settled in really well now, our clients really love them and they are groomed and walked every day. They have lovely temperaments and we've got people who have never got involved with the animals won over by these three :) If you want to see them, they are on our Facebook page: (Nineveh Ridge Care Farm) xx Thank you Zoie xx
  • Radio Wales

    hi Zoie, well done on your interview on Radio Wales this morning, you came over really well and it was so nice to hear you talking so enthusiastically about the donkeys. Sorry I haven't been in touch for quite some time. Teddy is 4. this year - where has the time gone? anyway Teddy has been having lessons from Catrin John Wayne horse trainer (look her up on Facebook) we hope to do some nativity and school visits with him, Catrin can't believe how intelligent he is, he's learning so fast, she's been here to work with him a few times and he will soon be going home with her for some intensive training. take care of yourself - Enid Gwillim from Ystradgynlais
  • Bertie and Arthur

    Hi Zoie, its haf from betws Y coed. Just to let you know that Bertie and Arthur are settling in brilliantly. Both of them are gorgeous and very friendly, as described . We have all fallen for them big time!!! Their new shelter is ready for them, they went in straight away. thanks again!
  • Snowy & Daisy

    Morning Zoie, Firstly thanks for delivering Snowy & Daisy, setting off at 4am to get to us early was really nice of you. I would highly recommend you, your husband and Donkeys of Wales to anyone looking for a Donkey. Snowy and Daisy have settled in great, they are loving the fuss, attention and constant grooming they are receiving. Thank You for your honesty and advise given to us when we was choosing as we have 3 small grandchildren and our donkeys needed to be ultra steady, Snowy and Daisy are exactly what you said. Im sure we will be in touch again soon. Keep up the great work - Best Regards, Richard
  • Snowy And Daisy

    I would highly recommend buying from this lady! I had snowy a white gelding for a year and half he is amazing, he was exactly as described and very good to lead excellent temperament, especially good with children. I then purchased daisy most recently and yet again a beautiful jenny, zoie was extremely honest about her , no problems. Daisy has a personality like you wouldn't believe, both my donkeys are beautiful and will be with me forever!! Snowy the gelding is extremely well known and is rather famous in Merthyr Mawr village, with hundreds of people having photos with him [he likes to pose] . He has also featured in the vale life magazine. The donkeys have a regular flow off visitors both adult and children and both are extremely gentle and very loving. If you want a safe beautiful donkey that is exactly as described then this is your lady. - Mel Merthyr Mawr
  • Miniature Donkeys

    Just wanted to say thank you for my lovely miniature donkeys! The after sales you gave me was a great help as ive not owned any before. Both boys are doing very well and have settled in nicely. The training tips you advised me also have been a a great help, with head harnesses etc. Its also reassuring to know that you supply all necessary paperwork passports etc I would recommend you to other people wising to have donkeys. They are so rewarding and wonderful pets to have! We love them - Regards Tina
  • Wendy

    Just received tom a beautiful donkey from zoie as a companion fo alfie my other donkey. Thank you zoie for a first class service nothing was to much bother.
  • Colette

    Returning to Zoie for a second time to add to my donkey collection, she has made my dream come true in owning a Poitou. Colette is the most special, beautiful girl and has settled into the herd with no problems at all. Zoie's friendliness and honesty is second to none. Thank you xx - Shirley

  • Teddy

    After several phone conversations with Zoie I finally met her and her beautiful donkeys, one donkey kept walking up to me and the upshot was that he came home with us the same day. Teddy is a well balanced full of fun little boy and that is all thanks to Zoie and her dedication and well planned breeding programme. Zoie knows each and every one of her donkeys and can tell you the parentage of each one. I have no hesitation in recommending Zoie and Donkeys of Wales to anyone wanting to own a donkey. - Enid Gwillim Ystradgynlais
  • Standard Donkeys

    My husband and I recently moved from a city flat to a small holding near Pontypridd. We like animals and wanted to have some to keep the grass down and become part of the family. My husband contacted zoie burton from donkeys of wales. Zoie was quick to respond with some valuable advice and following on from this we purchased two donkeys from her. They have become good friends and part of the family too. I had a few quires along the way regarding looking after the donkeys and their behaviour, where information was not easily accessible on the internet and Zoie was very helpful in offering advice to us. If you are thinking about having a donkey, I would recommend DONKEYS OF WALES.
  • Primrose

    Hi Zoie, just to thank you again for Primrose and her subsequent offspring Duggie. What can I say thank you thank you thank you. Duggie has now been weaned and castrated so both he and primrose are back together again. I love Primrose so much and you were right we are growing together and her foal is fantastic. They are very frighteningly clever and have taught them a few tricks but sometimes think they are cleverer than I am. Thank you so much Zoie for Primrose (Cariad)
  • Christmas Fun Day 2015

    A BIG thank you to donkeys of wales for coming to our Christmas fun day (2015) at the national waterfront museum, Swansea. Zoie and the team were a delight to work with on the build up to the event. On the day there beautiful dinky donkeys stole the show! It was a very busy event (over 2,000 visitors) and we were very impressed at how calm and well behaved the donkeys were.
  • Thank You!

    Wow how amazing thank you so much for what you have done for them literally I can't thank you enough. XXX
  • Wispa and Ruffle

    These two gorgeous donkeys have recently become part of our family. They have lovely temperaments, who are a pleasure to have around. Zoie has given us great support and advice while getting us all settled into family life. They are very friendly clearly showing all the love and care Zoie has given them. I will definitely contact donkeys of wales in the future, when possible more donkey friends are needed. Thank you zoie xxx - Mrs Lucy Edwards - Pontypridd South Wales - September 2016
  • Acton Mill

    Just a short message to say thank you for yesterday's visit. We were all impressed with your helpful guidance and advice. Your donkeys look amazing, a real credit to the hard work you must put in. Many thanks from - Craig and the Acton Mill team

  • Ffion

    Thank you so much for Ffion, she has settled in beautifully with our other donkey. You couldn't have been more helpful or enthusiastic in your dealings with us. Delivery was simple and your help and advice was invaluable and we will be getting more advise from you in the near future, especially over Ffion's foaling. All round great service. Thanks again - Lynn and Andy

  • Barney

    In September 2011 I was searching for a companion for my jenny. I found the perfect soul mate for her - Barney! He has been amazing in every way. I would highly recommend Zoie to anyone who was hoping to purchase a donkey. Zoie has helped me with any query I had, with both of my donkeys, and I know she is only a phone call away. Thank you very much for all your help! - Gabrielle