Donkeys originated from North Africa so they are accustomed to a dry, hot climate.
Their needs are simple but important.
Ownership of a donkey that will be mutually satisfying for donkey and owner should include the following:
1. Well fenced, safe corral that is free of trash or obstacles that could cut or injure the donkey.
Gates should have secure latches that a donkey cannot figure out how to open (and remember
they are smarter than you think).
2. A turn out area where the donkey can get exercise and or simulate grazing.
3. A secure shelter from cold wind, rain and snow. A minimum of 3 sides with a roof.
The space must be big enough for the donkey to lay down. The floor should be free of manure.
4. A continuous supply of unfrozen, clean water. Donkeys drink 5-10 gallons of water a day.
They don’t like ice cold water and usually will not break ice to get water which could result in colic.
5. A salt or mineral block or supplement.
6. Non-moldy grass hay of 1.5% to 2% of their body weight per day. Grain should NOT be
a regular meal except for thin, old or very young donkeys. Obesity can be life threatening.
7. Vaccinations to protect them from fatal illnesses.
8. Deworming with a commercial paste to prevent a parasite overload in the intestines.
9. Regular hoof care by a donkey experienced barefoot trimmer to maintain the donkeys’ hooves at the correct angle and length for a donkey. Trimming every 8 weeks is vital to foals. Hooves grow faster in the spring and summer and slower in the fall and winter. The absence of adequate hoof care will cripple a donkey.
10. Full dental float every 3-4 years beginning with age 4 or 5 by a trained professional to avoid points or hooks that can cut into the gums and maintain functioning grinding surface of molars.
11. Protection from unwanted, unplanned and unaffordable reproduction by surgical neutering of all jacks.
12. Training to ensure that the donkey has good manners to be haltered, lead, groomed, trimmed, treated for medical conditions and loaded in a trailer. The funny bad habits of the 100 pound foal become dangerous habits of a 550 pound adult donkey.
13. Companionship. A donkey should NEVER live alone. Most donkeys need the companionship of another donkey regardless of how much time it has with its human companion. Some donkeys can accept a horse or mule as companionship but that is the exception to the rule.
Above Longhopes’ Chism joins Nugget who was alone after his burro buddy died at the Western Museum of Mining and Industry in Colorado Springs, Colorado