When we tell someone we raise miniature donkeys, the most frequently asked question we get is…What do you do with them? Simple answer – you enjoy them, love them, and have fun with them!!!
Miniature donkeys actually have MANY uses… They are perhaps best known for their ability to make WONDERFUL PETS. Because of their small size and gentle disposition, most are safe around children, the elderly, and handicapped people. Miniature donkeys are the perfect solution for anyone who loves equines, but are intimidated by larger sized animals…. or for those that might not have the space, health or means to have a larger animal. They are very economical and easy to take care of. Their soft fuzzy noses, long ears, and loveable personalities along with being entertaining little characters, make them great pets for people of all ages. As pets, they should always be either jennies or gelded jacks, not intact males.
COMPANION ANIMALS – Since miniature donkeys have such mellow personalities… jennies or gelded jacks often make good companion animals for horses or other livestock. They can often help keep a more nervous animal calmed down. Donkeys usually become very attached to their herd mates… so it’s important they always have donkeys or other animals to be with.
DRIVING – Easily trained to pull a cart, miniature donkeys are great for driving. They can be driven in parades, shows, and for fun. Even though mini donkeys are very strong for their size, and have excellent endurance, it’s best to use larger sized minis for driving purposes.
RIDING – Miniature donkeys are able to be ridden by small children… depending on the donkey’s individual size (32+ inches tall is best for riding). Many larger miniature donkeys can carry up to 50 pounds (including the saddle’s weight) – less weight for longer rides, more weight may be okay for short amounts of time. Micro-mini donkeys should not be used for riding, but are okay to have babies set on adult donkeys for a quick photo.
TRICKS & TRAIL OBSTACLES – Miniature and micro mini donkeys are very smart and can be trained to do fun things like tricks and trail agility type obstacles… limited only by your ideas and the capabilities of the individual donkey. Of course, some donkeys are more adept at doing certain things, like sitting or laying down on command, while others naturally enjoy doing things like jumping, picking up objects with their mouth, or holding things in their teeth. Some like playing with a ball (which can lead to ‘playing soccer’).
SHOWING – For those that enjoy the show ring atmosphere, or the thrill of competition…. There are donkey and mule shows that miniature donkeys can be shown at… some of the classes miniatures donkeys can be shown in are: halter, driving, lead through trail, jumping, and costume classes. Many of the larger shows also have game type events. No matter what the class or event, just practicing for shows can be a lot of fun.
THERAPEUTIC – Miniature and micro mini donkeys are also very therapeutic… not only for physically handicapped individuals and those in nursing homes, but for everyone. Their sweet, loving, gentle dispositions are a joy to be around. If you’re having a rough day, just walk out to a pen or pasture with miniature donkeys, and you’re immediately surrounded by friendly faces all looking for a little love and attention.
PUBLIC AMBASSADORS – The inquisitive, gentle, people loving nature of miniature and micro mini donkeys are being enjoyed across the country. The little donkeys are wonderful for educational programs at schools, church events, nursing homes, hospitals, petting zoos, horse fairs, Palm Sunday church services, and are used in live nativity scenes around the world. Anywhere these little ones go, their irresistible and endearing qualities make them a favorite for people of all ages.
OTHER FUN STUFF – There are many other things you can do with your miniature donkeys. They love being taken for walks or go on hikes. Some have used their donkeys for pack animals with light loads for day hikes… and have them carry such things as photography equipment, or artist supplies. You can also dress them up for events, special occasions, parades, costume classes, and holidays. Even when they are just being themselves, they are entertaining and lovable little characters to be around.
GUARD ANIMALS – Most donkeys have a natural dislike of canines, and many are used as guard animals for sheep and other livestock. However, it is NOT recommended that MINIATURE donkeys be used as guard animals. They simply are not big enough to be able to defend themselves or others against coyotes and other predator animals, especially those that tend to hunt in packs. As a rule, the bigger the size of the donkey, the more intimidating to the predator, so the better chance they have to scare off predators versus being attacked by them.
INVESTMENT – As more people are realizing the value and unique qualities of miniature and micro mini donkeys, the demand for them is rising. When purchasing miniature or micro mini donkeys for breeding purposes, always choose donkeys that have good conformation and great dispositions. Your initial cost may be a little more, but your basic care requirements (food, shelter, vaccinations, etc.) cost the same regardless if the animal is pet quality, breeding quality or show quality. Quality animals typically produce quality offspring.
Whatever reason you may be wanting or needing a miniature or micro mini donkey for, there are donkeys out there just waiting to fulfill that purpose. Donkeys can quickly become an important part of your family.