Lovable and affectionate additions to a growing number of petting zoos and farms in the Western hemisphere, miniature donkeys originally hail from the Mediterranean part of the world. Recognized as great companions for humans for over fifty years, anyone considering buying minature donkeys for sale whether it’s for breeding purposes, shows, or as a pet should give some thought to which sex, size, color, and price they are interested in.
If buying a miniature donkey for the first time, one must find out what the needs and care of these animals are, and begin searching for some reputable breeders in the area. It may be necessary to visit several farms and compare the animals. Any dedicated breeder will also be more than happy to act as an ongoing source of support and information to all who have purchased donkeys from them.
These terms are commonly used to identify them by their sex or age. Jennets, or “jennies” are females, jacks are males suitable for breeding, and geldings are males which have been castrated. A foal is a baby donkey from birth to weaning, a weanling is one which has stopped feeding from its mother, and a yearling is a donkey between the ages of one and two years.
Jennets aged three or older are capable of breeding and typically gestate for 11 to 13 months. Baby donkeys are weaned between 4 and 6 months. An adult miniature donkey will usually weigh 250-350 pounds and measure 32 to 34 inches in height. The most common colors are black, brown, gray, and red, with frosted or spotted markings. If given good care they can live as long as 25 or 35 years.
Outdoors, there needs to be a reasonably large pasture for the donkey to frolic about in, and also a shelter of some sort, either a three-sided building or a small barn to act as a refuge from the elements. Naturally very social creatures, it’s recommended to adopt two donkeys at the same time as they will be much happier with a friend.
There is somewhat more flexibility when searching for pets than show animals or breeding stock. Buyers may choose two geldings, which are males of at least age one that have been castrated, and are also the most affordable. Others may prefer two jennets, a male and female pair, or two jacks, but in the case of the latter, it’s advisable to get non-breeding males gelded eventually since their hormones can affect their behavior.
Like other equine animals that graze, a donkey’s primary food staple is grass, but this diet can also be supplemented with some hay or grain occasionally, in particular for pregnant jennets or young animals still growing. They should not be allowed to overeat as this leads to obesity and related illnesses. Fresh water in a water dispenser must be available, and it’s also good to provide a mineral salt supplement and Selenium block.
Regular veterinary care includes annual vaccinations, worming treatments, and sometimes a Selenium booster. Deficiencies of Selenium can cause fertility issues in donkeys and affect the health of unborn foals, so it is critical that it be addressed. It’s also necessary to get a farrier to trim the donkey’s hooves several times per year.
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