A Guide to Donkey Care

Selecting your donkeys

Owning or caring for a donkey is most rewarding, although very few realise just how much time, effort and expense goes into the care of these wonderful creatures.

There are several points you need to consider before acquiring your donkeys:

• Why do you want donkeys? Donkeys are wanted for many reasons, as pets, companion animals, for riding or driving, for showing, working on smallholdings or for breeding purposes.

• Do you have the time and commitment needed to look after them?

• Do you have an acre of well fenced grazing with a shelter with a hard standing, fresh water supply and electricity? (A minimum of one acre for two donkeys.)

• Do you have a vet and farrier who are prepared to undertake their routine treatments?

• Do you have a supplier of hay and straw? Do you have storage space for hay and straw over the winter months?

• Can you remove your muck heap regularly?

• Cost of caring for a donkey, we give a very general guide of £500 per year – can you afford this? You should also be aware of the need to maintain adequate contingency funds to meet unexpected veterinary bills and we would advise the need for third party insurance.

You should be fully aware of the commitment you are making. Although the average age for donkeys in the UK is 27, donkeys can live to over 40 years old. Therefore owning a donkey is a long-term commitment.

Donkeys are seen advertised for sale in local papers and equine publications, as well as being sold at markets. Once you have decided that donkeys are for you then we always recommend that you take an experienced person with you when looking. There are also donkey breed organisations, so if you are looking for a particular type of donkey then this may be your best option. The Donkey Sanctuary has produced a fact sheet called Buying a Donkey to assist you in this process.

The Donkey Sanctuary runs a Foster Scheme if you are looking to give a home to a pair of donkeys or mules. Please ring the Welfare Department for further details.

Donkeys can be territorial and new arrivals should be introduced carefully over a stable door. If possible allow new donkeys to explore their new home and settle in before allowing the new and old to mix. When donkeys are mixed for the first time ensure that they have plenty of space to avoid each other if they wish.

Download the full pdf file from the Donkey Sanctuary.

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