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New Member
Apr 10, 2021
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Hey, I don’t currently have miniature donkeys, but I’m interested in getting a pair down the road. I used to have a couple full sized donkeys a long time ago and they were amazing. So here are some questions.... what are the bare necessities that miniature donkeys need? How much land is necessary? How expensive would it be to get a pair? What gender pairing is best? What are common illnesses among them? Where is the best place to get them? How long is their average lifespan?

Also, what are good websites/forums to learn and research?
That's so exciting!! When you're get them you need to post pics!
Okay, some answers to your questions.
Water. Low quality hay (low in protein). Shelter. Farrier.
It depends on if you are going to feed hay year round, or let them out on pasture. If you are going to let them on pasture, it depends on the quality if the grass to determine how big the area needs to be. So that one's kinda iffy to answer, we'd need more details.
Totally depends on the area your in. I found my 3 donkeys for $450 each, but I was able to sell my mini jack for $1200. And all the adds I see are for $1000+, and they sell! I definitely wouldn't pay that much for one. But if that's all that's available, you may be willing to.
Depends on the donkeys. Some of them do better then others. Usually people try and stick with same gender. I've got 2 girls that live together, and there's no way I could seperate them, cause they've been together since the younger one was born. I did put my little male with them as well, and they all did fine together. So it kinda depends on the donkey.
Obesity! That's a huge one!! You need to make sure you are monitoring their feed intake. Do not feed grain! It is unnecessary, and just don't do it.
They can easily live up to 30 or 40 years with the proper nutrition and care! They can be lifelong buddies!

This forum has been super great! I was also a member of the HorseForum, and that is a great community! (I was banned cause of a change in the rules and all minors were banned 😥)

Good luck on your journey!! I can't wait to hear about your adventures!!!
I agree with the other Abby, and will just add, if you are in a situation of being able to set up your place as needed for donkeys, I would make a dry lot or a track system and forget about grass. Most donkeys really won't do well on full pasture for metabolic reasons and while you might be able to work with it in some instances and have it be OK for them, if I were specifically designing a donkey area I would make it grass-free and plan to feed hay year-round.

Re: hay - people will tell you to feed "crappy" hay but sometimes hay that looks crappy can actually be quite high in sugar (due to drought or other stress) so I'd tend towards a good quality first cut timothy or timothy mix hay, fed in slow-feed nets or at least weighed out based on their ideal body weights. Avoid straw and grain hays. Donkeys are extremely easy keepers for the most part so you want to make sure they get adequate nutrition without overdoing it on calories or carbs. If you can buy hay in batches that last a while then it's worth testing it for sugar levels and to get an idea of its overall profile, then supplement anything that is lacking mineral-wise.

I agree that donkeys are awesome. If I had my own place I'd definitely have one, probably two, since they do so love to play together.
Just gonna butt in here again, and say that I agree that no grass would be best. And there is a big difference between crappy, and low quality hay. Crappy hay, might be moist, or mouldy or have thorns in it, and is advertised for sale cause some people use it for things like pig bedding. Do not feed this to your donkeys. Low quality hay is still green and not mouldy or dusty, or too dry. It's just lower in protein and sugars.
Right, I was just saying that often people (not you, Abby, "they" ;) ) recommend hay that "doesn't look too nice" for easy keepers thinking that it will have a certain nutritional profile but about the only thing you can tell about hay by looking at it, assuming it's not moldy or full of weeds or whatever, is that vitamin A levels correlate with how green it is. So people assume that hay that is more stemmy, or more brown in color, or things like that, is automatically lower in sugar and hay that is green and beautiful is rocket fuel, and that is not always the case and in fact the opposite may be true; it could be brown or stemmy because it was growing during a drought and that can cause high sugars.

In general grass hay will not have excessive protein, especially not first cutting grass hay. You'd just want to avoid alfalfa and other legume hays (clover, birdsfoot trefoil), and probably second cutting grass hay.

If you're interested in delving deeper on this topic then has a lot of good info. She did a lot of experiments with grass and hay and was able at one point to create a grass hay with something like 17% sugar by changing its growing conditions and when she cut it. Of course most hay growers will look at you sideways if you ask them to please cut you some hay on a nice cloudy day, but many of them are getting more on board with horse owners searching for low-sugar hay.

Of course not everyone wants or needs to be a hay nerd so I think for planning purposes "first cut grass hay" is a good place to stop worrying. :) If you get healthy donkeys and manage them carefully then you'll be way ahead of the game and hopefully would never have to worry about metabolic issues! Much easier to prevent than fix it once it's already happened.

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