From miniature to mammoth, the donkey is a versatile companion that easily earns its place on farms.

They have big ears, make funny sounds, and eat air to stay alive. That’s right, I’m talking about donkeys! These highly intelligent yet stubborn four-hooved pets definitely have a place on the farm. Donkeys are valued for their gentleness and work ethic. They are remarkably hardy and take on many roles. You’ll want to add one of these cuties to your barn after checking out these top five reasons!

1. Keepers of the field: Infamously known for their guarding abilities, donkeys frequently take on the role of protector. Many barn owners place a donkey in their pasture to ward off coyotes, dogs, and other predators. They usually get along with horses, goats, sheep, and smaller barn critters. If you have a donkey, then you can rest assure that your field is well protected!

2. Ideal for kids: It’s their calm temperaments that make them great teachers for children. Donkeys are patient and forgiving. They handle situations rationally! It’s rare to see a donkey freak out… In fact, they are much quicker to put on the breaks, rather than run off. Your child can learn how to brush and lead their very own farm animal. Talk about a lesson in responsibility!

3. Hard working: Donkeys work as pack animals, in vineyards, agriculture, and petting zoos. They can carry equipment and supplies for day trips or overnight camping expeditions. Furthermore, some pull carts or plow small fields for farmers. In many countries, donkeys are very valuable for their working abilities. People depend on them for their livelihood!

It’s becoming even more common for donkeys to participate in equine assisted learning programs. They’re a great addition to farms that work with disabled children and adults. Some of the miniature ones are even taken into schools and hospitals.

4. Inexpensive and hardy:  In general, donkeys rarely get sick. They stay healthier than most horses and require less food. While you should still feed high quality hay, you won’t have to provide nearly as much of it as a horse. They’re also sure footed and have almost no hoof problems.  Donkeys can founder though, so be careful of really rich, green grass. Additionally, they don’t care much for the rain. A wet donkey can get sick and won’t be very happy.

You can purchase a donkey for an inexpensive price, as well. If your horse needs a companion, a donkey is a much cheaper sidekick than another horse. You can locate them at auctions, online, and local papers. They still require regular hoof care and annual vet checks though!

5. Very smart: They’re highly intelligent animals. Most people assume they’re stubborn, but in reality they sense danger and react accordingly. A donkey will assess the situation before fleeing (unlike a horse) and then alert the herd. They’re one of the smartest equines out there!

It’s easy to fall in love with this unique and clever animal. They form bonds with their owners and love to interact with people. They’re likely to approach you at the fence line. Are you sold on these cuties? With just a little land and a companion, you could be the owner of your very own donkey!

What kind of interactions have you had with them? Share your experiences and recommendations!

 

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Emily Fought discovered her passion for horses early on in life. When she isn’t writing about them, you can find her in the barn riding. Although Emily’s background is in dressage, she enjoys cross-training and is an avid trail rider. She resides in Northwestern Pennsylvania with her husband and small dog. Together, they own and operate Humblewood Farm.

 

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