Letter Re: Donkeys as Pack Animals

HJL,

Good info from B.W. We also have donkeys, miniature donkeys. They make excellent pets and fine companions on the trail. We hike and even camp with ours, as well as string them along with their packs behind our mules on trail rides. When introduced properly, they get along fine with the family/farm dogs. We have found their personalities to be very similar to dogs, and they will even lay their head in your lap for attention.

Donkeys also make excellent property alarm systems. Our little pair will begin braying at the approach of a car or truck long before I hear it coming up our long gravel drive. Their “radar” and those lovable long ears are impeccable indicators of approach or movement by wildlife. All I have to do is follow their gaze or the direction of those ears and more times than not there’s a deer sneaking down the wood line or turkeys picking their way along. They have also alerted me to unwanted visitors of the 4-legged variety after dark while our other equine silently observe. I never fail to investigate our braying mini donks after dark, and they’re yet to sound a false alarm.

One note of caution: donkeys (of any size) do not need nearly the amount of feed, hay, or grass that a horse does, and as a result they are subject to founder in the spring and summer if left out with too much access to rich grass. Donkeys are desert animals built to thrive in arid regions. Make sure you have a dry lot or a separate paddock to limit access to rich grass in the spring and summer. – W. in the Old Dominion

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