A miniature donkey is a small breed of donkey, typically standing at 36-42 inches tall and weighing about 250 pounds. They are often used as companion animals for children or people who cannot care for large livestock. Miniature donkeys require little to no maintenance and can live happily in all climates with proper shelter. This article will explore the pros and cons of owning a miniature donkey as a pet.
Are Miniature Donkeys Good Pets?
As their name suggests, miniature donkeys take up less space than full-sized ones and they might also need less feed. They’re every bit as intelligent as full-sized donkeys and can be taught to get along with other pets.
That being said, some farmers prefer to keep their miniature donkeys apart from most of their other animals if they haven’t been socialized well.
How Much Do Miniature Donkeys Cost?
True miniature donkeys that are less than 9 hands tall can cost anywhere from around $500-2,000. You can find ones that are slightly larger at much lower prices.
This is because animal husbandry specialists don’t consider any donkey over 36″ to be a real miniature one.
How Big Do Dwarf Donkeys Get?
In general, the term dwarf donkey isn’t specifically defined by any breeders. As a result, there’s no concrete definition as to how big they get.
Miniatures, however, are usually around 32-34″ in height. They must be under 36″ to meet this classification.
What are Miniature Donkeys Good for?
While they’re usually kept as companion animals at this point, miniature donkeys have historically been used for a number of farm-related tasks. They’re safer than full-sized donkeys and can be used for pasture as well as yard maintenance.
Can You Keep a Miniature Donkey in Your House?
Some people do keep miniature donkeys in their house, but you’ll want to make sure that you either raise them as an indoor animal or introduce them to your house over time. An outdoor miniature donkey who has never been inside of a home before will otherwise be likely to start wrecking things.
Do Miniature Donkeys Keep Coyotes Away?
Coyotes don’t usually like the presence of donkeys or the noise they make, so miniature ones can in fact keep them away. You don’t want to solely rely on them as the only way to keep coyotes away, however, since there are numerous reports of instances where coyotes successfully killed an unprotected miniature donkey.
Are Donkeys Expensive to Keep?
Outside of the initial costs, miniature donkeys can live on high-grade alfalfa-based feed that costs around $140-165 each ton. Regular hay is less than this, so miniature donkeys might not cost anywhere near as much to take care of as some might think.
You’ll also need carrots, apples, turnips and possibly sugar cubes, which can normally be purchased for reasonable costs. A full inspection by a vet will cost another $40-100, which isn’t all that different from what it might cost to have many dogs looked at.
How Long Do Mini Donkeys Live?
Miniature donkeys can live for at least 25 years. World traveler Dena Haines has found ones living as long as 35 years in some communities, and it’s possible that they could even live longer than this if they get sufficient exercise and eat a natural diet that isn’t too heavy on rich grasses.
How Much Land Do You Need for a Mini Donkey?
While you’re going to want to have plenty of lawn space for your miniature donkey to roam around in, you usually won’t need much more than you would for a larger dog. Those who have ¼-½ acre have reported that their mini donkeys are more than happy with this amount of space.
Do Mini Donkeys Get Along With Dogs?
Miniature donkeys that are socialized around dogs should be able to get along with them just fine. Raising your miniature donkey alongside of your dog will dramatically increase the chances that there won’t be any issues in the future.
Mature miniature donkeys who’ve never seen a dog might have some issues around them, however.
Do Dwarf Donkeys Kill Dogs?
Donkeys of any size might kill a dog if he or she felt threatened by it. It’s important to keep this in mind whenever you’re introducing your donkey to an animals that they haven’t come into contact with before.
At the same time, you’ll want to remember that the reverse is true too. While donkeys tend to be more powerful than most domesticated dogs, there’s the possibility that a determined dog can grab the neck of a miniature donkey and kill him.
What Do I Need for a Mini Donkey?
You’ll need a storage area for feed and a trough that can hold plenty of water. A dedicated shelter for your donkey as well as a fenced off area for them outside.
Other accessories might include a feed scoop if your donkey is particularly hungry, but most people who keep a miniature donkey merely as a companion animal will simply need a feed bucket. Rubberized flooring might be needed for indoor areas, especially if your so-called miniature donkey is a bit on the larger size.
Do Mini Donkeys Lay Down?
Most miniature donkeys will actually lay down when they sleep, which is more common than you might think among larger four-legged animals. However, they normally have to stand up some time after birth, which might be where people got the idea that they don’t lay down.
As miniature donkeys age, they may be at risk for a form of arthritis. This could limit the amount of time they spend lying down.
Are Miniature Donkeys Noisy?
Depending on how you raise them, miniature donkeys are usually about as noisy as larger full-sized ones. However, due to their smaller stature they physically can’t make as much noise as other donkeys would.
Keep in mind that donkeys bray for a variety of reasons, so you won’t want to ignore a loud donkey anywhere. They might be trying to tell you about a need that they have or trying to warn about some source of oncoming danger.
What Vaccines Do Miniature Donkeys Need?
While some veterinarians will recommend other vaccinations, the Donkey Sanctuary has recommended that these animals receive shots against tetanus and equine influenza. Considering their small size, miniature donkeys usually receive much lower doses than full-sized animals.
If you keep a donkey of any size in areas that have recently had outbreaks, then you might also need to get them inoculated against the virus that causes Venezuelan equine encephalitis.
Will Mini Donkeys Protect Chickens?
Mini donkeys may protect chickens from predators like coyotes if they’re well-socialized and trained. A miniature donkey that doesn’t feel uncomfortable around chickens might make enough of a presence to scare off larger land animals.
In some instances, miniature donkeys have also been known to scare off snakes, weasels and other animals that cause problems for chickens.