Miniature donkeys are a distinct breed of
the equine family, and have not been bred down in size like miniature horses.
They were imported to the United States - on a limited basis - over 70
years ago from Sardinia and Sicily- off the
coast of Italy.
Only a handful of
the ancestors from these original bloodlines still reside on these islands.
In the United States,
mini donkeys have become beloved pets:
Their small size coupled with a calm and gentle
disposition makes them an ideal companion animal.
Although, originally they were used for packing burdens,
guarding livestock, pulling loads and even mining; today, they are used for a
variety of other activities.
See article on What
you can do with a miniature donkey.
Miniature donkeys are hardy and easily
They are lifetime pets, and with proper care and feeding
can live on the average of 25-30 years.
As the friendliest, most affectionate and
intelligent animal of its type, the mini donkey has a trustworthy patience
around the elderly, children and the handicapped.
and experiments in the U.S.A., United Kingdom and Switzerland show that the
placid temperament of donkeys make them superior to horses in "Equine
Therapy Work." In addition, they are known to have a greater capacity to
bond and respond to humans than other equines.
the first importers of miniature donkeys to the United States in 1929 sums it up
"Miniature donkeys possess
the affectionale nature of a Newfoundland, the resignation of a cow, the
durability of a mule, the courage of a tiger, and an intellectual capability
only slightly inferior to man's." - Robert Green
you have a few acres or a sprawling ranch, miniature donkeys make a most
rewarding and versatile investment. Despite the economic ups and downs of
recent years, miniature donkey have not only held, but increased their appeal
and value. They are "easy keepers" - hardy, desert animals with
much less maintenance and expense than horses. Their compact size makes them
much easier to manage and handle than their larger counterparts. Less
inclined to kick than horses, they are much safer around children.
They are gentle, affectionate, and sociable to
people of all ages, making the perfect pet. They are used as companions for
other animals (mainly other equines), and have a calming influence on
racehorses and stallions.
Some are suitable for guarding livestock-goats and
sheep are safer from predators with a miniature in the pasture.
They are fun to train and show. You can be a
serious halter competitor or have a laugh at the barrel races.
Traditionally "beasts of burden," they can
carry small children, pull carts or wagons for pleasure, drag loads around
the farm, or carry packs on a mountain trek.
They're cute!!! There's something so uniquely endearing
about those big long ears and soft brown eyes that make you want to hug them.
You can pick up and snuggle the foals in your arms! They also follow you around
and make you feel special. Don't you like feeling adored?
Courtesy of Rae Wheelis Photography
They keep you humble. Although some may be sleek
champions with impressive trophies and top-gun handlers, they are, after all
. . . donkeys! And unpredictable at that! Consequently, even the most serious
competitors have a sense of humor which makes participating in events a lot
of fun. Which leads me to my next point...
They make us laugh! They are very expressive and
can be great comedians. Each one has a very distinct personality which may be
exhibited when you least expect it.
They are good listeners.
They're not common like dogs or cats. So, they make a
wonderful conversation starter..."You own What?" They still are a
unique and "exotic" animal, even though they have been imported
since the 1940's. Still many people have never even heard of a miniature
donkey much less seen one.
They can be a real attention-getter for your farm, home
They are considered the best for "Equine
Therapy Work", helping many mentally and physically handicapped.
Having mini donkeys is a wonderful
way for teaching young people character and responsibility through
A great attraction for public events such as
parades and church pageants.
donkeys are "easy keepers", they still require attention and TLC.
Everyone who considers purchasing a miniature donkey should weigh the cost;
time and responsibility. In addition to basic care, their affectionate and
faithful nature deserves a relationship.
Donkeys usually bond in pairs, so everybody should have an equine buddy. May
be another donkey, mule, or horse.
Fresh clean water at all times.
Feed good quality Tifton 85 or coastal/Bermuda
hay. When grass is not abundant, each donkey gets about 1/2 to 1 flake
morning and evening.
Miniatures generally require between 1-4 lbs. of good quality, balanced feed
as a supplement. The amount, frequency, and protein/caloric content of the
feed given should depend on the individual. The age, weight, etc. of the
animal should be judged, as it is extremely important not to overfeed or
underfeed. Some good products: Purina Strategy, 10% Horse and Mule, Purina
Omalene 200, etc.
It is important to have mineral supplements available at all times. It is
wise to use two different forms-loose and block-to ensure all donkeys get
some form of them*.
important for the minerals to be specifically for Equines, not cattle or
Hooves should be trimmed generally every 6-8 weeks. It is possible to learn
to do this yourself, when not using a professional farrier.
Regular worming using a broad-spectrum paste like Ivermectin. Dose by weight
every 6-8 weeks or as needed due to weather conditions.
Mature donkeys need (at least) annual vaccinations. We recommend Flu-Rhino,
EWT, West Nile, and Rabies at minimum.
Consult your veterinarian for vaccines concerning young donkeys and pregnant
A simple 3-sided shed should be provided at least. Barns and shelters,
paddocks, and pasture need to be kept clean for parasite control.
Unclipped donkeys usually do not have fly problems (except occasionally in
spring/summer). If you decide to body clip, use an equine fly spray when
necessary. Keeping areas manure-free and using fly traps is the best solution
for abundant flies.
(LOTS OF LOVE)
Spending time with your miniature donkey is beneficial both ways!
Donkey & Mule Society
American Donkey & Mule Society
National Miniature Donkey Association
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THIS WEBSITE: Straight Arrows Ranch breeds sweet, affectionate miniature
donkeys for sale in the Hill Country area of Texas. Our top quality, pedigree studs are
bred by matt carlson and sherri carlson. We specialize in award winning, show
quality sicilian donkeys, mediterranean donkeys, jacks, jack, jennets,
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