Miniature Donkeys are members of the equine family… their Latin name is equus asinus. They are native to the Mediterranean Islands of Sicily and Sardinia and are properly called Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys. They were first imported into this country in 1929.
Miniature Donkeys are about as close to the perfect pet as you can get. They are adorable from the moment they are born… and are without a doubt one of the most loveable and affectionate critters in the animal kingdom. They thrive on attention and have an amazing amount of love to give in return.
Miniature and Micro-Mini Donkeys are growing in popularity because so many people have discovered their value and unique qualities… Trustworthy around children, the elderly, and the handicapped; they are wonderful for people of all ages. Miniature donkeys are the perfect solution to anyone who loves equines, but are intimidated by larger sized animals, or might not have the place, health or means to have a larger animal. They are very economical and “easy keepers”.
Female donkeys are called jennets or jennies, and male donkeys are called jacks. If jacks are not being used for breeding purposes, they should always be gelded… especially if around children. Baby donkeys are called foals. Their gestation is usually 12 – 13 months, and the foal is born at about 2/3 their adult height. Jennets are usually excellent mothers… docile around humans yet very protective of their babies putting themselves between their baby and whatever they consider a danger to their little one. Jennets typically produce only one foal every 15 – 18 months, as jennies should be given at least a little time off between foals. Twins are rare.
There are many uses for Miniature Donkeys… not only do they make great pets, but they can be trained to pull carts, used as companion animals, and have excellent therapeutic value around handicapped individuals and in nursing homes as well as having many other uses… Please see our page on ‘Uses For Miniature Donkeys’ in this website for more detailed information and additional uses.
The old wives tale of donkeys being stubborn, is actually a sign of their intelligence. They are very cautious animals and will not proceed if they are unsure of a situation.
Miniature Donkeys have an average life span of 25 – 35 years. They communicate with their human owners and other donkeys by ‘braying’, also commonly known as a ‘hee-haw’. Every donkey has his or her own style of braying with some sounding quite comical. Jacks have a tendency to be more vocal.
To be registered, Miniature Donkeys must be under 36 inches in height… average height being 32 – 34 inches at the withers. To be considered a Micro-Mini donkey, they have to be 30 inches or under. Although every Miniature Donkey is not breeding quality, all minis, especially geldings, have a role to play as wonderful companions, pets, therapy animals, and as public representatives in parades, fairs, schools, and nursing homes. As in other equine breeds, animals used for breeding should have good conformation and dispositions so they can pass along these important qualities to their offspring.
Miniature Donkeys are predominantly gray-dun with the characteristic dark cross on their back and withers. They also come in darker shades of gray, as well as brown, black, sorrel, white, spotted and roan. Donkeys usually have light colored noses, but there is a dark nosed gene as well.
(Showing some of the different coat colors)
Miniature Donkeys are remarkably hardy and healthy. They do require preventative vaccinations, should be de-wormed regularly and have their hooves trimmed every 2 -3 months or as needed. They are very tolerant of heat and cold, as long as they have shelter and are fed properly. They should have unlimited access to fresh water and require pasture and/or good quality grass hay along with a small amount of grain. They need pasture areas large enough for them to run, play, roll in the dirt and graze… Rotating pasture areas is recommended. Up to 5 donkeys can usually be kept on as little as 1 acre of land, but supplementing with grass hay is usually necessary.
Miniature Donkeys are ‘herd’ animals, and to avoid undue stress and loneliness, should not be kept by themselves, but with another Miniature Donkey or other suitable companion animal. Even leaving their other herd mates for an event such as a parade, show or other event can be stressful if they are not used to being around lots of people, kids, other animals, and the many strange noises at a public event… but they usually adjust quite quickly and return to their normal quiet, laid back behavior.
If you are considering buying a miniature donkey for the first time…. Your decision to own miniature donkeys may be the most enjoyable, entertaining, and rewarding choice you’ve ever made…. Not to mention the donkey’s therapeutic value for everyone of all ages.
We hope you will enjoy and love the miniature donkeys as much as we do.