As most of you know, I adore my elegant and supersweet donkey, Norma Jean. She is delightful and highly intelligent – she has her own FaceBook page!
But alas, many of you wonder why anyone would have a donkey…
Well, in honor of NJ, I am reposting this story today.
If you have the space and ability, get a donkey! Donkeys Rock! Here’s why:
- PROTECTION: A donkey hates canines or anything that enters their pasture. Therefore, if you have a coyote, ground squirrel, neighbor dog, wild pig or any other kind of critter roaming about, your donkey will deter them. They will also go after the family dog, too, so be careful of that. However, your dog will get trained in a hurry, believe me.
- INTELLIGENCE: A donkey will be the smartest equine on the place. If there is a noise or danger, the donkey will stand and face it to determine the defcon level. (A horse will flee, as we all know.) The donkey will make a solid assessment and then tell the rest of the herd. After a while, they will look to the donkey when they are frightened. Yay! Less horsey mayhem.
- HEARTY: A donkey is a very hearty animal. You have to feed them quality food, but you feed them less, they rarely get sick or have foot issues. They DO founder and don’t let anyone tell you they won’t. So, be careful with treats and really green grass. But generally, they will stay healthier than horses under the same conditions.
- SURE FOOTED: Oh my gosh, a donkey can walk a tightrope. If you have an odd pasture with an odd shape that needs trimming, use a donkey.
- GREAT TEMPERAMENT: A donkey is quiet by nature. They are really sweet and have very tender, velvety soft muzzles. They can take a tiny treat from your hands without touching your fingers. They are adept.
- GREAT HEARING: Big ears.
- GREAT PEACEKEEPER: A donkey will bite anybody who is fussing for no reason. They just want everyone to keep the peace. They are great with Shetlands (no easy feat…) and rowdy youngsters. But, donkeys are small so if you want a “rowdy youngster helper” for bigger youngins, get a MULE.
- GREAT LESSON FOR KIDS: Horses don’t take to donkeys at first. Donkeys look and smell different. Those ears are very funny looking. But, eventually, the donkey will rule. A good lesson about staying true to yourself.
- INEXPENSIVE: Donks are easy to come by and don’t need much unusual care. They work really hard for their keepers and are eternally grateful. And, they need homes.
I have had Norma Jean for 14 years. I got her when she was 2. She keeps the Shetlands in line, teaches the babies and has charmed the most snooty of my horses. She did founder when a neighbor kept feeding her sweets through the fence, but has since fully recovered.
And, the best story of all… Aladdin, in his younger years, would terrorize Norma. I didn’t know what to do. A friend suggested a horse psychic she knew to speak to him. Couldn’t hurt, could help so why not…
The psychic spoke to Aladdin. According to her, Aladdin just couldn’t tolerate Norma. She was too odd and smelled funny. He wanted her OUT of his property.
The psychic was very clever. She told Aladdin that donkeys are the smartest equines and Norma could really help them if he buddied up with her. She could alert him of marauding animals, she could probably open any gate and she was the most brave of all. After a few minutes of this, Aladdin told the psychic that he would give it his best shot.
The psychic left. And, the next morning, Norma had somehow gotten into Aladdin’s pasture and was eating WITH HIM out of his grain bowl. And, they have been best friends ever since. (For real.)
Now, I’m not saying that the psychic actually spoke to Aladdin or whatever… I’m just telling the story… ;)
Here are a few links to donkey rescue facilities as well as a link to the BLM for a wild burro. Although it is indeed easier to adopt a well adapted and often handled donkey from a sanctuary, if you feel you have the skill for a wild burro, BLM donkeys are brilliant, really.
Let me know your donkey stories!
Oh, and the braying, well, they only bray when they have something important to say…
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