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.
A photographer took this photo of her and it was in his gallery showing. She’s almost famous!
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… ;)
Donkeys Rock! A great addition.
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…
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
I have a recue Jack, his name is Don Quexote , omg I love Don he is so sweet his eyes they go straight to my heart , also have 4 horses they look at Don strangely still after5 years but they get along ,so happy I got him was scared at first cause I new nothing about donkeys but read all kinds of books and now he is my joy to be with in the pasture , if ever have a chance get one but be patient because everything is on his his time
I’ve fallen in love with donkeys a few years back after finding out what great equines they are. I always wanted a horse to ride, but after a few years ago I took to donkeys instead. Horses just aren’t the same, they are dumber, and overrated in my opinion. Snooty horse folk, think you’re crap because you don’t own a horse or think horses are the best gosh dang animal God has ever made. I don’t get why people think horses, a common and unnessary animal is so importat to everybody. They’re expensive, they smell, and are a unintellnent equine. Donkeys are much more tolerable, and superior equine to them. Horses are nothing compared to them, I mean they just burn through your money to have a smell gross equine. I haven’t got a donkey yet, but when I do I’ll be sure to go trotting by some snooty horse people smiling.
I fell in love with mules, 12 years ago, and now my son has two of them, takes them to the fairs, and met some folks with miniature donkeys, and now my son and his wife have one, named him “Duffer” He was born Sept 2, 2016. Every wonderful thing I’ve read about them, is so true and interesting. I’m sure it won’t be long till I could write a book about “Duffer”. All Steve has to do is talk to them, explain the whats’ and whys’ of what he wants done, and IT’S DONE!
We are looking into getting a donkey for our small ranch. The coyotes keep coming in and getting the chickens and turkeys. It would be out by them from spring to fall and then out on the pasture for some well earned rest.
My 2 donkeys won’t make a single noise why is that?
I do believe this is the real fantastic short article.Really thank you! Amazing.
I love donkeys too! I have Jack, who is a jack, uncut. He’s somewhere between 30 and 40 according to my vet. That’s why I haven’t had him gelded, at his age, it would be cruel and unnecessary, IMO. Nearly toothless, rescued from a RESCUE whose owner ended up going to jail for animal cruelty. I went there and took what I considered to be a hard to place animal (cause I like those kind) and he’s been the best. Loves his ears scratched and belly rubs. Will chase dogs and coyotes.
He’s absolutely horrible about having his feet trimmed, but the rescue lady said they always roped him and threw him down, then trimmed his feet to blood once a year (so go figure he wants to run when he sees farrier tools. I refuse to throw him down, I just tie a foot so that he can’t kick me in the face, and I do him personally. I’ve tried sedating him and it just doesn’t work)
He’s very vocal, and going blind now, but I love him dearly. He’s provided hours of amusement for me. I recommend everyone have a donkey. They are the best!
Thank you for the great post… I dont have a donkey, but, I am a proud owner of two wonderful Mules… they are wonderful!
We bought our “expensive” donkey as a guard donkey for the goats. (She doesn’t even like goats, she wants to be a horse.) Emma is the queen, the mascot, the sweetest (toward people) and brightest of the equines here! It took some time to understand how differently their minds work from horses, but they are treasures. And we have discovered if you can’t get them to do what you want (this happens regularly), you have to TALK to them. Explain what and why you are asking of them. With Emma, it works every time. I also sometimes “explain” that if she wants to go with the horses to another pasture Ever Again, she has to come when I tell her to, etc. When I needed to put her dreaded grazing muzzle on, I simply explained why she needed to wear it and she stands patiently for me to put it on. Although I do sense a metaphorical eye roll.
Thank you for your story! I love ’em, too!
We love donkeys! We also love mules! They are great animals with distinct personalities. Our mini mule Festus came from a very bad auction, he was purchased for 35 dollars. He was abandoned and scared , but his heart showed through. He lights up our day and always makes you smile.