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Donkey Care

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Donkey Care at Li'l Angels Miniature Donkeys


Li'l Angels will not be breeding for 2016. We are putting all efforts into enjoying the beloved donkeys we have and taking time to follow up on donkeys we have sold and where they are now. We are responsible for what we put on this earth, the donkey population needs a break and needs our help to find forever homes. Please join our efforts and reward the donkeys.

We are so grateful for having found such joy in owning donkeys we are ready for the next chapter and that is to give back to them! We are taking a break from breeding indefinately to open our farm as a foster facility to a great rescue run by kind souls with a mission. Visit to see all of the animals up for adoption. Fostering can bring such reward! Please read the foster guidelines on their site and give it some thought. Open a space in your heart, there is room I promise!

Donkeys are easy to care for, especially compared to larger animals, but they should never be neglected. That's why we like to help new donkey owners get at least a basic understanding of donkey care. Donkeys may be used for a variety of tasks, or just as pets, but they ALWAYS need basic care. Here is an outline of the care program we encourage.

  • Feed about 1/2 flake of good quality coastal hay morning and evening per animal when grass is not abundant.

  • Feed pregnant and lactating moms from 2 to 4 lbs. per day (divide into 2 or 3 feedings) of a good quality balanced feed such as Omalene 200 or Strategy.  Geldings and mature jacks usually don't need more than 2 lbs. per day (divide into 2 or 3 feedings). Foals can be fed a quality feed formulated for growing equine, such at Purina Equine Junior, and can eat up to 2 pounds per feeding. They also take longer to eat than an adult, and should not be fed with adults, since the adults will come to eat their feed and run them away from it. You must use your judgement according to the INDIVIDUAL weight of the animal. Please contact me for more discussion on this subject if you are not sure about the weight of your animal. We use a regular "pet milk" can as a feed measurer, but some feed weighs more than other feeds. One pet milk can of Strategy weighs about 1 lb.

  • DO NOT OVERFEED! DO NOT UNDERFEED! This can be difficult at first, but don't give up. If you are not sure, please seek advice from a professional. Donkeys have a lot of hair, and you have to learn to judge their weight by "feel". You should not see their backbones, or be able to see their ribs. They should feel round in the hips and shoulders, but not have bulging necks or "pones" on their backs and hips.

  • A mineral supplement must be available at all times. Since miniature donkeys can easily be overfed, they often do not get enough minerals in their meager rations. Minerals can be provided in the form of a lick or loose minerals that can be offered free choice or used as a top dressing. I use both forms of minerals in order to make sure all my donkeys get some form of them. I use a high quality mineral block, Purina Nature's Essentials.

  • Fresh, clean water must be provided at all times. Donkeys don't like dirty or hot water. They also don't like freezing cold water!

  • Trim hooves as needed, usually about every two months, but foals need it more often. You can learn to do this yourself, but it must not be neglected.

  • De-worm every other month alternating between an ivermectin product such as Zimecterin and a fenbendazole product such as Safeguard or Panacur. Use Prazyquantel twice annually for Tape Worms.

  • Keep pastures, paddocks and stalls clean to control parasites and flys.

  • Vaccinate in the spring and fall for Influenza, Rhino, Eastern/Western Encephalomalitis, and West Nile. Rabies and Tetanus should be given once a year. This routine can vary according to exposure. Check with your veterinarian for professional advice on vaccinations. We do not give the Flu vaccine until foals are 8 or 9 mos. of age. Giving it too early may inhibit your animals' ability to develop immunity against the Flu. We vaccinate pregnant jennets at 6, 8 and 10 months duration for Rhino. Flu, Rhino and Strangles are very contageous, and transmitted from animal to animal. If you transport or show your animals, they will need vaccines for these diseases more often. They must be given vaccines at least three weeks before traveling.

  • Lots of people ask me about flies. If a donkey has a full coat, flies don't usually bother them too much. We do have problems with flies on their legs in the spring. We use a salve called "Swat" and cover the areas where the flies are picking on them about twice a week. We also use equine fly spray on our clipped donkeys when it is necessary.

Some Frequently Asked Questions:

    Do donkeys need to be clipped? No, only if you show them or you just want  to.

    Can I bathe my donkey? Yes you can. Most donkeys learn to enjoy a bath every now and then. It helps to use warm water! It is not a necessary part of grooming but it will make their hair look nice. We bathe our show donkeys often. Donkeys do love to be brushed often.

    Can I keep my jack with my jennets? This depends on the jack. If you own a jack and you are not probably need to contact me and we can discuss this.

    Can't I just de-worm once a year? De-worming is one of the most important health care and prevention services you can supply to your donkeys. Do not let your guard down on this one. Don't just take my word for to your veterinarian.

    When can donkey foals be weaned? We wean between 4 and 6 months depending on how well the foal is eating concentrates and the condition of the mother. Weaning with a friend makes the transition much easier on the foal.

    Can I use pesticides such as ant poison in my donkey paddocks? We strongly suggest you do not do this. We keep our pastures as natural and clean as possible. If you do choose to use a product to control ants, please make sure it is safe for animals. There are products that work well, but will not poison your donkeys.

    Can't my donkeys just live on grass or grass and oats?  We feed high quality feed, in small amounts,  because grass and hay just does not contain enough nutrients for equine even if it is fertilized. We actually find our donkeys get too fat on grass and have to move them to smaller pastures, but this does not mean they are getting the nutrients they need,  just too many calories. If you have pet donkeys, it's fine to use hay and grass for their primary diet, but this is where minerals become extremely important.

    Do miniature donkeys make good guard animals, against dogs and coyotes? NO! They are too small for the job. They generally don't like canine, and may attack them, but they could easily be overpowerd by a large dog, or a "pack". If you need guard donkeys, we recommend larger ones.

    Can I purchase a jack and jennet as a pair? This is NOT a good plan. Owning a jack comes with a great deal of responsibility, and your jennet is not going to be very happy with him as her companion. Jacks are aggressive. Yes, they are very sweet also, but they are aggressive breeders. They are territorial, and protective. They are not safe around small children. Jennets prefer other jennets as companions, and can become lonely and depressed without other female companionship. A gelding would be a better choice for a jennet than a jack, but another jennet would be ideal. Geldings make great pets, and can live in pairs or groups very happily. There are MANY problems associated with keeping a jack. Please contact me for more information on this. "A breeding pair" is just not a good thing. There are lots of jacks around to breed to if you want to have foals.

    When should I geld? This really depends on what purpose you have for your donkey, but generally speaking, the earlier the better. Please ask your vet to "ligate" when he does this procedure. Donkeys have larger veins and bleed more than horses.

Caring for you donkeys doesn't take a lot of time or money, but it will really pay off in the long run with health benefits and overall well being. Please call or e-mail us with any questions you may have about donkey care. If we don't know the answers, we will help you find them!


For more information please contact:

Jennifer Eastep


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