Why Donkeys Make Excellent Pets

Updated on February 28, 2019
justmesuzanne profile image

I have been writing online articles for more than 10 years and enjoy sharing my knowledge of various species.

My donkey Ray makes the most of his grazing time!
My donkey Ray makes the most of his grazing time! | Source

Keeping a Donkey as Pet and Pal

Taking care of my donkey is quite a bit of effort, but it's my hobby. I don't do lots of the things that other people do for fun. I don't have a cell phone or cable TV. I don’t travel or skydive or go square dancing. I care for my animals and read books from the library and watch movies. In the spring and summertime I garden. Keeping a donkey requires a lot of work, but it's worth it.

One day a donkey ran through a fence chasing a coyote or dog or something and got some cuts on his legs. Its owner, who had some experience with horses but not with donkeys, didn't know how to care for him. He was feeding him a diet that was too rich, and this interfered with the healing of the cuts. I knew what to do, so he gave the donkey to me.

I named him Ray. I grew up with horses, donkeys, and mules, and caring for an equine is very satisfying to me. In fact, with Ray to take care of, I feel more like my true self than I have at any other time in my adult life. If you don't have equine experience, you probably have no way of understanding it, but people who know and love horses, donkeys, and mules will understand in a heartbeat.

What Are Donkeys Like?

Donkeys are tough and rugged and very strong. They are much stronger than horses and very versatile. On the practical side, Ray helps me with my garden by providing manure and by eating the weeds and grass down around my yard. If I can find a little cart and harness for not too much, I will enlist Ray's help to haul the manure from his lot to my backyard garden and compost area. If he does well with that, then I may start driving him up to the feed store to pick up his own feed and hay! I personally believe that equines enjoy working with people who treat them well and handle them correctly. Helping me with these chores will give Ray purpose and something interesting to do in addition to grazing, going for walks, and being groomed!

Can You Ride a Donkey?

Carrying a medium height and weight woman is no strain on Ray at all, and I can ride him if I want. I would be more comfortable with a taller pony, donkey, or mule, but it is no problem for Ray. Being ridden helps him stay in shape, and he gets to go on outings and socialize with more people, which he greatly enjoys. Incidentally, Ray has opened many social doors for me as I tend not to be particularly outgoing, but people can hardly resist talking to me when I'm with Ray! Thanks to Ray, I’m much more popular than I used to be!

Are Donkeys Hard to Take Care Of? What Are the Costs?

For people who do their research and don't think of them as cuddly pets, donkeys are good companions and easy to care for. They require far less veterinary and farrier attention than a horse.

Ray costs me less to care for than my dogs. His food is less expensive (crimped oats $12 for 50 pounds + hay $12 a bale). I purchase food for him about every six weeks. I get him a $2 mineral salt block about four times a year. He also gets a carrot every day and occasional apples, oranges, bananas, and other fruits and veggies. Additionally, I stake him out to graze for 2-3 hours a day.

In the fall, he eats horse-apples from naturalized trees in the area. These are a natural wormer, and I mix food grade diatomaceous earth with his feed on an ongoing basis as a regular wormer. This is very inexpensive, usually about a dollar a pound. A ten pound bag lasts about six months.

Ray lives on two lots near my home: A one acre lot that he mows in exchange for being allowed to live there and an adjoining four acre lot that I rent. People stop by to admire Ray standing on the porch of the empty little house that sits on the one acre lot. Ray is a popular local attraction!

Ray sees his farrier for a hoof trim every 2-3 months for $25. In the spring and summer he gets a spot-on fly repellent that costs about $15 every six weeks. The vet came out a few days ago and examined Ray and gave him all his shots for $140! Quite a deal, especially since he was also able to give rabies vaccines to two dogs and two cats while he was here for an additional $40. I will definitely have all critter shots done by the farm vet from now on. It is much more economical and much easier than carting them off to the small animal vet!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 justmesuzanne

    Comments

    Submit a Comment
    • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

      justmesuzanne 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Many thanks! I don't know how things are in Australia, but in Texas Craigslist ads are full of free donkeys. It may be very easy for you to get a nice pet donkey. The minis (about the size of a large dog) are fun! :)

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 

      6 years ago from australia

      I love this story and I always wanted a donkey - (the kids had horses when they were younger - and I now have two cows) Ray sounds delightful and gives you so much in return for your love and care. Sending best wishes to you both...

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 

      6 years ago from India

      Very interesting hub..

    • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

      justmesuzanne 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks! Glad you liked it. I will post more pictures of Ray. Next time he has his bareback pad and bridle on I will take a few shots. He had a bath both yesterday and today because of mud, so he's looking pretty spiffy! :)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      6 years ago from Texas

      My grandpa and grandma had horses and mules, but no donkey. I think it would have been great fun to have one or two. I loved the horses. We had lots of dogs, chickens, cows, pigs and ducks.

      I would like to see more pictures of Ray.

      Wonderful Hub, voted up UAI and will share

    • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

      justmesuzanne 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Good bit of Indian trivia! Thanks! :D

    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 

      6 years ago from New Delhi India

      Sounds fun. In India usually the washer man ( who wash clothes.. they are not seen much now as now nearly every house has washing machine) usually kept donkeys but I do not see many people keeping them now .

    • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

      justmesuzanne 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks, SG! :)

      Jennifer: Kudos on adopting a BLM donkey. The BLM is just devastating our public lands by rounding up our wild horses and burros and selling them at auction to kill buyers who transport them unsafely to Mexico for slaughter. It is a travesty and must be stopped. You will make a huge difference for the donkey you adopt and set a great example for others to follow! :)

      Peggy: Thanks for the kind words, votes and shares! :)

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      There are several families around me that have donkeys, I have often wondered why. They don't seem to do any work, except maybe keep the grass and weeds under control. I guess they are great pets, I have never really been around a donkey. You hub is awesome, I really enjoyed reading this! I am happy that Ray has you for his best friend! :) Up and interesting! :)

    • MJennifer profile image

      Marcy J. Miller 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      You're a person after my own heart, Suzanne. I've always had such a soft spot for donkeys (ahhhh, heck, they have fur and hooves, so of course I would!) and expect to adopt a BLM burro in the coming year or so when we add a BLM mustang to our herd. I so enjoyed your well-written and upbeat hub!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Suzanne,

      It sounds like Ray has a wonderful life and he is giving joy to yours. It is obvious from reading this that his coming into your life was a blessing for you both. Hope he gets his cow someday! People used to kid my parents that they would like to come back as a dog in their house and we have been told the same. Our animals do give us so much pleasure! Up, useful and interesting votes and will share with my followers and pin to my animal board.

    • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

      justmesuzanne 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Not a bribe - PAY! Yes, donkeys do get bored. They need lots of interaction, and they like to have a friend around like another donkey, horse, goat or cow. Ray loves cattle and gets very excited whenever he sees them. I think he must have been a guard donkey at some time before I had him. There is a horse in the lot next to his, and they are friends. He loves to go out on his walks and visit with people, too.

      You are not the only person to say it would be great to be my donkey! LOL! An old man who lives near me said, "When I die, I want to come back as a donkey, and I want you to take care of me!" Ray definitely has a comfortable life!

      Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

    • Anjili profile image

      Anjili 

      6 years ago from planet earth, a humanoid

      I would love to be your donkey. So loved and cared for. Ray reminds me of a donkey I encountered that couldn't lift a single weight until the owner gave it a fresh bun. The ass would take off pretty fast after chewing the bun and would work all day long. I saw it as requiring a bribe in order to do the chores. That put a smile on my face. Proves animals have rights to put their foot down for attention. By the way, do donkeys get bored?

    • justmesuzanne profile imageAUTHOR

      justmesuzanne 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Thanks Diogenes and Larry! Yes, I far prefer my animals to any person I know! :D I have not read that book, D, but I will look it up.

      Larry, there is a horse who lives in the lot next to Ray, and they are friends. During times when Ray stays in my yard for extended periods, he bonds with me more. If I am ever able to get him into a larger pasture, I will get a small milk cow or milk goat to keep him company. He is VERY fond of cows and gets very excited any time he sees them. I think he must have guarded a herd of cattle at some time in his life.

      Thanks for the votes and shares! :)

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      Hi Suzanne,

      We're learning more and more about the therapeutic values of animals. Back in the 1950s, nobody would have guessed that Fido could have the talent to be a seizure alert dog.

      Maybe we'll discover specific ways that donkeys can help people with certain health problems. Maybe even cancer?

      Here's my stooopid question of the day. I know that Ray enjoys having you as his best human buddy. But does he feel lonely for the company of other equines?

      Voted up, beautiful, and shared.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 

      6 years ago from UK and Mexico

      I can't seem to find bliss with another human being, and I have enjoyed my animals more and more over the years and I feel they bring me closer to the universe in some rare way. I love donkeys and had great sympathy for them when I lived in Mexico where they work them like...like donkeys, or burros. Have you read Graham Mackintosh' book, "Travel with a Baja Burro."? Marvellous.

      Bob

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)