Owning an animal has its positives and negatives. The same goes when you choose a donkey to own. Their efficiency as guard animals and as excellent farm animals make them the perfect choice, especially if you are a farm owner. But there are more things to consider before taking the big step. Having an idea of the pros and cons involved will guide you to the best decision. So, let’s see some advantages and disadvantages when owning a donkey.
Pros of Owning a Donkey
Donkeys’ playfulness, loyalty, and fun to be around factors make people like them very much. This adds to the cuteness they physically possess as well. Though not appreciated, the cuteness factor is a pro when it comes down to choosing a donkey for an animal. Apart from this, many other characteristics of donkeys draw the attention of potential donkey owners.
Donkeys Are Easy to Feed
One main factor that keeps donkeys apart from other farm animals in the case of maintenance is the ease of feeding them. Donkeys adapt quickly and are evolved through generations to survive off scarce vegetation and in arid lands. So, you don’t have to panic if you run out of green pastures, as donkeys love dry vegetation and can also survive eating only hay. Compared to cows and horses, donkeys eat much less than them, making them all the more affordable and easier to look after.
Donkeys Are Great as Guard Animals and Farm Hands
Donkeys bond well with other farm animals, making them perfectly fit for guarding livestock like goats and sheep. They protect particularly against coyotes, who are most likely to attack the farm. Donkeys’ natural dislike for the coyote family often ends up in them killing the small predator. Their loud braying and strong kicks are enough to keep small predators away.
Donkeys’ nature of making a bond does not stop with just animals; it extends to their masters and others around them as well. Once it is done, they could be trained to do chores that they will do willingly, with one motive to please their owners. Donkeys could be used in harness work where horses and oxen may not fit.
Donkeys Can Be Your Best Riding Partners
Donkeys have always been in use for carrying heavy loads in different and difficult terrains. And now, you can see an increase in the number of people choosing donkeys for riding. Their calm personality and lovable nature are to be held accountable for this positive change in people’s perceptions. Donkeys being easier to handle and train than horses is also one significant factor. Unlike horses, they rarely buck or rear, or bolt. You can enjoy a safe ride at a slower pace, which is perfect for busting all that stress.
Donkeys are also very helpful in carrying loads and gear on trails. This makes them the best companions to take for trekking and hiking. They can carry up to 125 pounds if everything is packed tight and fit their saddle properly, helping you enjoy the hike with no extra load to carry.
Donkeys Are Affordable and Live Long
Donkeys are available and very much affordable when compared to other animals like horses and cattle. The low cost of maintaining them and feeding them are bonuses to donkeys already being so easy to afford. More important than that, donkeys have a long lifespan, with most living till their 30s, 40s, and even 50s. So, if you’ve made a friend out of your donkey, be assured that the friend is going to be around for a while.
Donkey Milk is Gaining More Popularity
Donkey milk has been in use since ancient times for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. It is said that Hippocrates used it for treating arthritis, coughs, and wounds, while Cleopatra took baths in donkey milk to keep her skin soft. It also has antimicrobial properties from the whey protein donkey milk contains. Donkey milk has the ability to increase your body’s calcium absorption, leaving you with stronger bones. All these benefits make donkey milk a suitable substitute for those allergic to cow’s milk.
The comparatively lesser quantity of milk donkeys produce makes donkey milk a hard find. Hence, finding donkey milk as an ingredient in beverages will be more difficult. However, you could see donkey milk as an ingredient in cosmetic items, thanks to the antioxidants present in it and the anti-aging properties it has.
All these benefits and less availability increase the demand for donkey milk. It has great market value, a bonus for donkey owners. So, if you are interested in owning donkeys, why not look for some opportunities in it?
Donkeys Make Great Companions
As already mentioned above, donkeys are easy to bond with. When it comes to the bond between the owner and the donkey, they mostly rely on trust and they will do anything to make their owner happy. This characteristic also makes them fun to play with, making them great with children. Donkeys can also replace horses and ponies and take the kids for rides on their backs. Their bonds with other animals too are impressive and are especially good with other donkeys.
Donkeys Are Smart and Intelligent
Donkeys are known for their intelligence and long memory. These features help the owners to train them efficiently. Their long memory is a boon as well as a curse, as when they trust someone, the bond created is everlasting, and if someone angers the donkey, they will remember it for a lifetime.
Above that, donkeys have the ability to assess situations and act accordingly, especially in the face of danger. Compared to horses who will most probably flee the scenario, donkeys do the assessment in a solid way and even convey to the herd the deduction they have made. All these lead to the confirmation that donkeys indeed are smart and intelligent.
Donkeys Are Loyal and Have Great Temperament
The loyalty of donkeys is something that you don’t have to worry about or be concerned about. Once they find you eligible for their trust, the rest is assured. The same applies to their temperament also. They are usually calm creatures by nature and very sweet to the core. The cuteness factor adds depth to the already calm and poised nature they adorn.
Also, you might also be surprised at how skillful donkeys are at taking treats from your hands without even touching your fingers. They know their way through things without giving you a hard time. You might also be surprised to see how peace-loving donkeys are.
They will deal with the ones fussing for no reason to reinstall the peace. Experienced people in the field also say that donkeys are of great help to horses who are nervous. It is said that donkeys have a calming effect on them. To conclude, we could say that donkeys are truly the whole package. These are a few of the many reasons why you should get a donkey. Let’s now move on to the cons of owning a donkey.
Cons of Owning a Donkey
Even though donkeys have all these amazing characteristics that make people love them, there are some cons to donkeys that might slightly dim the aura of perfection around them. For instance, donkeys’ natural hostility towards the canine family makes them act aggressively towards dogs, making it difficult for you to have them both at the same time. Let’s see some of the commonly discussed cons of owning donkeys.
Donkeys Tend to Overeat
It is the highly functional digestive system that helps donkeys to survive even in extreme climates and conditions. Their digestive system is capable of extracting nutrients from the driest vegetation they consume, letting them thrive even in food scarcity. This boon is also a curse as donkeys tend to eat a lot when provided for, resulting in being overweight and other health problems. Hence, extra care has to be taken to ensure that your donkey has enough to eat, but feed it to them in small portions.
Donkeys Always Need Company
The characteristic feature of donkeys getting socialized and bonded quickly puts them in a difficult situation at times. They are very social and hence crave company. And the lack of company could even make them feel lonely and depressed. It could also lead to severe health problems. So, it is important to provide your donkey with a companion, and the best option will be another donkey. And this could affect the total cost of raising a donkey.
Donkeys Are Stubborn and Hard to Convince
Donkeys have strong minds and are very opinionated animals. This makes it hard to make them obey you in the first place. The same goes when they have created an opinion of things and people around them. Donkey owners should never show anger and frustration to their donkeys as it could end up in them remembering the instance forever. But if vice versa, the donkey creates a good bond and trust with you, it’s a win-win situation.
Their brain functions differently than horses and ponies, even though they look similar. The aggressive and stubborn nature of donkeys might arise from their extreme mood swings, making them unpredictable. Thus, it takes time to tame your donkey.
Donkeys Can Be Aggressive
Though rare, you may find your donkey getting aggressive. Such a situation occurs when donkeys are scared or get weary of people. Getting aggressive over food is also a common reason for them to get involved in physical fights, kicking, and biting. The unpredictable nature of donkeys is the main reason behind such behavior. Still, these can be remedied by castrating the aggressive male donkeys, keeping the females separate while they go through ‘heat’, or even feeding them separately from other animals.
Donkeys Can Be Hostile Towards Dogs
There is no doubt that donkeys are great as guard animals, protecting the farm and keeping the animals safe from predators. But you must know that while they get along with most animals, donkeys can be seen as particularly aggressive towards dogs and the canine family. And this can come as a possible challenge for donkey owners. The big size difference between the two can put dogs in a dangerous situation, as one kick from the donkey is enough to kill the dog. So, if you have a dog and are planning to get a donkey, keep in mind that it will be hard to make them get along.
Donkeys Are Sometimes Too Smart
Being smart is good to the extent that it harms you in turn. Such is the case happening with donkeys. Donkeys grasp things quickly, especially the art of escape, by opening the gates and doors. When doing this, they put other livestock in danger as they may wander around and disappear soon after. Donkeys could also get to the places where food is stored and could even find their way to more pastures and be on their way to getting overweight. One thing you must keep in mind is not to underestimate how capable your donkey is.
Donkeys Can be Loud
You could get into trouble with your neighbors for the loud noises the donkey might make in its excitement. Even when a new donkey owner won’t like the braying much in the beginning, with time they will begin to love it. But remember that not everyone will love it as much as you do.
Some Tips to Note Before Buying a Donkey
Buying a donkey and becoming a donkey owner is indeed a big deal. There are many things to watch out for, starting from the ad which is going to tempt you into getting a donkey for yourself. If you see an ad and think of buying a donkey, remember not to blindly trust those. Their prime motive is to sell stuff and make the maximum out of it.
The same applies to when you find a donkey for free. The particular owner might just be trying to get rid of the donkey, and the reasons may not always be reasonable to you. Try to be skeptical in the face of such tempting offers.
And once you’ve crossed all the barriers and finally got your donkey, make sure you get it to a vet as soon as possible and run a complete check-up. Before introducing it to other animals, you need to quarantine the donkey for at least a week or two. And the introduction to other animals should be gradual and slow, not all of a sudden. The donkey owner should also take enough care to get to know the donkey properly and its habit to ensure a smooth transition. Above all, ensure that the donkey is comfortable and safe in the shelter you’ve provided.
Now that you have learned about the pros and cons of owning a donkey, arriving at the right decision won’t be hard. Nothing in this world comes without its positives and negatives, yet, people don’t refrain from doing the things they want to do. So, if you are interested in raising a cute donkey, we’d say go for it. Not every day is going to be bright and sunny, but things will work out with time. The best you can do is to be prepared to handle situations and have enough knowledge in the matters concerning your donkey.