The Domestic Donkey

The Domestic Donkey - 2
  • Life expectancy: Between 15 and 30 years
  • Where it lives (living environment): Arid forests and desserts
  • Diet: Erbivor
  • Class: Mammals
  • What to eat (main food): Grass, weeds, vegetables
  • Predators (those who hunt / eat this animal): Wolves, lions


Today’s donkey is the wild donkey in Africa, with three known subspecies: Atlantic, Nubian and Somali. Domestication occurred about 4-6 thousand years ago. During the domestication, the donkey did not play a significant role in history, as happened with other species of domestic animals of great stature, such as the horse.

Its existence was decisive in the development of human civilization, while the donkey had neither the speed nor the power to help him compete with the majestic stallion. As a result, the donkey was very popular in less developed, poorer areas and major commercial routes, and was very helpful in chartering baggage.

Today’s Carpathian donkey have lived there for centuries, but no one has ever been concerned about their growth.

At the beginning of the twentieth century there were some initiatives to create cultures within the noble fields, but until now they have completely disappeared. On the territory of Hungary, in 2003 the Hungarian Society of Magnifiers of the Donkey was founded, which aims to record the 4-5 thousand existing animals and try to grow the breed called Donkey from lowland.

The goal of their growth would be the formation of a well-proportioned, trustworthy, gentle, good-behavior-prone donkey. It will have to have the optimal characteristics of the species such as: resistance to environmental factors (weather, nutrition, illness), be unpretentious, have high power and work capacity compared to the stature, but also have a long active period in the workplace (20-25 years).

Donkey’s Food

The donkey is modest. On the way of growth, the donkey is modest, it also feeds on inferior quality plants, herbs and weeds that the horses do not consume. He has no claim to shelter, he accepts a more humble edifice. However, it hardly tolerates cold, wind and moisture, cools more easily than the horses with which it is sheltering.

Peanuts like a lot of food from various herbs, from a mixture of fodder plants. Often, they also graze the stinging plants to which the horse quits. This does not mean he is pleased with any kind of weed. Moldy food is as damaging as any other animal. In the menu or alfalfa is considered a dessert, but a piece of corn can make it happy.

He does not eat carrots, but he loves dry bread! For feeding are optimal cereals of any kind, but you should also keep in mind the quality of pasture feed. You must continually monitor his health, over- or malnutrition is not desirable.

So it is enough if you can offer them various foods. To complete the menu, add salt blocks and, if necessary, feed limestone. With regard to water, it has the same needs as any other domestic animal.

Donkey’s Aspect

The bones of large individuals are more robust, sometimes spongy, the skin is thick, the head large, often like a ram, with large ears and less mobile. The structure of the body is uncoordinated, often with a disproportionate body, and the neck muscles are weak.

The hoof is often made of bad quality corneal material. Large donkeys have a phlegmatic temperament, they are demanding and get to eat harder than the smaller stature relatives. In summer, in high heat, wounds often appear on the skin, sometimes eczema. Donkeys that are too large, with a gross constitution and phlegmatic temperament are generally not popular.

Donkey’s Features

The advantageous features of the donkey are: bright, expressive eyes, straight ears worn on a dry head, well-suited neck, long and straight back, tapering crooked, slightly inclined and short crotch, muscular back, strong and robust legs, with bulky hips, hard hooves. The ratio between certain parts of the body confirms the harmonious appearance of the donkey.

The most common colors are the different shades of the pale, such as brown, dark brown and black, but also variants with white waves can be found. The cross on the back is characteristic of the species, and its color always has a lighter shade. There is often a luminous ring around eyes, around the mouth, the nose and stomach. Those who have open-brimmed hair also have the same feet, and in frequent cases we find the black color in the lower part of the legs

Stretch marks (zebroids) occur frequently in the limbs. As a spontaneous mutation, Isabella (white) is the most common type of bruise. They are generally more demanding than environmental factors, for example, they are more sensitive to sunlight than those with pigmented backgrounds. However, for hobbies, the white donkey may be preferable in some cases and it is a shame to be neglected just because of the unusual color.

Compared to the “shoe” of the horse, the hooves of the donkey are steeper, with higher corn cobs, prone to narrowing. In the absence of regular healing of hooves, they become more easily steep, dry, narrow, which greatly affects the usefulness of the animal. This is why it gets tired faster, both in front of the cart and in other situations.

The donkey is not stubborn!

The donkey integrates easily in the household, can easily be associated with other animal species: horses, goats, sheep, etc. If you have many species together, stables or stalls must be spacious enough. It grows relatively slowly, full development is at the age of 5-6 years, but with a good growth, already at the age of 2-2,5 years it can easily bend, can catch in front of carts or even multiply. In training, it is advisable not to use hard gestures and not to expect immediate success. If you take care of the above, the donkey will work well. It does not need beating, despite popular recommendations.

Donkey’s Reproduction

The gestation period of the donkey is 12 months, so mating must be timed in such a way that the days of breeding take place in April-June, because the need for heat is higher and it can also be offered a more vitamin diet.

The donkey is born very well, and the next day is already running. His legs and ears seem a bit strange, but he is very cute and rewards the attention and the love he gives. The stubbornness that characterizes the donkey in proverbs generally does not correspond to reality, because by teasing young animals and people’s abuse towards them, they lose confidence.

In order to maintain their confidence, you must regularly take care of donkeys, to know your voice, at least weekly to brush their fur and clean their hooves.

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