Donkeys are very intelligent and learn quickly. Their instinct for self-preservation is much higher than that of the horse. Although donkeys are sometimes characterized as being stubborn, the fact is that they tend to stop and think before acting.
What can donkeys do?
Predator Control for Livestock
Donkeys can protect farm livestock such as sheep, goats, and cattle against canine predators. A jennet or gelding should be selected for this purpose since the jack can be too aggressive with livestock. If a donkey hears a strange sound, it will alert the herd to danger by voicing a warning. The donkey will then chase the predator, and endeavour to trample it.
Riding & Driving for the Disabled
Donkeys make wonderful companions for children and handicapped people. When properly selected and trained, the donkey can be used for driving, riding or as a companion for the physically or mentally challenged. The gentle thoughtful nature and affectionate disposition make then ideal for these purposes. A special, mysterious bond often develops between the donkey an its human friend.
Farm and Recreational Work
The donkey's versatility makes it useful for a variety of jobs, such as recreational riding, driving, and packing as well as around the farm doing basic chores. Donkeys may also be useful for teaching calves or horse foals to lead at halter. The different tasks your donkey can do are limited only by your imagination.
Companionship for Other Animals
It is a well documented fact that donkeys have a calming effect on other livestock when used as a companion. Donkeys are most often used as companions for horses. At weaning time the friendly donkey can help ease the trauma of a foal being separated from its mother. The donkey will have a calming influence on the foal and willingly takes on the responsibility for the foal's well-being. Due to their quiet thoughtful nature, donkeys also make wonderful companions for nervous horses or those that are recovering from surgery or injury.
The donkey naturally loves people large and small. Their patience makes them ideal around children, but all children should be taught basic equine handling to manage the donkey safely. The donkey by nature is very thoughtful and kind. Jennets and geldings make the most suitable companions for children. There is an old saying that "horses look at you, but donkeys see through you, right into your soul."
Parades, Shows, Display
Donkeys are unique equines. They attract unlimited attention at events such as parades, shows and display booths. Many people have as much fun showing off their animals as owning them!
Donkeys play an integral part in mule production. Draft mules are sired by Mammoth jacks, out of draft mares. Saddle mules are produced when Mammoth or Large Standard jacks are bred to saddle-type horse mares. Small Standard and Miniature jacks can sire mules for driving and pets.
JACK - male donkey
JENNET - female donkey
MINIATURE - 36" and under
SMALL STANDARD - over 36" to 48"
over 48" to under 54" (jennets)
over 48" to under 56" (jacks)
54" and over (jennets)
56" and over (jacks)
‘Donkey' is a late 18th-century word and it originally rhymed with monkey.
China has the largest number of donkeys with about 11 million of the world’s 41 million.
The phrase ‘donkey’s years,’ meaning a long time, began as a pun on the length of donkey ears.
The correct terms for a group of donkeys are a drove, herd, or pace of donkeys.