A female miniature donkey in the UK is called a jenny, a young female may sometimes be called a filly. (A female miniature donkey in the USA and Canada is called a jennet.) A male adult miniature donkey is called a jack or stallion, a young male may be called a colt. A castrated male miniature donkey is called a gelding.
The breed standard for Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys is a maximum height of 36" (at the age of 3 years) but most are under this height, at between 30" and 34".
The Miniature Mediterranean Donkey Association require all miniature donkeys recorded in the Stud Book to be fit for breeding and satisfy the height requirement of the MMDA. The measurement, at maturity, is made from the highest point of the withers to the ground. For Stud Book entry only, a minimum height restriction also applies being 29" for jacks and 30" for Jennys.
Most Miniature Mediterranean Donkey breeders have waiting lists for their foals and you are advised to contact several breeders and arrange a visit to their stud farms. Look at the breeding stock and talk to breeders. Ask to go on their waiting list and they will contact you when their next foals are born. This does not commit you to purchasing but will ensure you know when foals are available.
Join the association to obtain a list of breeders. You will also receive newsletters with advice on all aspects of caring for your donkeys, welfare, activities and forum with other members. You will also receive a care book from the association.
A miniature donkey is any donkey under 36" but not necessarily of any particular breed. A Miniature Mediterranean is a specific and unique breed. The only way to guarantee you are buying a genuine example of the breed is to ensure it is registered with the Miniature Mediterranean Donkey Association.
To gain registry it must satisfy very stringent guidelines. Its ancestry has been checked to eliminate large donkey genes. It will not have been produced by any in-breeding and it will conform to the strict "type" standard of this breed of donkey.
The Miniature Mediterranean Registry and Stud Book is an integral part of the MMDA which is the only association specifically for this breed and we have "mother stud book" status within the E.U. Every registered Miniature Mediterranean donkey is issued with it's own registration certificate which includes it's pedigree chart.
Miniature donkeys have very long life spans and with proper care and feeding will live 35-40 years, may be even 50 years. As they have not been in the UK for 40 years we are not completely sure. However as standard donkeys can live into their fifties it seems reasonable to believe miniature donkeys will also.
An acre of land would probably be a minimum amount of land for grazing a pair of Miniature Mediterranean donkeys. Much will depend on type or grade of land you have. If the land is poor/sandy etc then more pasture will be needed so that you will be able to rest part of the field giving the grass time to recover. If you have rather wet pasture, you should ensure you have somewhere dry for the donkeys to live during wet periods. If the grass is very good quality you will need to restrict the amount of time spent grazing during the springtime when grass is very rich. An electric fence is very useful and enables you to move your donkeys around the pasture and control how much they eat.
Yes you should have a stable to put your miniature donkeys away at night. Donkeys do not have a waterproof coat and heavy rain will soak a miniature. If the weather is cold as well, you could end up with a seriously ill donkey. This especially applies to foals. You should also supply a simple three sided field shelter in the paddock to protect from both rain and sun during the day. A stable at night will also provide a degree of security.
You should always be very careful when introducing a dog to a miniature donkey. Miniature donkeys do not naturally like canines and will attack them. Dogs do make friends sometimes with their owners donkeys but they take time to get to know and trust each other and some donkeys will never accept any dogs. Miniature donkeys play quite roughly with each other, they enjoy chasing games, tug of war games, neck wrestling and nipping each others legs. For this reason miniature donkeys are not suitable companions for goats.
No, a single miniature donkey would be most unhappy and distressed, they are herd animals and will not thrive well on their own. Miniature donkeys love to play and pair up for life. A single miniature donkey will pine without a companion no matter how much time you spend with it. They can become unmanageable if lonely as they will chase you and try to hold you in the field.
These donkeys are one of the most affectionate and friendly animals of their kind. They are tame, gentle, loyal, playful and affectionate. They are very social animals and like to give and receive a great deal of attention. The more time you spend with them the better. They are easy to train and learn quickly. A miniature donkey is a friend for life and should not be considered a short term pet. Miniature donkeys are not stubborn - they are just careful. In the event of perceived danger a horses instinct is to flee - whereas a donkeys is to look the situation over and determine the best approach. If they trust you they will go anywhere you ask. They love going for walks with their owners, attending shows or a palm Sunday parade.
Donkeys are originally from desert regions of the world and they are able to maintain themselves on far less than a horse or pony. Miniature donkeys require little, if any feeding during the summer months (*see exception) as grazing will fulfil their nutritional needs at this time. They should have plenty of barley straw at night in their stables to provide roughage and a mineral lick should be available to them at all times, together with fresh clean water. Donkeys will not drink old dirty water and can become de-hydrated. It is important to restrict the amount of rich spring grass they are able to eat during grazing. This can be achieved with an electric fence tape, plastic poles and a battery, moving the fence a few inches every day.
* The exception to this would be for pregnant females, lactating females, working stallions and foals. A working stallion or pregnant/lactating jenny will require a handful of chaff and a handful of non heating pasture mix. Foals should be encouraged to eat a small quantity of the same mix from approximately 4 weeks old.
During the winter months, assuming reasonable grazing, each donkey should be given a small amount of chaff and non heating pasture mix once a day together with approximately one pound of hay and plenty of barley straw. Hay should be at least six months old and free from all dust, mould or dried ragwort. A mineral block should be available at all times and fresh water in clean water troughs.
Bread, biscuits, cakes, sweets, mince pies and all animal protein should NEVER be given to donkeys. A carrot or apple as treat chopped up is very acceptable but always remember that too many will also make your donkey fat.
NEVER give your donkey grass clippings, they can kill a donkey within three hours and it is a terrible death. Ensure your neighbours also know that they must not toss grass clippings over the fence.
Miniature donkeys are usually quite hardy and healthy animals but of course do need routine maintenance:
Your miniature will require worming every 6 - 8 weeks. This is an important aspect of your donkeys health care. There are several different types of worming paste and each one will deal with a different type of parasite and should be administered at specific times of the year. Consult your veterinarian about planning your worming regime for the year and stick to it. If internal parasites are not removed by regular deworming, your donkeys may suffer internal tissue damage, shortening their lives. In addition they can pass on their worms to other equids.
Miniature donkeys need their hooves trimmed and rasped about every 8 - 10 weeks depending on the weather and time of the year. Donkey hooves are very elastic and do not wear down like those of other equines and if left to grow they will become very long and this can lead to permanent damage to the hoof. Try to find a farrier who is familiar with trimming donkeys hooves and understands the correct shape.
Miniature donkeys will require vaccinations against tetanus. If you purchase a foal, the breeder will supply you with the dates of the initial tetanus vaccinations and you should keep in mind when the next tetanus booster is due. You may wish to add a vaccination for equine influenza. Consult your veterinarian.
Grooming your miniature donkey is an equally important part of health care. His/Her coat should be brushed regularly using a stiff brush on the body hair and a soft brush around the face and belly areas. It is essential to brush out the thick winter coat to make room for the new short, shiny summer coat. Grooming will establish trust between you and the donkey, it will provide you with quality time to check for cuts, grazes or stings on the donkeys skin.
Miniature donkeys should have their teeth checked on a regular basis. Local horse/donkey owners will usually be able to recommend an equine dentist.
You need to decide whether you wish to breed or whether you are looking for pets. Visit as many breeding farms as possible and talk to the breeders about their miniature donkeys. Look at as many mini donkeys as you can to learn about conformation. If you are planning to breed, search for the very best quality.
Always ask to see the MMDA registration certificate and look at the pedigree which you will find on the reverse.
Look at the donkey's teeth, holding the head in a natural position, the bottom jaw should meet the top without being either over or undershot. Legs should be straight and sturdy. Look for a foal that is bright and willing to come to you.
A gelding is a castrated male and many breeders in the UK have their male foals gelded at an early age so they do make wonderful pets. Geldings are always kind and pleased to see you, they love to play and are safe with young children. They are social animals and love to go for walks or parades to meet new people and see new places. Under no circumstances should a stallion be purchased or considered as a pet.
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