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Miniature Donkeys

Equus asinus


Description

Miniature Donkeys are small equines, which are predominantly grey in color with a darker colored “cross” across the back. Other coat colors such as brown, black, white, or spotted, are less common.

Size

Miniature donkeys weigh an average of 250-300 pounds (113-136 kg) at maturity and measure an average of 32-34 inches (81-86 cm) high at the withers (shoulders).

Adaptations

Donkeys originated in Africa, and have many adaptations that help them to survive in a harsh climate:

Diet

The donkeys’ diet at Cosley Zoo consists of hay and a commercial horse feed.

Reproduction

Donkeys have a 12-month gestation period, which is slightly longer than that of a horse. Usually, a female donkey gives birth to one foal at a time. Twins are rare and undesirable due to their weakness and smaller size.

Shelter and Space Needs

Although they can tolerate cold weather fairly well, donkeys do need shelter from the wind and rain. During the day, the donkeys get fresh air and exercise in their outdoor yard. Each evening they are led into their stall inside the barn where they spend the night. The donkeys are only brought indoors during the day in the case of extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain or lightning.

Life Expectancy

Donkeys can live to be 25 to 35 years old.

Relationship with Man

Although they have a reputation for being stubborn, donkeys are intelligent animals that calm down and domesticate easily. They are excellent pack animals because they are extremely hardy, sure-footed, and less subject to injuries than horses. Donkeys can also be used as guard animals for protecting livestock such as sheep and goats from predators. In addition, they can be ridden and raised for show.

Fun Facts