Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why I Want a Donkey

Yeah, yeah...laugh now!

Seriously, I really do want a donkey. To me, they are one of the homesteader's dream animals along with goats and chickens. When many people think of alternate ways of doing things, whether because they are convinced the country's infrastructure is going to fall, leaving them in the dark ages, or because they truly want to get back to the land, they think of horses. I think of donkeys and mules.

If you've ever seen me standing next to a typical donkey, you might laugh again.

Yes, my legs are far longer than many donkeys'. In fact, my arms are often longer than a donkey's legs and that is humorous. Picturing me riding a donkey could bring you to giggles, I'm sure. BUT, donkeys are an amazing animal, riding them left to the side for now.

A donkey is a very hardy creature. Far more hardy than any horse I've met, including the northern ponies. They are comfy in almost any climate, bed down wherever they can, eat willingly and with little pickiness and are often smart to the point of wiliness. Many of the truly scary ills that even the most cared for horse gets I've never heard of in a donkey, such as a lethal case of gas (colic).

They live for a very long time and their care is super easy. They also can carry
burdens far and away greater than you think and it doesn't even bother them enough to stop them trotting off for something tasty to nibble. They can pull carts and wagons and odd shaped conveyances with ease. And, they'll carry people, albeit comically.

Personally, I like riding a donkey. I do it to the side like I've seen often in South America but I don't really see the need to do it save to keep them used to it on any regular basis. Where their true value to me is in their ability to haul and carry. Odd shaped loads of firewood, big bundles of assorted stuff, produce baskets and even a cart filled to the brim with dirt are all viable options. And because they are small, they can get closer to the garden, woodpile or on a smaller trail in the woods. They don't squish up the ground as bad either.

So what about their stubbornness? Oh yes, they do have that, but like any animal, that is far more often the fault of the human than the animal and I personally, haven't yet met one that didn't do what was wanted when handled properly. They have personality and spunk. It needs to get to know you and you need to get to know it. Most of the time, you'll probably wind up really digging each other.


Melinda said...

Awesome. I've never ridden a donkey, but I can say I agree that they have personality and spunk! Ok, now I want a donkey. Guess I'll have to wait until I'm no longer living in an apartment, though... Donkey, ducks, chickens, goat... they would all get along well together I think! : )

Aimee said...

I've often thought of getting a donkey, and if I hadn't run across a shetland pony in need of help first, I probably would have.

Kristina said...

Chickens? Yes. Goats? Yes. Donkey? Well, now that you mention it... maybe I need to fit a donkey into my future farmstead fantasies. :)

fullfreezer said...

I'm still working on my husband for chickens so I don't foresee a donkey in my future but that sounds so great!

Christy said...

I've been considering getting a donkey as a guard animal. I'm not sure. I've heard about them being rough with sheep and since I'm getting sheep I'm not sure I want to risk it. If I could find one that had been around sheep already.

ATW said...

Christy this may sound bad, But I everytime I look at donkeys I just laugh. They look so funny. when I was a young punk living in Pa I would drive past this farm and yell jackass out the window to this one donkey. Becuase he had the buck teeth and silly looking face. But i think its cool getting a donkey, my boss had a yak or ox one of them. She had it in her pasture it was huge. And i heard that lamas protect sheep. Im not sure about how true that is.

Jennifer said...

I love donkeys too! Of course my reason is mostly that I just think they are so cute and I bet they would be fun to have on the farm.

hickchick said...

Horses ARE high maintenance. Perhaps this is why historicaly they have been the property of royalty. The peasants were the donkey owners. I think we have been behaving like royalty and are about to be knocked back to peasant status, it might be a good time to become re-aquainted with donkeys! Kris

ChristyACB said...

Melinda - Riding a donkey is an experience. They tend to be a bit more bumpy to ride for many.

Aimee - Awww...I love shetland ponies!

Kristina - Ah yes, the future farm fantasy. Don't we all have those?

Judy - Oh, I hear you. I'm still trying to get Norfolk to allow me a few chickens. Can you imagine going to the city and adding a donkey to my list? LOL.

Christy - I've actually seen it both ways. Some I've seen very protective of herds against predators and some I've seen just run away and leave the herds to fend for themselves. What I'm told is that it depends on how their raised and that getting a youngster donkey means you can really train them to be how you like with animals. I do think some breeds have more problems with some animals than others.

ATW - I laugh too. Part of the reason I like them so. Who can resist something that can curl it's like more than Billy Idol?

Jennifer - Good enough reason!

Hickchick - I totally agree with you! I didn't go there in my post but I'm so glad someone else understands that inherent truth also!

Kory said...

I don't have the space for a donkey, but I can see the usefulness.

Robbyn said...

I'm with you as far as a donkey being on our wish list (well, two, so they have company :)) I'd like to have them trained to carry things and pull a small cart...and get a whole lot of total spoiling :)