Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys

 David and Gwen Lawson
380 Master's Court
 Hustonville, KY 40437
(606) 346-2955

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There are many reasons for purchasing miniature donkeys.  For many of us our first mini is just a pet.  What I have found as a mini owner is that once you have one you tend to want more.  Our pets then become our breeding stock.  Before you purchase a donkey or begin breeding donkeys it is important to know how to identify quality animals from those that should remain strictly pets.  If you are interested in breeding or showing then this information may be of some help.  By attending our annual conference you will receive hands on experience in selecting donkeys and being able to preview all  suggested materials, websites etc. 

All donkeys are different as to how long they carry their foal and what signs to look for.  There are many steps that you can take, however, to ensure that your donkey has a healthy pregnancy and delivery.  If you live in areas where fescue is prominent then there are precautions you will want to take.  Also, the weight and conformation of your donkey is important if you want to get them bred.  If you are breeding your own then their are steps you must take to ensure your animals will be registered in a timely manor.  Should you have your breeding stock genetically tested?  Why should I microchip?  What if one of my donkeys does not have a pedigree can the foal be registered? Now that the foal is here what should I do?  These are some of the questions that will be answered during this session.  

Donkeys are not horses and react differently.  Positive reinforcement is the key.  Know that there are adverse effects when using force to get what you want.  They do not move from pressure as easily as a horse and can actually lock up if pressured too much.  The more positive attention they have the easier they will train.  Contrary to what you may think you can not over imprint a donkey foal.  To many the donkey is just a pet, but for their safety they need to know how to walk, trot, and back at your command.  If you are interested in showing the minimum your donkey will be asked  to do is walk, trot, show his/her teeth, and stand patiently.  This is expected for all halter classes.  Judges for performance classes look for a great deal more which mean additional training hours for you and your donkey.  From experience it is well worth the time.  These animals will absolutely amaze you with what they know and are able to do.  You will learn how to prepare your donkey to perform in the most common NMDA classes and become familiar with some of the classes offered.   

There is much to consider as you prepare to show your animals.  Some things can not be done at the last minute.  You will need to plan ahead and make sure that your paper work for your donkeys is current and that you have their pedigrees in hand.  Also, you will need to make sure that you have a current coggins, and health papers for traveling (intrastate or interstate depending on the location).  You will need to know the rules for NMDA classes and have the proper attire for both you and your animal.  There are items that you will need to take along with you that will make the experience go more smoothly for both you and your animal.  You will learn the secrets to all of this and more. 

This can be the most frustrating part of preparing your donkey to show.  Many choose not to show because of this.  The answer to successfully grooming your donkey for the show is in the equipment that you use.  No matter what, be prepared to learn what it means to be patient.  You will learn lots of tricks to making your donkey look and feel the best.  The workshop will provide hands on training in this as well as a live demonstration.  Whether you attend the training or not just remember one thing.  If you make this a pleasant experience for your donkey they will return the favor the next time they need their hair clipped. 

Whether you show or not it is important to help your donkey maintain a healthy life.  To do this you must take care of their hooves, teeth, and diet.  Some donkeys struggle to keep weight on while some owners fight to keep the weight off of them.  Proper diet and a few tricks can help put your mind to ease in controlling weight.  Hooves should be done regularly, but remember that they need to be trimmed differently.  Finally a healthy digestive systems depends on their teeth and the ability to grind their food properly.  Find out what you can do to ensure that their teeth are in the best shape possible and signs that something may be wrong.