A huge misconception about donkeys is they don’t need any training. Donkeys do need training and equipment most other homestead animals do not need. If you have horses, donkey training and equipment will make more sense to you. Though donkeys are different! So you may need to read up on some donkey training information if you are a horse person.
If you’re new to donkeys you need to understand that just throwing them out into the pasture not knowing the basics will not benefit you or the donkey. It could keep your donkey from getting the care it needs because no farrier or vet likes to fight with a donkey! They are strong and can be dangerous.
I’ve had donkeys for a while now. As usual with anything, I throw myself right in, all or nothing. From a lone guardian donkey (which is never a good idea to have a lone donkey) I had NO knowledge of donkeys when I bought my first one home in 2011. So I know how it feels. I was in love but completely lost.
What not to do
I’ve taken on a few I probably shouldn’t have in the beginning years. It’s important to know your limitations! Bringing home an intact, mishandled Jack and an easily spooked large jennet was not the best thing to do as a beginner. In fact, it was pretty dangerous and I’m lucky I didn’t get hurt.
I survived and learned from it but I sure don’t recommend anyone that’s new to donkeys try it.
Once you’ve had a well-trained donkey. It’s a pain to have one that is not trained. They need to be basic trained for their sake and yours.
This is one of the things about owning donkeys people usually don’t consider. Yes, they are low maintenance for feed and many other things. The standard and mini donkeys often don’t need fancy grains, alfalfa hay and they don’t need rich pasture.
But they DO need to know basic manners!
Why Donkeys need Training
Donkeys need training if you want a well-behaved donkey for the farrier or if you need to load it for the vet Or halter and lead it anywhere! Especially if you plan to milk donkeys, the jennet needs training!
*Equally important is not every farrier understands how to approach and handle a donkey, so they do more damage than good the next time they need hoof work. Donkeys are smart and remember when they’ve been mishandled! I’ve got 2 Jennys that have obviously been very mishandled. It’s sad and it’s a lot of work to earn their trust.
Below here is Rani’s first foal born here. I started halter training him at 2 weeks old! He lets me pick his feet up, he leads. Working on loading soon after!
Whoever buys this guy will have a wonderful well-trained gelding that’s been raised around poultry and sheep. I want to help ensure the foals born on my farm get good homes. Sending them out well trained is a good way to do this. He will be worth more to the buyer because of his training and bring more money for my farm when he goes up for sale. That will help pay for hay for the winter. Very important to a farmer that has to be on a budget! What’s more important is he has the skills to survive in our human world.
*This little guy has had a wonderful home now for over 3 years. His owners love him and he is a cherished pet. He may have been more expensive than others on the market at the time but he was the best trained!
You do get what you pay for…
A $100 standard donkey not trained or $250 for a halter or a $600 or $800 standard donkey perfectly trained. You can expect $1000 or more for donkey trained for riding or driving. I mean really riding, not just someone sitting on its back and being lead around. That’s not riding that’s more like packing a human!
Many times as with most things, It’s a case of you get what you pay for!
Unfortunately, many of us don’t have the choice of just buying already trained donkeys. So we must learn to train donkeys.
Online Donkey Training Videos and Case Studies
I have started an online donkey training membership group through patreon! For less than a cup of coffee, you can get full-length training videos, training plans and more. I add videos every 2 weeks. You can see many case studies of different donkeys being trained this way. For me, case studies were the best way to learn about how to train donkeys. Often a single course only shows one donkey but all donkeys have different personalities and can create individual problems to overcome.
Click the picture to check out my Membership Donkey Training Group!
Other Donkey Training Resources
It’s hard to find resources for training donkeys that make sense. I had to seek outside the box in many cases for things I wanted to train and come up with my own training plans. But here are a few more resources to help on your journey.
- My own Donkey Lovers List! I email out training tips, natural donkey care information, encouragement and more! It’s absolutely FREE so please sign up.
- Another creation of mine I just started in hopes of helping people with their donkeys. The Natural Donkey Care and Training Facebook group. Ask questions, get encouragement and inspiration! Natural Donkey Care and Training Group
- My Youtube Channel has free donkey training videos. Donkey Listener Youtube
- For riding donkey training I really did like the DVD’s from Mule ranch training.
- For taming a wild donkey this DVD helped me a lot begin to understand how a donkey thinks and how they think differently than a horse Matching Wits with a Donkey
Youtube has several inspirational and training donkey videos like this one. Driving is absolutely one of my favorite activities!
And donkeys can even do tricks! I love teaching tricks to donkeys. Its excellent bonding time!
Donkey Tack and Training Equipment
Donkey training equipment need not be expensive. Most of my donkey tack and equipment came from craigslist and auctions! It’s only recently I started really investing in a few new things. It’s totally not necessary though.
Below is the round pen for training and 3 of my donkeys standing tied. None of these donkeys were trained for anything when I bought them. The black jack on the left has been the easiest to train. He halters, is leaning well, let’s me pick up his feet, stands tied patiently and he now loads! He did nothing when I first brought him home.
I’ve only had him 2 months! He’s very young and so is the jennet in the middle. She has also taken to training well.
The Jennet on the right is much older and has been long neglected. She is harder to train and very reactive for a donkey. But she is leading very well, standing and actually starting to load some! She’s a challenge though because she does not trust easy!
In order to train, the donkey must first trust you.
I don’t even have any fancy stuff here. Just basics. Halters, leads, brushes, and other grooming stuff, some farrier tools (not really good ones but I’ll be buying better ones soon because these aren’t strong enough to trim the big girl’s hooves and too big for my hands)
I bought a lot of this used and saved a lot of money. All this tack and equipment hasn’t cost as much as my goat and sheep equipment. Nowhere near it actually!
The unforeseen cost that goes with any animal can add up. I love bargain hunting though. Despite some of there extra needs I still consider donkeys low maintenance.
A particular large expense is a livestock trailer. I can’t easily put donkeys in the back of the van like I can a sheep so we had to invest in a livestock trailer or rent one.
Since donkeys are here to stay we bought a used one and it’s made life so much easier for any animal we’ve had to transport!
Don’t have a Donkey? Or Just Purchased a Donkey?
I hope my ebook helps people looking to get into donkeys. Too many times people underestimate the needs of these (and other) animals. It’s better to be prepared than to get a big 500 pound or more donkey home that you realize you’re not up to dealing with.
If you need help with deciding or you just got a donkey please do take a look into my ebooklet, Donkey Care Primer, and you are welcome to email me with questions. It’s FREE if you have kindle unlimited.
I’ve helped many many people be successful with their donkeys.
Happy people = happy donkeys with good homes! That is really important to me!