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. 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! In my experience, a donkey that isn’t trained to be handled easily is a donkey that may not have a home for very long.
*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!
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/member of their family. He may have been more expensive than others on the market at the time but he was the best trained. His new owners can handle him easily. He’s not a chore or a problem to them. He’s a joy!
You do get what you pay for…
A $100 standard donkey not trained or $250 for a haltering or a $600 or $800 standard donkey perfectly trained. You can usually 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! *Just because you can sit on a donkeys back does not mean they will take direction from you. A well-trained mammoth riding donkey is usually around $3k and worth every penny!
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.
- 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 and donkey care videos added every week. Make sure to subscribe and don’t miss a thing! Donkey Listener Youtube
- For taming a totally 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 basic handling 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. I will say riding and driving tack is expensive, even when it’s used.
But remember: 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 but we managed to keep on budget for that too. 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?
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. It’s also free for people on my 2nd and 3rd level membership group.
I’ve helped many many people be successful with their donkeys.
Happy people = happy donkeys with good homes! That is really important to me!