what are donkeys used for

I get asked all the time, what are donkeys used for? Or why do you have donkeys?

Personally, I have them for several reasons! I’ve already talked about using them as livestock guardians in this post Using a Guardian Donkey A job they are really good at if you get the right donkey(s) and set it up for success. I also touched a bit on what else you could do with a donkey but I’ll be getting more into that on this post.

When it comes to donkeys,  I think they are a much-underutilized animal on the small American farm. They can fill important roles better than many more common animals in some cases.

There’s a lot a donkey can add to the right farm. So if you’ve been on the fence about getting a donkey as a guard for your horses or as a pet read on! Let me tell you about all these lovable long ears are good for.

what are donkeys used for

So, What Are Donkeys Good For?

    1. Livestock Guardian: As talked about before but I’m listing it here because it’s possibly the most popular reason people get a donkey in my area. 
    2. Pasture Management: They are good eaters of weeds and brambles horses and even goats will not eat . Providing the valuable job of keeping the pastures from being taken over by noxious weeds. They are very good browsers. They keep our wild blackberries perfectly trimmed! 
    3. Driving: If you’ve been on my blog, IG, facebook or youtube channel you know I’m into driving donkeys. A donkey that drives is expensive but you can train them yourself which is what I do. And it’s not hard. I trained my donkey Jeb to drive in only 8 training sessions. Many take longer but a desensitized donkey that already trusts you and has been trained in the basics will learn faster than a donkey you don’t have a relationship built with built on trust. Here is a link to Jebs training and video How to Train a Driving Donkey {With Videos}
    4. Farm Work: Once you have a donkey take can drive he can help do farm chores. A donkey is much stronger than a horse of the same size. Donkeys are great for chain harrowing, pulling wagons of compost or leaf mulch to the garden. The larger the donkey the more they can pull of course.
    5. Saddle Donkey: Yes, riding donkeys is a thing (one of my favorite things!) Believe it or not many people prefer riding a donkey to a horse. I admit I had a saddle donkey years ago but he didn’t work out. Of course, I realize now it was me, not him. I was to ‘green’ of a rider when I bought him and I had no trainer to really help me understand a saddle donkey. Read this article if it’s something that may interest you. The Saddle Donkey Phase and look at this video!  Training a Saddle Donkey  I do have saddle donkeys currently and they are wonderful. I will likely never ride a horse again. The donkey is a safer, saner choice for a riding mount in my opinion. Very therapeutic to ride.
    6. Compost maker: Donkeys are super-efficient at breaking down and processing their food. So their manure isn’t very nutrient-dense but it’s perfect for light feeders like some of my herb gardens. Compost that is to rich can actually have negative effects on my herbs. It can make an awesome component of organic matter for richer compost. Breaks down super fast. I can add it to raised beds and soil mixes at 3 weeks. Donkey compost is the best thing for herb gardens I’ve ever found. 
    7. Milk: For what some people believe is the healthiest milk available for human consumption. I know that sounds crazy! But, In my personal experiences trying to heal gut issues, I have to agree. Donkey Milk improved my digestive problems quickly and without side effects of modern medicines. Donkey milk has also provided nice side income to help support my donkeys when made into soap and lotions. If you live in an area where you can sell drinking milk, donkey milk sells for over $20 a pint. To try my donkey milk soap and lotion check out my etsy shop here Donkey Milk Skin Care
    8. Hiking/Trekking: I’ve hiked with dogs and horses but nothing is more calming than hiking with a donkey. Some of mine also like to jog. They help keep my fitness level up and it’s good for them too. I wrote an article here about Hiking with Donkeys

Donkeys

Are Long Ears For You? Just bring home a donkey?

I do have a book on Donkey care basics that is available on Amazon and it’s free to read with kindle unlimited! If you are thinking about adding long ears to your life or you are a new donkey owner you may find my book helpful. It’s no fluff and to the point based on my personal experience of keeping donkeys since 2011. I’ve read every donkey book currently available on Amazon and dozens of OOP books. I’ve searched out online and used bookstores. Some are more technical than I needed, some weren’t the right information I needed to get started. I wrote this book with the absolute beginner in mind. Exactly the guide I wish I could have had when I began my journey with long ears. Donkey Care Primer Ebook

Donkey care book

Donkeys obviously have a special place in my heart because they provide my horses with protection and gave me back a good part of my health! Its all about what works for you and your farm though.

Looking for more information?

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Online Donkey Training

For more in-depth training information check out my Donkey Training Membership group on Patreon Online Donkey Training Group