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! 

With 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. Besides being the most loyal, loving companion you’ll ever have they have many uses. 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: This is a controversial subject. I’m listing it here because it’s possibly the most popular reason people get a donkey in my area. IF the donkey is cared for properly, proper size, right temperament and set up for success, they can make good guardians. That’s a lot of if’s. Read this before you get a guard donkey: Using a Guardian Donkey
    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 and the honeysuckles from taking over.
    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, it just takes time! I trained my donkey Jeb to drive in only 8 training sessions (results not typical!) Many take much 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 when it comes to pulling. 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. Look at this video: Training a Saddle Donkey  I will probably never ride a horse again. The donkey is a safer, saner choice for a riding mount in my opinion. Very therapeutic to ride. Please know, it does take a long time to get a saddle donkey trained as well as the one in the video example! Here is my own article on the Pros and Cons of Saddle Donkeys
    6. Compost maker: Donkeys are super-efficient at breaking down and processing their food. So their manure isn’t super nutrient-dense, but it’s perfect for light to medium feeding veggies and herb gardens. Compost that is to rich can actually have negative effects on my herbs. Breaks down super fast. I can add it to raised beds and soil mixes at 3 weeks. 
    7. Milk: For what some people believe is the healthiest milk available for human consumption. I know that sounds crazy! It is used to suppress and heal autoimmune symptoms, too. Just PLEASE if you plan to breed, invest in good breeders and maybe look into helping save a rare breed that’s in demand and needs more numbers. Like the Poitou or Registered Jackstock. 
    8. Hiking/Trekking: I’ve hiked with dogs and horses, but nothing is more calming than hiking with a donkey. We take them camping too! 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


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

I do have a book on Donkey care basics. 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. It is all about what works for you and your farm though. Donkeys are not for everyone. You need to be willing to invest in learning about their health and training needs.

Looking for more information?

Along with all the articles here and the videos on my Donkey Listener youtube channel I also invite you to Sign up for my Donkey Lovers List. I give free donkey training tips, natural donkey care information, inspiration, and everything about donkeys.

Online Donkey Training

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

What are donkeys used for