Are Donkeys Good Companions For Horses

David Lawrence
• Tuesday, 17 November, 2020
• 22 min read

They make great companions for horses and are wonderful creatures for humans to spend time with. The more you understand about their specific health requirements and general nature, the better home you can provide for one if you decide this is an appropriate choice for your situation.

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(Source: practicalhorsemanmag.com)


Instead of running away from predators, they instinctively tend to stand their ground and try to protect themselves by striking out with their front feet. Because they perceive dogs as predators, they chase them out of their pastures and try to stomp them with their front feet.

For this reason, it’s essential to avoid feeding donkeys grain, to limit their access to lush grass and to feed them only high-fiber roughage, such as late-cut grass hay and edible straws, like barley or wheat. This is a life-threatening disease that occurs when donkeys mobilize body fat during times of decreased feed intake, leading to lipid deposition in the liver and kidneys and organ failure.

Instead, ask your veterinarian to teach you how to monitor his body condition score carefully to prevent hyperlipidemia and other metabolic problems. Like horses, donkeys require routine hoof trimming and dental care.

Finally, be aware that donkeys in developed countries like the U.S. can live for 30 to 50 years. As an undergrad at Cornell University, Dr. Erin Goodrich rode on the equestrian team and grew to love donkeys while doing a work-study job at a research barn.

Horses and donkeys often have quite different personalities, but that can actually work as an advantage. Horses, ponies and donkeys make great companions and can live together just.

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Not only can donkeys and horses live together, but they can also form close bonds with one another. Racehorses and show horses have been known to befriend miniature donkeys that will live with them in their stalls.

In some cases, miniature donkeys and horses will even live together in the same stalls. In some cases, donkeys can help as protection for a herd of horses.

Due to their nature to stand their ground when threatened, they have been known to fight off predators to protect their herd. Donkeys are typically easy keepers and can be very sweet and loving when they gain your trust.

However, if you plan to keep your horse with a donkey, you need to understand the differences between the two equines. Unlike horses that flee when they sense danger, donkeys often stand their ground and protect themselves.

They often need time to think things over when approached with a new task and are generally cautious, which is often mistaken for stubbornness. Donkeys can have destructive personalities, as they have been known to chew on fences, trees and equipment.

companion donkey horse
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Most donkeys can live while into their thirties, or older, so it is important you are able to commit to their care. For most donkeys, they are often tolerant of lung worm and rarely show any symptoms of the parasite.

Lung worm can be tested for by fecal matter and can be prevented by regular deforming. As long as proper precautions are taken, donkeys and horses can harmoniously live together.

It is vital you take all the proper precautions and provide the right care for your donkey and horse to live safely together. Horses have an innate ability to get along with a variety of other livestock and farm animals.

Donkeys can even share a place in the barn or cozy up in a smaller stall adjacent to your horses. Donkeys, in general, are lower maintenance to keep than horses, often surviving off solely or mostly grass when pastures are lush.

As an added and unexpected bonus, though, some donkeys can serve as “guard animals” for a farm. Though both require the same veterinary appointments and shots, as well as farrier work like a regular horse, ponies and minis eat far less and therefore need much less hay and grain.

donkeys companions lovley wigan donkey pets4homes horses ago
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For those shy larger horses, not only will they have the benefit of a friendship, but they’ll also have the security and comfort of having a strong yet not threatening leader. They can even be a little too clever for their own good, so be prepared for the occasional escape artist or argumentative equine.

Also, just because you are used to horses doesn’t mean you are automatically equipped to raise goats. Llamas make excellent companions for pasture-kept horses, mostly due to their larger size.

One llama is ideal, two is fine, but three or more should be avoided if the goal is companionship for a horse. The main difference with llamas is that you just can’t walk up to them in a pasture and halter them, but you need to establish a trusting and trained relationship first.

In fact, most llamas subsist almost totally on grass in the summer and hay in the winter, with smaller quantities of grain or supplements added in. Llamas are also easier to keep in terms of time, as they don’t require the same amount of grooming effort as horses.

They easily share a pasture, meaning they can graze in peace and companionship. But, the good news is, horse feeds are generally safe for cattle.

donkey thoroughbred companion dazzled buddy fergie barn boon gaining status celebrity cant kyforward coady nkytribune dazzle
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Not only will they be an entertaining friend for your horse, but they are also great pest reducers, as they munch up annoying bugs. Geese are similar to donkeys in temperament, in that they are territorial and will alert you and deter intruders and unwanted animals.

They’ll also be a little more work, in the sense that they don’t share many living habits in common with horses. You’ll need special feed and a separate stall or living area for your geese.

While they do provide companionship, a goose is less likely to form a special bond with a horse. Their relationship will be more “on the surface” and casually entertaining than true deep friends.

In a perfect world your horse would have a lifelong group of equine buddies and never have to be by himself. Since horses are herd animals, most of them thrive better with a buddy that helps keep them socially engaged in activities throughout their day when you are not with them.

Some horses handle that solitary life and travel just fine while others pine away or develop stable vices. Golden retrievers and other friendly, well-behaved dogs make excellent companions for some horses.

companion donkey horses animals well need work mule
(Source: horseracingsense.com)

Many horses develop close bonds with the barn mascot dogs. On cold nights you might find your barn cat curled up next to your horse in the straw.

There are numerous adorable photos of a cat rubbing up to a horse while balancing on a fence post or winding between the legs of a steady horse while on the cross ties. Small ruminants, with goats leading the list, are next in popularity as horse pals.

You don't have to buy a lot of separate food or even arrange for a different veterinarian in many cases. As fellow herbivores, they share some same behavioral characteristics with horses and also want a “herd”.

Goats lead the list as small ruminant pals wince they share some same behavioral characteristics with horses and enjoy being part of a herd. Adding a Pygmy goat seems like an easy solution until you have to deal with the caprine tendency to be escape artists.

Poultry can also be multipurpose horse companions. Guinea fowl are also big tick eaters and can serve as sentry/alarm animals as well.

together horses donkeys donkey living mcbey farm
(Source: horseyhooves.com)

Geese are known for their bug eating, but they are also the poultry equivalent of a Rottweiler when it comes to watch dog tendencies. Drawbacks to poultry include their dander, which causes allergic reactions in some horses.

Still, many horses simply enjoy watching chickens, ducks and geese and like having them around. A normal size donkey may help to keep stray dogs and wild canines off your property.

Goats can travel with you and may be content to stay in the stall or the trailer while your horse participates in shows. You might get additional benefits such as fresh eggs or added security but you need to consider this an expense for your horse's mental well-being.

Their adorable big ears and quirky personalities are enough of a reason to buy one. If you need a little more convincing, check out these five reasons barn owners choose to add donkeys to their farms.

A donkey is a treasured farm member for sheep and goat breeders. Donkeys are wonderful companions for rowdy youngsters or those that can’t be with the rest of the horse herd.

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(Source: practicalhorsemanmag.com)

If you’re limited on space, get a donkey as a friend, and they’ll cost you a lot less than another full-sized horse. Hard Workers: You can even train your donkey to pull a cart or till a small garden.

Tagged: barn, big ears, bray, companion, donkey, farm, horses, personality, pet, protector, reasons, silly, therapy, top Disclaimer: horses are social animals and thrive with companionship.

Pigs also have the palate of a dumpster and are the ultimate living/breathing garbage disposal. Most horses fall into two categories when it comes to dealing with pigs: they either are petrified of them OR they want to kill them.

If there is a slim chance your horse and pig DO get along, you’ll never want to eat bacon again, and that would be a crying shame. Goats are also destructive little a-holes that will eat you out of house and home… literally.

They actually like the taste of drywall and rusty nails. Not only are they like owning a wrecking ball with hooves and horns, they also like to headbutt anything that gets in their space, and they poop like a Pen dispenser.

mini companion horse donkey pasture 2b
(Source: www.chronofhorse.com)

Unfortunately, these things founder faster than you can say “Friday,” so excess treats are out of the question. They’re also loud, pushy, and blow up on anything more than straight grass hay.

So now you’ll have to make a separate stall for your donkey for feeding time and if you’re even one minute late for their breakfast, everyone will know within the closest three counties. You probably see all these cute videos on Facebook of donkeys being super loving to humans, but in reality, you’ll end up with a human-hating, horse-obsessed donkey that will drive you completely bonkers.

Besides, no one even knows how to care for one of these animals besides Dr. Pol or people from Peru, and both of those are hard to get hold of in the middle of the night when they get sick. TL;DR: save yourself the money and headache and just buy another horse.

At least you’ll be able to ride it, as it eats its way through your wallet and heart. A visitor to the Vaughan’s Berry Farm in Caribou, Maine, feeds Wilbur the donkey on Thursday.

| Anthony Brioche small-scale livestock farmer Rose Rap first got donkeys seven years ago, she hoped that they would guard her flock of sheep from predators. What she didn’t expect was that she would quickly start to love them for who they were, not just for what they could do for the farm.

animals horses horse donkey funny mini its donkeys farm mother believe smile these even animali proud pretty meet animales curious
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“I always enjoyed horses, but at the same time, I always found them to be incredibly high maintenance and flighty,” the Morrill, Maine, woman said recently. They have long been used as pack animals and for draft work in agriculture and more, but these days, some folks are deciding that the donkey’s intelligence and attentiveness are making them suitable as pasture pets, as a guardian for livestock and sometimes as a companion for horses.

Donkeys may have a reputation for being obstinate and noisy, but that is far from the whole story, their fans assert. Rose Rap with her pet donkeys at Marietta Farm in Maine.

She and her husband Was Super decided to close down the farm because of challenges in the business and their personal lives. An intact male donkey, called a jack, is not the right choice for a pet, they said.

Jacks can be too rough on livestock and have been known to kill the animals they are meant to protect. “Get a jennet or gelding, and if you do not really have a lot of prior horse/ equine experience, you probably want to start with an older animal, before you go through the joys of learning about donkeys and babies at the same time!” the society wrote on its website.

The group also urged people interested in donkeys as livestock guardians to get a mature animal that is at least three years old, as younger ones are still growing in both mind and body. Heather Archer of Peter, Maine, said that she became interested in donkeys several years ago somewhat by chance, when she learned that many donkeys needed to be rescued from a Texas feedlot.

donkey sightless managing donkeys senior lucky companion blind sighted acts seeing teddy eye his
(Source: thehorse.com)

A donkey wonders a large open pasture at Peace Ridge in Brooks, Maine. | Ashley L. Continued as horses do, donkeys need room to roam around and access to a secure shelter where they can get out of the wind, rain and snow.

Posted 9 years ago Dogs, chickens goats and cats have all been relatively famous horse companions. She lasted about a week as she had horns and as far as I could see was deliberately trying to blind the horse and came very close a couple of times to hitting the horse in the eye with her horns.

I have had horses comfortably coexist with chickens, geese, sheep, pigs, mule, cats and dogs. Any time there are two or more horses there will be an adjustment period to decide who is king of the mountain.

Posted 9 years given a choice I suspect the horse would prefer the donkey as they are sort of first cousins. Still, if each finds the other the only game in town for companionship they will likely make do with each other.

She is careful of the chickens, but you just can't have much of a conversation with those little bird brains. Posted 9 years Agathe one thing that I would not put with horses is bees.

donkey horse horses donkeys differences similarities geograph file
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Our current horses don't object to the sheep or goats (though we did have a couple of Commons fillies that would try to kill them) and pretty much ignore anything smaller. The advantage of a sheep or goat in with horses is that the intestinal parasites are different so with mixed grazing you can reduce the worm burden.

Posted 4 years agave wanted a horse my whole life. Posted 3 years ago Leila Blair wrote: Have wanted a horse my whole life.

Many will offer beginning riding lessons which is a good place to start. You can often lease a horse for limited or unlimited riding while the owner is busy, or away at college, or just needs someone to help cover expenses.

It is a good idea to make sure the horse is sound and healthy. An experienced horse person will catch most obvious things.

Get a bill of sale and read it before you sign it to make sure you know what you're agreeing to and if the horse is sold as registered, they should transfer it when you pay. Make sure either a transfer document from the registrar or a signature on the papers indicates that you own it.

donkey breeds donkeys american horse north different imported
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Gail Gardner grownup Small Business Marketing Strategist, lived on an organic farm in SE Oklahoma, but moved where I can plant more trees. Posted 3 years ago was raised on a horse farm, and the thing to check out when choosing a companion animal is whether they carry parasites that will infect the horse.

Cows and horses go good together, and actually reduce the mutual parasite load, though I can't remember why. A horse with a companion can be very resistant about going to work and leaving his friend behind.

Well here in France mushrooms carrots potatoes and red wine but more seriously I would recommend a donkey. All herd animals can coexist with each other up to a point, but they will always speak different languages and even together still be alone.

Donkey and horse are problem, they play very differently and that can easily result in fighting/injury. For pasture management and natural control of intestinal parasites, horse-sheep/goat combo is a good one.

Unofficial Companion Guide to the Rocket Oven DVD I have a very social horse whom I have thought about getting her a companion pet. Some of my concerns would be; 1.

helpfulhorsehints breed sudan donkey animals breeds goat come where
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I was leaning towards a goat and doing some reasearch, but they are hard to keep in and need tighter fencing and can climb. I was also thinking they get eaten up by prey animals but maybe not where I live.

I do hear coyotes screaming in the timber behind my property when they have killed something. I had found a stray baby pig but the fencing was an issue with that also.

A donkey makes a wonderful companion animal. They are also very protective and will generally fight off a predator that enters their paddock.

Plus, it wouldn't hurt them to be left alone for a few days at a time during show season. The only reason I mention it is you don't have to get a big animal as a companion, just one that will hang around with your horse is fine.

The only reason I mention it is you don't have to get a big animal as a companion, just one that will hang around with your horse is fine. I am on an acreage on the edge of town so not like in the country.

donkeys horses happy mules ideally ponies companions should keep them help
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A donkey makes a wonderful companion animal. They are also very protective and will generally fight off a predator that enters their paddock.

Plus, it wouldn't hurt them to be left alone for a few days at a time during show season. One thing I worry about that NY filly is dominant so don't know if she would be gentle with a donkey.

If you wanted to upset a horse and prevent him from having a good night you would steal his goat causing him to fuss and not sleep and thus not run well the next day. The problem is goats eat tails. We had 2 companion goats but the horses lost all their tails right up to the bone.

My car had hoofed prints dented into it, and they chewed everything in sight. Was hard to keep them contained. We had a client who insisted on bringing her horse's pasture buddy goat in when he was here for 6 weeks recovery from surgery.

We had a couple of mini mule foals come thorough the hospital. We had a couple of mini mule foals come thorough the hospital.

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I just spoke to a mini donkey rescue, and they suggest 2 because they get so attached. Then the would do the nuzzle thing and the cat would go back to sleep in the hay while the horse munched.

That is a good thought but some horses don't deal well with being left alone, even for a couple of hours unless they are at work. Some horses get bored very easy and if they don't have a buddy to keep them company in the middle of the night, they start doing things to entertain themselves; cribbing, wood chewing, pawing, pacing the fence, etc.

We once had a dairy cow that kept the horse company that got left behind when we went trail riding. I would suggest a heifer, or young bull that you intend to castrate.

^^ That's a good idea, dairies around here sell their bottle bulls for about 50 to 60 dollars a head. Then when it got big enough, you could have it butchered and have beef for a year then get another baby.

^^ That's a good idea, dairies around here sell their bottle bulls for about 50 to 60 dollars a head. Then when it got big enough, you could have it butchered and have beef for a year then get another baby.

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(Source: www.worldanimalfoundation.org)

The donkey must have been hungry because he ate the hair off of the horses tail. My sister has a Miniature Donkey who lives in the same paddock as a giant, 16.2 hands gelding.

The funniest thing was that at first the horse was scared of the little donkey, but it only took a short time for them to become inseparable. The one drawback, and it could be pretty significant, is that when the horse is taken out on a ride, the Mini Donkey becomes quite vocal.

Get a baby one so when he grows it will be used to the horse. I cant stress enough this is the perfect companion! And i really don't think the people who said a rabbit or dog should be answering in the horse section.

Donkeys are also great babysitters for horses who are herd sour and need to be separated. Goats are hardy and aren't too likely to be injured by a romping horse.

At my barn; our donkey, rightly named Done, is about 35+ years old and still keeps the young ones in line. His companion is a naughty little Nubian wether, and they are two peas in a pod.

donkeys unique donkey horse horses nutritional needs well prone diet metabolic regions laminitis forage adapted arid especially means availability limited
(Source: thehorse.com)

I used to hate getting the horse from his stall because the dang goat would always escape too!! Even my horse hating mare loves her little herd of pygmy goats.

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