Caring for your donkey

Owning or caring for a donkey is most rewarding, but you must realise just how much time, effort and expense is required.

We have given an overview here of the basics but would recommend that you visit the excellent selection of articles available to download free at the bottom of this page on the Sidmouth Donkey Sanctuary's website which give extensive help on all areas of donkey care from feeding and handling to housing and welfare.

Owning a donkey is a long-term commitment. Although the average age for donkeys in the UK is 27, they can live to over 40 years old, and will form bonds with you as strong as they do with other donkeys.

A donkey on its own will be a very lonely donkey as they are, essentially, herd animals. They can be good companions for horses, ponies and goats, but are generally happier with another donkey.

Minimum requirements for a donkey

  • A safe, well fenced or hedged enclosure
  • Access to a shelter at all times
  • A constant supply of clean, fresh water
  • Sufficient good quality food and a salt block
  • Regular inspection and care of teeth
  • Regular treatment of parasites
  • Regular care and trimming of hoofs
  • A vaccination programme arranged through your vet
  • Mental and physical activity
  • Companionship
  • Basic owner training so that they can be handled confidently and safely and looked after well

Here are a couple of pictures of Denis, the farrier, on one of his regular visits to check and trim our donkeys' hooves.
Always choose a farrier who has experience with donkeys - their hooves are different to horses!