Miniature donkeys are members of the equine family. They are native to the Mediterranean Islands of Sicily and Sardinia, but have been in this country for over 50 years. Today there are only an estimated 6000 miniature donkeys in North America. They can be ridden by small children, trained to drive and pull a cart, and make excellent pets. They are intelligent, affectionate, and extremely gentle. Because of their small size, they need less space, less feed, and are easier to handle than most other types of livestock. Due to these wonderful traits, miniature donkeys have become quite popular and in much demand.
Male donkeys are called jacks, female donkeys are jennets or jennies and baby donkeys are called foals. Miniature donkeys live about 25 to 30 years, weigh 200 to 350 pounds, and average 34" at the withers. Gestation is 11 1/2 to 13 months with a single baby being born that averages 20 to 30 pounds at birth. Foals are up and nursing within 30 minutes and are weaned between 4-6 months old.
Jennets should not be bred until they are physically mature, at approximately 2 1/2 years of age. They have heat cycles every 18 to 21 days throughout most of the year.
Most miniature donkeys are grey dun with the characteristic 'cross.' They also come in darker shades of grey, browns, black, spotted and white.
Miniature donkeys are remarkably hardy and healthy. They do require annual, preventative vaccinations, should be wormed regularly, and have their hooves trimmed every 2-3 months.
Prices vary from breeder to breeder and are based on confirmation, size, color, and personality.