English / Irish Donkey

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Scientific name: Equus asinus

Other common names: Irish Donkey

The basics:
The English / Irish Donkey is a small, thick-coated donkey which is a descendant of the Sicilian Miniature Donkey which was brought to Britain by the invading Romans in around 400 BCE. The English / Irish Donkey adapted to the colder, damper conditions in the British Isles by growing a thick, long coat, which sheds in the warmer months. According to the Donkey All Breeds Society of Australia, "The English and Irish Donkey is compact and small, but strong and sturdy, with an excellent temperament. It is a very active and willing Donkey."

Please see the separate page for the Miniature Donkey.

Appearance / health:
The English / Irish Donkey has a thick, long coat, which sheds in the warmer months. The English / Irish Donkey ranges from 36 inches to 44 inches at the shoulder (slightly larger than the 36 inch tall Sicilian Miniature Donkey. They vary in body coloration, from black to gray, brown, white, or spotted, but have a dense, thick coat. Like most donkeys, English / Irish Donkeys have a dark dorsal stripe and a shoulder cross. The ears are large and long. The back is straight. The mane is course and stiff.
A donkey’s health is dependent on its habitat and nutrition. They are typically hardy and resilient but can suffer from health problems if overfed. Vaccinations, de-worming medications, and hoof care are essential in keeping the donkey clean and healthy. The care and monitoring of a veterinarian is recommended.

Behavior / temperament:
Donkeys have become popular as pets and companion animals, even as guard animals because of their high intelligence. They became notorious for being stubborn, although this stubbornness is said to be the result of their strong sense of self-preservation –- no one can force them to do something they perceive as a threat to their survival, especially going into water.

Sicilian Miniatures are known for their sweet, calm, and affectionate disposition. They are good-natured but will kick and bite when threatened. They emit a loud and persistent call referred to as a bray.

Housing / diet:
Donkeys are grazing animals and require pasture for food and fresh air. The recommended pasture area is an acre per donkey per month. Mammoth Jacks require slightly larger areas. A barn or similar enclosure must be available to shelter them from harsh climates.

Donkeys do best with vegetation that is low in protein and high in fiber such as Timothy Hay or Bermuda Hay. A salt block should always be available for mineral supplements. Clean fresh water should also be available at all times. Treats like bite-size carrots can be offered sparingly. Donkeys enjoy eating and if allowed to self-feed will become obese and susceptible to various health risks.

English / Irish Donkey Health Tip

English / Irish Donkey

From Brian Reynolds Oct 16 2014 5:39AM


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