Careful planning and preparations are necessary before bringing home a new animal. First, and foremost, serious thought has to occur before action is taken. Far too often, people get excited over an idea, then when reality and responsibilities hit, they abandon the new addition for the next thrill. The Sassy Ass has several horses due to these scenarios. With donkeys, on the other hand, the regular growth spurts are due to the shortening consideration window. When there is one, why not add two more?
There are many other factors to consider as well when deciding what would make the best fit. Females tend to have high levels of attitude. Males are calmer and easy going. This is not scientific by any means, nor will it pertain to every situation, but is based on personal experience. Also, while adopting an older animal is a noble aspiration, not everyone has the skills to deal with situations that may arise. A donkey may seem sweet at the auction, but once brought home to an army of rambunctious children, a different personality may rare it’s ugly head. Full histories are hard to get in many cases, and it would be heartbreaking to the animal to be given up once again.
Next, for one to bring home a donkey, one has to have proper accommodations. This may seem a given, but the amount of times people don’t fully think through a scenario is quite shocking. Donkeys thrive when they are given ample room to graze and play. Depending on location, different indoor living conditions are required. For colder weather, it is advised that an enclosed structure, with proper ventilation, be provided. In warmer climates, a three sided building may suffice. Straw flooring is ideal for either scenario. For more in-depth information, check out the link below. (1)
After mulling the decision over for a time, and no holes deflate the proverbial bubble, the fun can begin. Shopping for halters and lead ropes, preferably in an array of neon colors, can be surprisingly exhilarating. Then there is the confusing array of grooming supplies: curry combs, dandy brushes, face brushes, finishing brushes, rub rags, the list seems to go on forever. Feeding buckets of varying shapes and sizes call out from the racks. Silly donkey rugs, scratch pads, and other enrichment toys demand hours to look through. The delight of the veritable smorgasbord is endless, and serious self-control must be applied. It is quite easy to fall headlong off the deep end. No one wants to have to join the ranks of shopaholics anonymous. Yes, it is a real thing, though not quite in the same way as AA.
In all seriousness though, tempting as it may be to buy all these goodies in one trip, try to rein in some of the unbridled enthusiasm. At least wait until the precious bundle has arrived to pick out the majority of the items that are too lovely to pass up on. A bright yellow blanket would look fantastic on a black jack, but would be rather unimpressive on a light gray gelding. Make a list of articles that will be needed immediately, and stick to it. Be prepared for any medical issues that may arise as well. It is prudent to have basic first aid supplies, such as betadine and a thermometer, on hand.
Once a starter kit is completed, move on to the business side of the priority list. It’s highly recommended to arrange a quarantine area in the instance of livestock. Two weeks is an ideal time for separation, unless a vet waves the requirement after the initial exam. Make sure when separating new arrivals, that there is no chance of nose to nose contact. According to Anna O’Brien, DVM,
“Common diseases like viral and bacterial respiratory disease are at the top of the list of diseases that are easily spread by new animals introduced into a herd. Really, any disease that is passed by direct contact or aerosol is a concern. Additionally, a new introduction can bring intestinal parasites to the farm, with resistant parasites being the primary concern.” (2)
There have been those who have skipped this step, believing it to be inane, and paid the cost. Always consider what would be in the animal’s best interest, and avoid the path of least resistance. In this case it could be detrimental.