Horses and donkeys may look quite similar, but there are some key differences between the two. However, despite their differences, the two can make quite good friends.
Horses and donkeys often have quite different personalities, but that can actually work as an advantage. It is not uncommon for the two to live together.
Horses and Donkeys Living Together
Horses, ponies and donkeys make great companions and can live together just. Not only can donkeys and horses live together, but they can also form close bonds with one another. They are both social animals that do best when they have companions.
Racehorses and show horses have been known to befriend miniature donkeys that will live with them in their stalls. When they travel, their donkey companions will come with them to keep them company.
They are often helpful for high energy horses that stress when going to new places, as they help keep their horse partners calm.
In some cases, miniature donkeys and horses will even live together in the same stalls.
In addition to stall mates, donkeys are also great pasture mates for horses. 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.
Are Donkeys Good Companions for Horses?
Donkeys can make great companions for horses. In fact, the two are capable of forming strong bonds with each other.
They are especially great for lonely horses or horses that recently lost a close companion. They are commonly cheaper to buy and maintain than horses, so they can be a great addition as a friend for your horse. Donkeys are typically easy keepers and can be very sweet and loving when they gain your trust.
Both are known to be social animals and often strive when they have companions. However, each individual is unique, so they might not always get along.
However, if you plan to keep your horse with a donkey, you need to understand the differences between the two equines. You can read our guide here on the differences between horses and donkeys in-depth, or carry on reading for an overview.
Caring for Donkeys
Just like how horse’s need regular hoof and dental care, so do donkeys. Both need regular worming and vet care for proper health.
Donkeys, however, are more prone to gaining weight and need to be on a strict diet. They do best in dry environments with limited grass, as they can easily over eat. Since they do not have waterproof coats, they need access to shelter from the rain.
Donkeys usually have a distinct personality from horses. 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.
Due to being social animals, it is best that donkeys do not live alone. They are emotional animals and develop strong bonds with their companions.
Donkeys can have destructive personalities, as they have been known to chew on fences, trees and equipment. They are often curious and playful, so it is a good idea to provide them with toys. Most donkeys can live while into their thirties, or older, so it is important you are able to commit to their care.
Donkeys and Lungworm
For a while, it was considered unsafe for horses and donkeys to live together due to lungworm. Lungworm is capable of spreading from donkeys to horses.
For most donkeys, they are often tolerant of lungworm and rarely show any symptoms of the parasite. They are considered to be the natural host of lungworm. However, for horses lungworm can cause severe coughing and rapid breathing.
Now, thanks to scientific development, the two species can safely co-habit. Lungworm can be tested for by fecal matter and can be prevented by regular deworming. So if you ever purchase a donkey, be sure that it has been tested for lungworm before introducing it to horses.
As long as proper precautions are taken, donkeys and horses can harmoniously live together. It is important to remember they are different species and have different needs.
A Best Friend For Your Horse
If you are considering getting a donkey as a buddy for your horse, be sure to do your research prior. They are different physically, mentally and emotionally and have some different needs than horses.
Adoption can be a great choice if you are looking for a donkey to live with your horse. There are many great rescues and sanctuaries that have donkeys up for adoption. Not only can you get a best friend for your horse, but you can also save a life in the process.
Oftentimes donkeys and horses will live happily together. However, it is important to properly introduce them, as they all have unique personalities. It is vital you take all the proper precautions and provide the right care for your donkey and horse to live safely together.