Branded as the beast of burden, the donkey is the most under appreciated and misunderstood domestic animal. Personally I love donkeys, I come from the part of Kenya where donkeys travel kilometers carrying four yellow jerrycans on its back, and to show my appreciation for this animal I would like to emphasize on the good attributes of the donkey.
Did you know that donkeys are very social animals? That noise they make (a donkey brays) is a form of communication. When they are hungry or thirsty, they will bray, when a visitor comes into your compound they will bray, when you forget your donkey in the scorching sun it will bray to let you know that it wants to get in the shed. Donkeys are good draught animals. They also make good pets (I wonder when this trend will catch on).
How much weight can a donkey carry? Adult donkeys can carry upto 50kgs on its back and twice its body weight if its a cart. I wonder why some people would subject these wonderful creatures to such torture of carrying more than 500kgs. It’s just as preposterous as it is illegal!
A donkey whose welfare is taken care of will generally exhibit a friendly behavior towards its owner. The body condition of the donkey can also tell alot about its welfare. Emaciated donkeys are often not fed well. Lameness and skin conditions are also indicators of donkey welfare.
Hoof problems in the donkey are common and should always be addressed. Hoof trimming and cleaning should be done at least every 2 months failure to which lameness may set in. Deworming is also an important aspect of donkey welfare. Finally, just like horses, donkeys do get colic. A veterinarian should always be called for examination and treatment.
Mistreated and neglected donkeys have a sanctuary known as the donkey sanctuary. The sanctuary rescues such donkeys and nurses them back to health. Jacks (male donkey) are castrated under general anesthesia to control breeding. The donkey sanctuary also performs awareness campaigns to communities about donkey welfare issues. They also teach donkey owners proper and efficient ways of harnessing to avoid injuring the donkey.
With all that in mind, why would anyone not love donkeys?