1. Donkeys are funny. Their oversized ears, their comical bray, and their crazy antics around the barnyard will bring a smile to your face. And who doesn't need a little humor in their life?
2. They are downright adorable. Ever seen a donkey baby, with the fuzzy forehead that they keep for the first two years of their life? Trust me, there is nothing cuter.
3. They are calm. Donkeys don't let very much upset them, which makes them an ideal companion for horses. While your horse might go winging around the paddock in an all out flight response, the donkey will be walking behind slowly, as if saying "hey, buddy, what's the problem here?" For this reason, they are wonderful to turn in with young or highstrung horses, or any horse that doesn't like to be left by itself. They are great partners for a horse that is low on the totem pole and not getting enough to eat, because almost any horse will lord it over a donkey, and become top dog again. And with time, after the initial newness wears off, they can even become best buddies.
4. Donkeys are easy to keep. They seem to have more of an innate sense of self-preservation than horses do, and rarely hurt themselves. They get the same shots, the same hoof trimming, and they do best on plain grass hay without anything rich in their diet.
5. Donkeys are smart. (And I dare say smarter than horses, if you all won't hate me for it.) If you show them something once, they generally learn it. And they won't forget it, unlike a horse which normally needs constant repetition to learn. They are a bit different in their learning process (which is a whole nother blog post) and require lots of love and patience, but what human doesn't need to become more kind and patient? At any rate, having a donkey around causes no guilt, because (unlike a horse) you don't feel like you need to constantly ride it and train it.
So there you have five reasons for keeping a donkey around the barnyard. They do really fit in quite well with horses, and if you ever own one, you'll quite possibly be hooked for life.
Have you owned a donkey? Ever kept one as a companion to horses? What was your experience?