Fast facts about… Miniature Mediterranean donkeys
Miniature Mediterranean donkeys are a separate breed of donkey originating from the islands of Sardinia and Sicily.
Now almost extinct in their native land, these diminutive creatures are a popular pet in the USA, especially in the southern states.
Approximately 700 have been imported into the UK from North America and they have been increasing rapidly in popularity.
The most common colour is grey dun with chocolate highlights. Other colours include brown, black, slate grey, sorrel, spotted, piebald, skewbald and cream.
An adult will weigh 80- 120kg and height should be no more than 36in/91cm at the withers (the ridge between the shoulder blades; the tallest point of the body).
Originally used to turn grinding stones for grain and carry water from village wells and supplies into the mountains for shepherds, they are now kept as pets.
Donkeys are desert animals and therefore with Britain’s wet, temperate climate and lush pastures they have found themselves in a somewhat alien environment. This single factor determines the basis of their care and, particularly, feeding and how it significantly differs from horses and ponies.
Donkeys are herd animals and should always have at least one companion. Goats, sheep and ponies are not suitable as that furry friend.
Two miniature donkeys require a minimum of one acre of land. Poor quality or wetness may indicate the need for a larger area. This should be subdivided into sections to prevent overgrazing and overeating.
For more information, visit the Miniature Mediterranean Donkey Association website (www.miniature- donkeyassoc.com/), which is run by Chris Hogg. It offers guidance ranging from care and welfare to donkey price tags.