Now that I’m back at work, my capybara is getting lonely. Since my husband works from home, this loneliness impacts him more than it does me. He suggested we get a small dog to keep Caplin company. While I like dogs, I’ve never wanted one. They are loud, demanding and they scare off the wildlife.
My daughter Coral suggested a miniature horse. Caplin’s breeders had a pair of miniature horses. They looked like horses that had been mashed down forcibly, oddly deformed and rather hideous. I know not all miniature horses are like that but I think the ones that aren’t are expensive. Maybe I’ll look into that some time in the future. In the meantime, what about a miniature donkey?
All of the mini-donkeys I’ve seen have looked just like big donkeys, only cuter. Ponies, such as Shetlands, and mini-donkeys were bred to their current size over hundreds of years to fit into places where their bigger cousins could not, but they did the same work. Shetlands worked in the mines. Miniature donkeys were beasts of burden mainly in
Searching the web, I discovered that miniature donkeys make very good pets. According to Robert Green, who imported some of the first miniature donkeys to the US, “Miniature donkeys possess the affectionate nature of a Newfoundland, the resignation of a cow, the durability of a mule, the courage of a tiger, and the intellectual capability only slightly inferior to man's." That sounded good so we headed off to a local donkey breeder to see some of these little wonders.
Coral, her boyfriend Carl and I headed out to Small Pleasures Farm (www.smallpleasuresfarm.com) in
Susan and John Baker met us at their gate. They were instantly taken with Caplin but warned us the donkeys might be aggressive toward him. Three adults came to the fence to check Caplin out. They seemed friendly enough. However when we went into a pasture with jennets and foals, the mother donkeys seemed bent on attacking Caplin. The Bakers said donkeys view small animals like Caplin as predators. That certainly fit their attitude.
The donkeys were incredibly cute though and they were affectionate to their owners. We decided to try to introduce Caplin to two youngsters, a jack and a gelding, each about 7 months old. These two were very curious about the capybara. Caplin however appeared just as afraid of these guys as he was of the older donkeys.
Adult miniature donkeys are almost as small as Caplin will be as an adult. Adult capybaras stand about 24 inches as the shoulder and weigh around 130 pounds. The miniature donkeys we were looking at would probably mature at under 36 inches and around 250 pounds. That might work. Right now though Caplin only weighs around twenty pounds though and even these young donkeys must weigh at least 100 lbs. That’s a five fold difference. We decided it makes sense to wait for things to even out a bit more before mixing him with a donkey.
It was hard to pass on those cute little donkeys. That must be what the Bakers thought in 2000 when they bought their first mini-donkey. Looking around their manicured property, diced up into small pens and paddocks with mini-donkeys scattered throughout, I was amazed to learn they’d gone from two donkeys to fifty in just seven years. That’s good reason not to get the first one. My husband isn’t happy that I have four horses.
For more information:
The National Miniature Donkey Association:
The American Donkey and Mule Society