It’s hard to overstate the importance of the donkey to humans. They had a tremendous impact on everyday life and survival when people domesticated them about 6,000 years ago. The animal we know as the donkey or burro is a descendant of the African Wild Ass (Equus africanus). An estimated 50 million donkeys exist around the world, although only 23 to 200 wild animals still exist.

The donkey began domesticated life as a pack animal, capable of carrying large loads. It undoubtedly served other purposes when you consider that archaeologists have discovered skeletal remains in the tombs of Ancient Egyptian dynasties.


The 7 Common Jobs Donkeys Are Very Good For

1. Landscape Helper

donkey carrying dry peat
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A donkey is a great helper in the garden. It can replace your wheelbarrow and the hard work that using one entails. Your equine friend can haul mulch or yard waste for you, saving you a lot of time and effort. It’s well-suited to this type of work. And if you take good care of it, your donkey can live up to 47 years old in captivity.

2. Draft Animal for Plowing

Donkeys also excel at plowing, not unlike horses or oxen. Your burro can get the job done in a jiffy if you have a larger garden.

You’ll be planting your fruits and vegetables in no time. Your donkey can plow through thick clumps of clay with a well-sharpened blade on the plow. It also offers an opportunity to teach your children responsibility and the value of hard work.

3. Child Playmate

a little girl petting a donkey
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Unlike popular misconceptions, donkeys are not mean or cantankerous. Nor are they stubborn. They’re gentle animals that are playful and friendly. All these traits make these animals excellent choices for a child’s playmate, particularly with small breeds, like the miniature donkey.

4. Transportation

You can use your donkey as a form of transportation by either getting a cart or a saddle of a suitable size for your animal. You’ll have to measure it since they can vary widely in size, from the relatively petite miniature donkey at 36 inches high to the seemingly massive Mammoth Jack Stock at 56 inches tall. We suggest working with an experienced handler to help your burro segue into this role.

5. Camping Buddy

a burro donkey in the desert
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Domesticated donkeys descended from animals used to traversing rugged and mountainous terrain. If you’re going backpacking in a place with similar topography, you may find your burro indispensable for hauling your gear. These animals have performed similar jobs throughout history, whether on the farm, in the vineyard, or in coal mines.

6. Guard Donkey

Many people think donkeys are ideal guardians for livestock. It’s true that they will stand up to threats. Remember that they lived in places where it was more challenging to run off from a predator. However, it’s not instinctive unless it bonds with others in the pasture.

It’s worth noting that donkeys usually exist in small groups of animals. We suggest researching the matter before you get a burro for this purpose.

7. All-Around Helper

donkey standing in the field
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It is safe to say that donkeys are excellent helpers for many household tasks. They are versatile and gentle animals. Standard donkeys are best if you want a potential guardian. It’ll also get the job done for any work suitable for a pack animal. We recommend checking with your city hall about any permits you may need to own a burro.


Tips for Raising a Donkey

It’s essential to have enough space for your pet. Your donkey will happily feed on grass and forbs in your yard. However, they can be destructive to vegetation. We recommend getting some first-hand experience with a burro before committing to inviting one into your life. Owning any animal is a responsibility, particularly with long-lived ones like donkeys.

We also suggest scouting your area for a vet who treats them. Your donkey will require care similar to a horse. That means vaccinations, deworming, and regular hoof maintenance.

Burros are prone to obesity if overfed. Therefore, we recommend monitoring its diet and body condition regularly.


Final Thoughts

Donkeys have come a long way from the pack animals they were and are in their native Africa. Many animals still serve these vital functions and also provide a source of milk and food to people.

If you have the space, a burro is an excellent way to teach your children the responsibility of caring for an animal. It will also provide a welcome helping hand for any heavy lifting.

Featured Image Credit: Tracy Kerestesh, Shutterstock