How Much Does a Donkey Cost?

Written by: Staff

Donkeys, also known as burros, are found all throughout the world.  These animals are part of the Equidae family, which also includes horses and zebras.  Looking a lot like their cousins, these donkeys are known for their floppy ears and stockier build.

Donkeys by Tim Green aka atoach, on Flickr
Donkeys” (CC BY 2.0) by  Tim Green aka atoach

How much does a donkey cost?

A donkey’s price will be determined by a number of factors such as breeder of the animal, bloodlines, sex, color, personality, and size.

On average, you can spend as little as $100 for an adopted, mature donkey, to as much as $3,000 for a younger one that is trained and considered a high-quality breed.

Jacks and geldings, around six months old, can cost $300 to $600.  If you want the donkey registered, the registration should be considered an additional cost.

Miniature dwarf donkeys can cost $1,200 to $2,000.

Depending on the breeder, some jacks and geldings can be bought in bundled packages with their mother.  Common packages that include a mother and her young can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000.

Female donkeys around 6 months old can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,900 and 8-month olds can cost $1,500 to $2,000.

Mature open jennies can cost anywhere from $900 to $1,400.

Older ones can be sold for as little as $500.  In fact, retired jennies can be as little as $200.  Keep in mind that these donkeys can only do so much because of their age., at the time of this writing, has a handful of donkeys available for sale, with prices range anywhere from $300 to as much as $2,000.

What is going to be included in the adoption fee?

Depending on the breeder, donkeys are usually sold with health records indicating dates of vaccinations and past deworming schedule.  Some are even microchipped to make identifying them easier in case they become lost.

Many breeders even offer support before and even after the sale for any questions you may have.

What are the extra costs?

If not specified, and you want your donkey to have the documents, you may have to pay for registration, which some breeders may ask for an additional $100 or so.

A donkey may require extensive training if you want to use it for riding purposes and/or to perform specific jobs.  Training costs will depend on what you want to have done and the trainer that you plan on using.

Donkeys are actually pretty low key when it comes to maintenance.  When you factor in shelter, food, medicine, supplements, and water, you should plan on spending $500 to $800 annually., for example, breaks down the monthly/annual costs and says the average donkey should cost $895 per year.  This would include the hay, dewormer paste, vaccinations, mineral supplements, fly spray and carrots.

Donkeys are considered to be great escape artists.  If you do not have a great fencing system in place, you may have to invest into one to prevent the escape of the donkey.

Experts note that donkeys are best in pairs.  If purchasing one for the first time, it is probably best to consider buying two rather than one.

Tips to know:

If you are not knowledgeable with equine training and handling, it is best to get professional help to manage your animal.  If you buy a cheap donkey without training and proper handling, eventually you will still end up paying for the cost of hiring a trainer.

A pair of donkeys usually needs at least an acre to roam around.

Because donkey’s feet are porous, it is important they can get off the grass when it is wet.

A burro and donkey are pretty much the same thing.  Burro, which means “donkey” in Spanish, and all donkeys belong to the same species.

How can I save money?

Breeders usually offer discounts if more than one donkey is purchased.

If you plan to get a donkey just to have a pet, older jacks with no papers are the most affordable.

Like any other animal, most breeders will have classified ads online.  Be sure to browse a handful to get a good idea of what most people are charging in your area.

If you don’t mind an older donkey, see if your area has a special rescue group or adoption center.  Oftentimes, if you’re able to find one, you may be able to adopt one for as little as a few hundred dollars.

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