Last Updated on June 27, 2022
Although we’re all familiar with the facts of a horse lifespan, have you ever wondered just how long does a donkey live for? Are they the same as horses, or do they live for longer? Let’s find out everything you need to know about how long does a donkey live for!
How Long Does A Donkey Live?
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer here! The question of how long does a donkey live depends on many factors, so the lifespan of a donkey is very variable.
Firstly, it depends on what the donkey is used for. In the developed world donkeys are mostly kept as pets, whereas in poorer countries around the world donkeys are still used for a variety of working tasks. They are used to pull or carry heavy loads and are considered to be essential to the livelihood of many families. Unfortunately, this is not always beneficial for the donkey.
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Factors To Consider
A working donkey in an undeveloped country will have a shorter life expectancy than a pet donkey in an affluent home. The reasons for this include poorer healthcare and living conditions for the donkey, as well as a higher risk of injury or work-related degenerative disorders. Donkeys in the poorest countries have a lifespan of just 12-15 years.
In contrast, in more affluent countries many people keep a pair of donkeys as pets. They serve no useful purpose and often do no work whatsoever throughout their lives. These donkeys receive a high standard of health care and accommodation, with all their needs met.
These pampered donkeys can live for 30 to 50 years, which is two or three times longer than a working donkey.
However, some problems can affect donkeys in wealthier countries that are not found in other regions. This may be because the climate conditions are not suited to donkeys, who are adapted to thrive in warm, dry countries. A cool and damp climate can cause various health problems such as foot rot.
Other problems occur when pet donkeys are fed a diet that is too rich and nourishing. Donkeys have evolved to survive on a poor diet of low-quality grass and hay, and an overload of nutrition can be very detrimental to the donkey. This can cause problems such as laminitis, colic, and obesity-related disorders.
How To Care For An Older Donkey
It is not unusual for a well-kept donkey to live for many decades, although they require a lot of care and attention later in life to keep them healthy and free from pain. A donkey is considered to be geriatric once it reaches the age of 20. This means that if a donkey lives to the age of 50, you are committed to 30 years of nurturing them through their old age!
The most important thing when caring for an older donkey is to be vigilant for any small changes. Donkeys are not the best at expressing their feelings, and it can be very difficult to tell when something is wrong. Any slight change in behavior may be a sign that something is not quite right.
You should check your elderly donkey’s eyes regularly for any changes in color or cloudiness. Loss of vision is common in elderly donkeys, and it is vital to identify if this is occurring. If your donkey suffers from reduced vision or loss of sight, avoid any changes in his surroundings and keep to a consistent routine.
An older donkey will also be more susceptible to extreme weather conditions and will need protection from rain, sun, and icy winds. They need an area of dry hardstanding to keep the hooves in good condition. Some people prefer to keep their donkeys in a large undercover area through the winter months.
Geriatric donkeys also require regular attention from a farrier and qualified dental technician. As they get older, donkeys can lose teeth and the remaining teeth may become overgrown and deformed.
Older donkeys need companionship but may find young donkeys too boisterous. It is a good idea to keep old and young donkeys separately if possible, such as in adjoining paddocks.
An older donkey will also appreciate some regular care and attention to keep his coat and muscles in peak condition. Daily grooming is very beneficial, and a weekly massage will help to keep him comfortable. If they are physically capable, take your elderly donkeys for short walks to keep them fit and healthy.
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So, as we have learned, the question of how long does a donkey live depends on many factors. A working donkey in an undeveloped country will have a shorter life expectancy than a pet donkey in an affluent home. It is not unusual for a well-kept donkey to live for many decades, although they require a lot of care and attention later in life to keep them healthy and free from pain.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how long does a donkey live! Do you know a donkey that is aged 50 or more? Or perhaps you’ve got some questions about how to care for an elderly donkey? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
How Long Is A Donkey Year In Human Years?
The length of a donkey year in human years is not easy to calculate, as the lifespan of a donkey can vary widely. The closest estimate is that a human lives approximately three times longer than a donkey, so one donkey year is equivalent to three human years.
How Long Do Donkeys Live In Captivity?
The lifespan of a donkey is very variable according to the location and type of donkey. A working donkey in a poorer country may have a lifespan of just 12-15 years. A pet donkey in a prosperous country can live for 30 to 50 years.
How Old Is The Oldest Donkey?
The world record for the oldest donkey was held by an American donkey named Suzy, who died in 2002 aged 54.
Do Donkeys Get Lonely?
Donkeys are very sociable animals, and normally pair with a best friend for life. A donkey that is kept without another donkey for company will get lonely, and can suffer from depression or behavioral problems.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE