Your Sicilian donkey's ancestors, prior to arriving in Sicily, originally hailed from the Mediterranean region of North Africa. Such donkeys not only ended up in Sicily as working animals, but also on the island of Sardinia. Although the Sicilian and Sardinian donkeys once had distinct ancestry, today they are known simply as miniature Mediterranean donkeys. These donkeys are virtually gone from Sicily and Sardinia. They're relatively easy equines to care for, but they need company. While another Sicilian donkey is ideal, horses, ponies, goats and similar hooved animals will fill the bill.
Feeding Sicilian Donkeys
Your donkey probably doesn't require grain unless pregnant or nursing, or is an animal doing regular work. What he does need is good quality grass or timothy hay, access to a salt block and a constant supply of clean water. While it's fine to keep him a pasture -- he makes an excellent companion for other equines -- avoid rich grass. Two donkeys on their own need a minimum of 1 acre of pasture if that is their only sustenance in the spring through the fall. If you have other livestock in the same field, take their grazing needs into account to estimate minimum pasture size.
Obesity is a major issue in small donkeys. Avoid giving your long-eared pal treats, and don't overfeed him. If you have ample pasture, consider putting a muzzle on him for part of the day so he doesn't overeat.
Sicilian Donkey Housing
Your donkey requires a run-in shed in his field to shield him from inclement weather, flies and excessive sun. Of course, you can put him in a stall at night and let him out in the pasture during the day.
Donkey Health Care
Sicilian donkeys require the same basic health care necessary for all equines. This includes:
- Regular deworming, approximately every two months.
- Hoof trimming, at least every three months.
- Semi-annual vaccinations.
- Annual teeth floating.
An equine vet, farrier and dentist should provide services for miniature donkeys.
If you're considering obtaining a Sicilian donkey to guard livestock from predators, think again. While larger donkeys can fulfill this role, a Sicilian donkey is just too small to fend off an aggressive dog or coyote.