How Much Does Owning a Mini Donkey Cost?

After reading our last article about adopting a mini donkey, you’re thinking of getting your own. One thing that’s giving you pause is the potential cost of owning a miniature donkey. How much does owning a mini donkey cost?

A mini donkey will cost you $3,830 to $6,450. This includes the adoption costs as well as the mini donkey’s equipment and accessories, veterinary care, food, treats, and an enclosure.  

In this article, we will elaborate more on the above costs, breaking down each one so you have a clear idea of what you’ll spend to care for a mini donkey. By the time you’re done reading this article, you can decide whether owning one of these animals is within your best financial interest.

Let’s get started! 

How Much Does Owning a Mini Donkey Cost?

Mini Donkey Cost:  Adoption Fees

Overall cost: $400 to $900

First, we’ll begin with how much it costs to adopt a mini donkey. If you recall, we posted a great resource on this blog not too long ago of adoption organizations across the country. These groups have to get the capital for continued mini donkey rescuing and rehabilitation somewhere. When you adopt a mini donkey, you fund the efforts of these organizations.

How much will it cost you to adopt a mini donkey? That depends. Let’s look at some real prices from those adoption agencies now:

· $400 at Little Longears Miniature Donkey Rescue in Westminster, Maryland

· $400 at Lost & Found Horse Rescue in Germantown, Maryland

· $500 to $900 at Save Your Ass Rescue in South Acworth, New Hampshire (you can get up to two donkeys for $900)

What drives these prices? There are several factors.

State Sales Tax

The first is state sales. If you’ve ever traveled out of state and shopped during your visit, then you experienced state sales tax firsthand. Some states have very high sales tax rates, making everything more expensive. For example, in California, the sales tax is 7.250 percent. Mississippi is another pricy one, with a seven-percent sales tax.

Some states have incredibly low sales taxes as well. In Colorado, the sales tax is 2.90 percent. Hawaii has a four-percent state sales tax, as does Alabama, Georgia, New York, and Wyoming. Also, Delaware, Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon don’t even do state sales taxes. 

Organizational Decisions 

The inner workings of an adoption organization can also play a major role in how much you’ll pay for a miniature donkey. Although there are countless nonprofits and organizations offering donkeys for adoption across the country, they don’t all work the same. Far from it.

It comes down to the individual workings of the organization as to what they will charge for adopting a mini donkey. 


The rules of supply and demand work for any business, even an organization adopting out mini donkeys. If the organization only has three donkeys available, then perhaps they price these higher than they would if they had 10 donkeys to adopt. 

Buying Fees 

Overall cost: $500 to $2,000 and up

Let’s say you can’t find any miniature donkey adoption resources in your neighborhood. These are more uncommon animals compared to horses, after all, so not as many adoption organizations exist. You still want a mini donkey, so you decide to buy one instead of adopting it. How much will you pay in this case?

On the lower end, you may part with only $500 to get your very own mini donkey. In other instances, it’s much more expensive, costing you $2,000 and sometimes even more. Once again, that’s a pretty big price discrepancy, so let’s talk more about why that is now.

Third Parties

If you rely on a resource like EquineNow to buy your mini donkey, then the price can vary wildly. Since third parties use the site to sell their animals, you could get a mini donkey at a fair price or come across one that’s way overpriced. Sometimes they’re even underpriced, although that happens incredibly rarely.

Just looking at a few listings on EquineNow, the site has a weanling female in Honea Path, South Carolina for $1,500. You can also get a fully-grown miniature spotted jack (male mini donkey) for $225 in Albright, Wyoming. A full-grown jennet (female mini donkey) that’s 36 inches high in Berthoud, Colorado costs $600. There’s plenty of variation in price, as you can see. 


Another factor that can lower or increase the price of a mini donkey is their size. Miniature donkeys are supposed to be well, mini. They can get quite big as adults, as that 36-inch tall jennet listing in Colorado shows. That mini donkey cost less than a younger female because the latter is smaller. 


The gender of a mini donkey also matters a lot in terms of how much cash you’ll shell out to own one. While it’s not always true, females tend to sell for more money than male mini donkeys. Why? A jennet can get pregnant and then breed more mini donkeys. Jacks cannot. 


Mini donkeys can live for more than three decades. Like with most pets though, as they get older, their demand tends to decrease. Many people would rather have a young foal than a four-year-old mini donkey. The prices sellers ask to reflect those preferences. The highest prices we came across on EquineNow were for young mini donkeys. The older ones were available for a steal, maybe $500 if not way less. 

Mini Donkey Cost: Equipment, Gear, and Accessories

Overall cost: $909

You’ve just brought your mini donkey home. Hooray! If you thought you were done spending money on your new pet, then think again. You’re just getting started.

Next, you need to invest in equipment, gear, and accessories for your mini donkey. Here is an overview of the items you’ll need as well as the prices for each. 

Feed Bucket

You’ve got to put your mini donkey’s food in something. A feed bucket like this one is made of plastic and even comes in three colors. This way, if you have more than one animal to feed, you can keep track of whose bucket is whose with the different colors. The bucket costs about $43. 

Water Trough

After buying your feed bucket, make sure you get a water trough as well. This one can hold 18 gallons of water. It’s made entirely of LDPE plastic that mimics rubber and is recycled. It’s a bit expensive, at about $60, but it’s an essential you can’t skip. 

Donkey Enrichment 

Mini donkeys, like any pet, need entertainment. One enrichment option you might consider is a ball toy. Available in one size, this ball will keep your miniature donkey entertained for hours. Even better, they get exercise, too! It costs about $30. 

Animal Feed Storage

Keep your mini donkey’s food fresher between feedings with an animal feed storage container. The one we found here can hold 20 gallons of food. It includes a lid as well. As a Rubbermaid product, you can trust in it. This container costs $60.

Equestrian Stable Brooms

Things sure can get messy in your miniature donkey’s stable or enclosure (more on this later). Tidy up with a broom and dustpan set. A metal one like in the link we provided offers great durability. The broom stands at nearly 36 inches tall and has natural bristles. You’ll pay about $95 for the set. 


Make sure you have a shovel, too, as it makes scooping up messes easy. You can’t sweep everything in your donkey’s stable, after all. This shovel has an overall length of 45 inches, with 30 of those inches devoted to the shovel’s handle. The noncorrosive metal of this shovel will handle all sorts of messes. It’s $40. 

Stable Hooks

Horse stable hooks can attach feeding buckets to an enclosure. These cost $5. 

Stable Buckets

Use your stable hooks for these stable buckets. These eight-quart buckets have a flat back design for use as feed or water buckets. They also include a specially shaped metal handle designed for hanging. You can get the buckets for $15. 


You most certainly need a wheelbarrow for bringing in new hay and rolling messes far away to be disposed of. This one is made of metal with a poly tray. The loop handle makes transport convenient. It costs $50. 

Manure Scoop

Don’t let your enclosure reek of donkey poop. After all, these animals may be mini, but their messes aren’t. Horse and mini donkey owners alike favor the Tubtrug Tidee manure scooper. You can select from such hues as sky blue, red, pistachio (green), and blue to make the job more pleasant. The scoop costs about $45. 

Feed Scoop

Control how much your mini donkey eats with a feed scoop. Made of plastic, this scoop can hold three quarts of food. It includes graduation marks so you know how much food your mini donkey depletes. The plastic scoop comes in a rainbow of bright colors like yellow, green, pink, and blue. It’s $11. 

Rubber Flooring

You don’t want yourself or your mini donkey slipping in the enclosure when things get disorganized. With rubber flooring, you won’t have to worry about that anymore. Try to get the kind that snaps together, such as the link we provided here. You can get 48 square feet of rubber flooring with a thickness of half an inch for $40. 

Hay Racks

Where will you put your mini donkey’s hay? In a hay rack, of course. Make sure it’s durable, such as this pick, as it’s steel with a powder coat finish. The heavy-duty steel is half an inch thick. This hay rack costs $80. 

Stable Tie Rings

If you need to tie your donkey’s lead to something in the enclosure, having a stable tie ring helps. They’re inexpensive, too, about $14. 

Fleece Rug

When the temperatures begin dipping down, enrobe your mini donkey in a fleece rug. This one comes in several sizes so you can get a blanket that’s best fitted to your donkey. The fleece rug costs $35. 

Fly Spray

The Farnam Endure Sweat-Resistant Fly Spray is made for horses, but it should work for mini donkeys as well. You get one quart of the spray for $30. Do keep in mind you will have to buy this product or one like it repeatedly. 

Donkey Fly Mask

If those flies come a-swarming, prevent them from biting your mini donkey’s face with a donkey fly mask. These come in various sizes for mini donkeys of all ages. The mask covers the face and the ears but not the nose or mouth. Made of gentle nylon with micro-mesh, your mini donkey stays safe from UV rays, too, as this mask keeps 70 percent of them from reaching your pet. It costs $27. 

Wound Care Ointment

Vetericyn is a preferred name in wound care for equestrian animals and other pets. Their Wound & Skin Care Hydrogel costs $32 while the Hot Spot Spray is $20. 

Bruises and Sprain Treatment

If your mini donkey has bruises, strains, sprains, or even abscesses, you have to get them Kaeco Epsom salt poultice. Make a soak with the salt and then let your donkey step in for some relief. This treatment costs $20 for 20 ounces of product. 

Tail and Mane Conditioner

When cleaning your mini donkey, you want to use a different product for the hair on their tail and mane. Carr & Day & Martin mane and tail conditioner is a favorite for a reason. It works for two weeks at a time, keeping flies away and adding shine to the tail and mane. It’s also great for preventing hair breakage and for detangling. It costs $100 for a five-liter jug. 

Hoof Picks

Get those hooves clean with a hoof pick. This one has a stiff brush for cleaning and a metal hook for picking. It’s $6. 

Shedding Blade

Clean and shed excess hair with a shedding blade. If you want to clean hair, then use the soft side. The side with the teeth will painlessly pull off loose hairs. The blade has a length of 24 inches. This tool costs about $14. 

Tail and Mane Brush

Make sure you use a special brush for the tail and mane. This one allows you to brush in a variety of directions as needed. The rubber handle makes it easier and more comfortable for you to grip. The pins of the brush have ball tips as well so you never accidentally hurt your mini donkey. It costs $11. 

Body Brush

body brush like those you’d use for horses is safe to use on your miniature donkey as well. Grooming their fur maintains its luster and shine. You can get a body brush for about $20. 

Lead Rope

As you guide your mini donkey around, you’ll use the lead rope to do so. Most leads are made of polypropylene, but the material used can vary. This lead measures 10 feet long, so it should suffice for your mini donkey. You can choose from such styles as a solid brass snap, a nickel-plated bull snap, a chrome brass snap, or a brass-plated bull trigger snap. The lead rope costs $13. 


Last but certainly not least, we’ve got the donkey halter. A halter should be made of a durable yet comfortable material like nylon. You’ll have to buy halters often if you get a young donkey, as they will outgrow them with time. The one we provided a link to is meant for yearlings or donkeys up to 500 pounds. This halter costs $25. 


Overall cost: $1,675 to $2,435

Next, we’ve got the miniature donkey’s enclosure. You may live on a farm in which you already have an enclosure. In that case, you don’t have to pay a thing for this. Perhaps you decide to build a stable, where you’d shell out for the costs of the lumber and tools for the project.

You can also buy the parts you need and get them installed by someone else. According to pricing resource RemodelingExpense, horse fencing material costs anywhere from $1,125 to $1,625. To get it installed, you may pay $550 to $750. That puts the project costs at $1,675 to $2,435. 

To break it down, you’d pay $17.50 to buy material for each square inch of fence or enclosure. Factoring in installation costs, that’s $24.05 for each square foot. 

Mini Donkey Cost: Food and Treats

Overall cost: $465 to $540 

The diet of a mini donkey is mostly comprised of hay, grass, pellets, and straw. They also eat vegetables, fruits, and sugar beet. Farmers and other mini donkey owners will add in supplemental feeding as well, such as crimped oats or other grains. 

Here are the prices for those foods. 


The good thing about grass? It’s free. 


What about hay? While you can find it online, we recommend going to a farming supply store to get hay. You want to be sure you’re feeding your mini donkey only the most high-quality hay. Unfortunately, per a 2018 article on, there’s been a hay shortage going on. Remember how earlier in this article how we talked about supply and demand? Here it is again in action. Since there’s a high demand for hay but not a lot of supply, the prices have jumped to about double of what they usually are. 

If you need standard hay, a ton might cost you $125 or $150. Hay that’s alfalfa-grade and thus higher quality is priced at $140 to $165 for every ton.

Your mini donkey can live between 25 and 30 years and will need a consistent supply of hay. It’s not just that you’re buying hay once then, but over and over again. You need to take the number you have now and multiply it by however often you need to buy more hay. 

Of course, hopefully, the hay shortage will die down and prices will drop. You could save between $70 and $90 for each ton of hay once that happens. 

Vegetables and Fruits

You’re not supposed to give your mini donkey a lot in the way of fruits or vegetables. Twice a day MAX, but we only do once a day, if at all. 

The small quantity shouldn’t be as a meal but rather to boost their appetite. 

Don’t go feeding your mini donkey any ol’ thing, either. Avoid stone fruits, garlic, leeks, onion, and potatoes. 

Since we already have vegetables and fruits at home and feed our mini’s so little, over the course of the year we estimate that we only spend $200 on veggies and fruits. 

Sugar Beet

We’re including sugar beet in its own separate category. It’s not a dietary staple by any means, but you do want to have some on hand for several situations. For instance, if you have an underweight mini donkey, feeding them sugar beet can help them bulk up. Older donkeys and sick ones may be encouraged to eat after nibbling on some sugar beet as well. 

According to Statista, as of 2017, refined sugar beets cost $31.33 per pound. Let’s say then you’ll spend about $100 on sugar beets a year.  


Your mini donkey should eat straw too, which is different from hay. Depending on the type of straw you select, prices vary. Per ton, you’d pay $75 for pea straw, $54 for oat straw, $44 for barley straw, and $40 for wheat straw. Those quotes come from 2016 data, so the costs may have increased since then. 

Veterinary Care

Overall cost: $280 to $568

One of the most important elements of your mini donkey’s survival is veterinary care. Not only will they need checkups, but also yearly vaccinations and frequent wormings. Don’t go longer than three months without getting your mini donkey wormed. 

If your female donkey gets pregnant, then she’ll need even more frequent medical attention, as will the babies once they’re born.  

You may pay between $30 and $80 for a basic checkup of a healthy miniature donkey. Tetanus and flu shots cost between $40 and $55. Your donkey will only need a tetanus shot every other year, but they should get a flu vaccine every year.

Worming is priced at $20 to $40, but considering you have to do it about four times a year and the price looks more like $80 to $160. You should get your mini donkey’s fecal count done at least twice a year if not four times. That’s $20 to $50 each, time, so $80 to $200 at most. The yearly dental appointment will set you back $50 to $73 as well. 

Mini Donkey Cost: Conclusion 

While getting your mini donkey cost can reach thousands of dollars, these are mostly initial costs. For instance, you won’t have to pay to adopt or buy your mini donkey again or build their enclosure (or at least, you shouldn’t). Also, most of the supplies you pick up should last you for a long time.

Now that you know more about the costs associated with owning a mini donkey, you can budget to get your very own. Good luck! 

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