Before searching for a donkey I did some research and was surprised at some of the facts I just wasn't aware of. These are just a few interesting things I learned:
1. Donkey's are desert animals and therefore do not have a waterproof coat like horses. This requires them to be blanketed and sheltered from the harsh Canadian elements.
2. A domesticated donkey can live as long as 50 years of age! This means I will be in my 80's when Rufus has lived out his life.
3. Donkey's are labelled stubborn ONLY because they are treated like horses. They are physically, mentally, and emotionally different to horses. Their "stubbornness" is actually a reaction to stress and a way to protect themselves from danger.
4. Donkey's have a slower metabolism to horses (because of their desert diet) and do best on a diet of high quality barely straw. They are very much prone to hyperlipaemia (fattening of the liver) and laminitis when they are kept under the same conditions as horses. Weight gain is their biggest enemy.
5. A group of donkeys is called a herd, drove, or a pace.
6. In the desert environment a donkey is able to hear the call of another donkey 60 miles away, they have far larger ears than horses. Their large ears also help keep them cool. Their bray is so loud! Rufus has become my new alarm clock and will make sure to let me know when it is breakfast time!
7. Donkeys are very intelligent and are much stronger than horses the same size.
8. Donkeys are much more vocal than horses. Rufus has many sounds depending on his "mood". When he is excited he will have a long and very loud bray making sure I know he is need of something. When he is angry or stressed his vocalization is almost a growl. When is he is happy his sound can be described as a soft braying "nicker" that you may hear from a horse.
9. Ass is a donkey, Jack is a male donkey, and a Jenny is a female. A Mule is the sterile offspring of a mating between a jack and a mare. A Hinny is the offspring of a female donkey and a male horse. A Hinny and a Mule are sterile because they have 63 chromosomes. Horses have 64 and donkeys have 62!
10. Donkeys are absolutely adorable and I am not sure why I didn't get one sooner.