Baudet du Poitou Donkeys

Annie checking the eyes of a Poitou

Poitou donkeys basically need the same care as most equines, but with some extra consideration because of their size and conformation / appearance.

They all need shelter from the elements, sun and rain, which can be by a field shelter or stable. They all need somewhere dry and clean to stand, and to have their feet picked out. All donkeys need to be wormed, vaccinated (all ours are done for flu and tetanus), and have their feet trimmed.

Feeding of donkeys is different from horses. They need more fibre, and lots of it to maintain a healthy gut. In the summer when the grass is lush, we feed ours straw, and only feed hay when the grass has lost its goodness. It is easier to get a donkey to put on weight than it is to diet it. They tend to be good doers. Never over feed your foals. They do not want to grow too fast, because they will develop problems with their legs. At 2 years old they become easier to keep.

These donkeys mature later than smaller donkey breeds, so if you do want to work your Poitou wait until they are 5 or so.

Grooming is a big part of Poitou management. In France the Poitou donkeys are never groomed, the hair is left to form ringlets and mats. At Woodford farm we groom ours, it is time consuming but great fun. The donkeys love it. I have even found someone who wants to spin Poitou hair!

The most common problem we find with these donkeys is dermatitis. They get hot and sweaty in the sun, causing patches of dermatitis, but it is easy to treat.

Poitous love time and attention. They adore people, and so are great time wasters. They bond very closely to you and owning a Poitou means having a friend for life. If you really want to find out what owning a Poitou entails, then come along to one of our Training Days, and care for one yourself.

Be careful if you buy donkeys from France, they can carry a disease called Piroplasmosis, a tick borne disease which could affect your other animals. Please phone us on 01590 626224 for more information about this.