Baby Donkey: 6 Facts & 6 Pictures

Written by Sadie Dunlap
Published: December 27, 2021
Image Credit iStock.com/tepic
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Baby donkeys are not only cute, but they’re also well-prepared for adulthood! Did you know donkeys are super smart? Or that they communicate using their own special made-up language? Stock around to learn six awesome baby donkey facts and to see some adorable pictures!

#1: A Baby Donkey is Called a Foal!

baby donkey and mother
Donkeys are called foals until they’re about a year old.

iStock.com/Saddako

It doesn’t matter whether the donkey is male or female, a baby donkey is called a foal. They’re only foals until about a year old. After a year, the foals are called yearlings. Donkeys are yearlings for up to two years. 

Adult female donkeys are called mares. Male donkeys, on the other hand, can have two separate. A castrated male donkey is called a gelding. An intact male is called a stallion.

#2: Donkey Foals Can Stand Almost Immediately 

baby donkey grazing
Newborn donkeys stand up around thirty minutes after they’re born.

iStock.com/lo-chef

A foal can stand and even nurse from their mothers as soon as 30 minutes after birth! However, the babies are extremely unbalanced and very hungry, so this can be challenging for the tiny mammals

Baby donkeys are fully developed at birth, so they don’t require much in terms of care. However, they can be snatched up by predators. Consequently, mother donkeys prefer to keep their babies close to keep threats at bay. 

#3: Baby Donkeys are Very Intelligent 

baby donkey portrait
Donkey foals are comparably smart to dolphins and dogs!

iStock.com/miskokordic

When a baby donkey grows up, they can remember old friends and places they’ve been for up to 20 years. Considering that the average lifespan of a donkey is only 35 years, that’s a very long time. However, there is a donkey named Bubbles who celebrated her 62nd birthday in 2021. 

Donkeys are also able to problem solve in steps on their own. In fact, scientists say that donkeys are nearly as intelligent as dolphins and dogs. What’s more: they even have their own language. They use a combination of body language and sounds to effectively communicate with one another.

#4: A Donkey Baby’s Ears are Very Helpful

baby donkey in a field
A donkey’s ears can also act as a fan or a fly swatter!

iStock.com/predrag1

Not only can a baby donkey hear another donkey’s calls from up to 50 miles away, they actually help keep the baby donkey cool in the desert-like conditions they prefer to live in. 

Their huge, floppy ears help them stay cool by being used as a fan. Their ears are also helpful for keeping flies, bugs, and other pests away. Talk about hard-working ears!

#5: Donkey Foals Are Extremely Safety Cautious

baby donkey in the mountains
Donkey foals are extremely hesitant to walk into a dangerous situation.

iStock.com/Jacek Jacobi

Donkeys have the reputation for being stubborn, but this is actually incorrect. Donkeys will not go into a situation if they feel they could be in danger. This is mostly to do with how intelligent they are. 

They will literally dig their heels in the ground and not move a muscle if they sense danger of any kind. Unlike horses, they’re able to problem solve and make their own choices about heading into a situation. Donkeys are even considered to be all-terrain animals so if a donkey doesn’t feel it’s safe, it’s wise to follow suit.

#6: Baby Donkeys are Incredibly Social

baby donkey and mother
Donkey foals love to make friends!

iStock.com/tepic

Donkeys are social animals from birth. From the moment they’re born, they prefer to spend their time with their herd. As babies, they begin to build bonds with other herd members that will last a lifetime. 

Baby donkeys’ mental health is directly affected by their social environment. If a donkey is left alone for too long, it could develop depression. Depressed donkeys may refuse to eat or drink and act lethargic, which is hazardous to their overall health. When an owner has a lone donkey, it must be housed with goats or other peaceful animals to ensure its overall health and wellness.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are baby donkeys called?

A baby donkey is called a foal and is a foal for a year. After a year old, they’re called yearlings until they reach two years old. Adult donkeys are called mares if they’re females but the males have two different names. If a male is castrated they’re a gelding, if not they’re a stallion. 

How much do baby donkeys weigh?

Foals weigh between 15 and 30 pounds at birth. By the time they reach adulthood, they will be anywhere from 400 to 500 pounds. A mini donkey weighs from 15-25 pounds at birth and will grow to weigh 200 to 400 pounds as an adult.

What do baby donkeys eat?

Baby donkeys are mammals and therefore nurse from their moms. Foals will continue to nurse from their mothers until they reach about 6 months old, when it will be time for them to be weaned. At this time, they start eating hay, straw, and grass. Straw makes up 70% of an adult donkey’s diet. 

Where do baby donkeys live?

A foal is completely dependent on its mother for all its nutrition. Because of this, baby donkeys do not wander far from mom’s side. Adult domesticated donkeys prefer warm, dry environments. Northern Africa is the only home to wild donkeys who live in a desert and savanna climate. 

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