In general, donkeys have been very crucial to pastoral people in arid regions. Nevertheless, donkeys have been always managed less than other livestock (Marshall & Weissbrod, 2011). Inadequate care remains an issue in donkey husbandry as shown by a case study in developing world.
Donkey husbandry, ownership and usage can be useful indicators on the wellbeing and living conditions of many agrarian or peasant economies. A traditional donkey husbandry consists of a lawn or grazing field, a stable with a drinking point and feeder trough. However most donkeys are usually tethered on the back yard where it may be fed some left over household remnants.
Traditionally donkeys may be given limestone or salt as mineral licks, however care under these conditions remains much to be desired. A typical donkey husbandry should provide facilities for grazing/exercise, shelter, watering adlib, feeding and restraint with back up nutritional supplements to improve performance and output.
Where donkeys are kept as a pack lot or for draught purposes such nutritional support is recommended for vitality, repair and energy needs of the animal. Although donkeys tend to express instinctive stubborn behavior, they can be well tamed and take to organized activities.
Main desired traits for breeding
Lack of selection because of the difficulty of controlling donkey breeding is, therefore likely wherever a premium is placed on “wild” characteristics of the donkey, such as strength, rather than on docility and productivity for food.
The relatively high proportion of males in herds (one male: two females) is another factor that makes control over breeding logistically difficult. The greatest factor contributing to the adaptation of the Ass may be related to its functional anatomy, biology and behavior. Donkeys are miniature creatures with slender bodies and anatomical built that permit them to support load over 60% of its live weight.
They have shown remarkable stamina and resilience to move long hours without food and water. The hooves are the narrowest and smallest of any equid to effect long distant journeys. In equids, the pectinate ligament is more prominent than in ruminants and characterized by sturdy interconnected strands and relatively small intertrabecular spaces. Each aspect of donkey is interesting in breeding programme (even behavior or body weight=power).
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