1) PROVIDE YOUR DONKEY WITH A GOOD HOME:
Donkeys originated in a desert climate. They prefer warmer weather but are very hardy, provided they are given adequate accomodation. Donkeys do not like wind or rain and will seek shelter from both. Unlike for horses, rain seeps into a donkeys coat and makes life unbearable. The shelter doesn't need to be elaborate, as long as it is adequate and provides the protection the donkey needs.
In a temperate climate, provide a shelter which consists of a minimum of 3 walls, with adequate backspace to get out of the rain and wind. This might be a shed, stable or even a small barn. Put straw or shavings on the ground for comfort and warmth, especially in the cooler months of the year.
In a climate with severe winter (temperatures below freezing, featuring ice, snow and winds), you must provide a donkey with barn accomodation. The barn should be snug, plug any gaps that let drafts through to prevent the donkey from catching chills.
2) BUILD DECENT FENCING:
To keep your donkey in and to protect them from dogs, coyotes, etc. build solid secure fencing around the area you have set aside for your donkey. Electrified wire can be used if multi-layered, but board fencing is adequate. In some areas, using additional wire mesh is recommended. Do not use barbed wire fencing.
3) KEEP YOUR DONKEYS' WATER SUPPLY AVAILABLE AND ACCESSIBLE:
Like for any animal, water is key to survival. Donkeys don't like dirty water, so check every day to ensure the water supply is clean and fresh. Don't forget to check in winter to see whether it has frozen over, and if it has you'll need to clear the ice, or equip the tank with a heater.
4) FEED YOUR DONKEY PROPERLY:
The best food is natural-donkeys thrive on good grazing grounds where they can obtain their favorite grass. Donkeys love to eat and will graze all day but be wary of letting them eat too much as they have a tendency to put on weight easily if they can access too much food. And a donkey that puts on weight rarely loses those extra pounds. If you can provide the donkey with pasture grass all year round, your donkey is unlikely to need other kinds of food. If, however, your pasture is inaccessible during the year (due to snow, etc.), your pasture is poor, or you want to provide extra nourishment or treats, there are several good alternatives to feed your donkey.
5) GIVE APPROPRIATE TREATS OR DIETARY SUPPLIMENTS:
As stated above, donkeys put on weight easily, so be careful with treats. Carrots are ideal as are vegetable scraps (exclusive of green potatoes), and the odd filling free cookie is OK. Check with your vet about dietary suppliments; these may be recommended depending on soil type, etc., of your particular region. A salt/mineral block can be helpful, but check with your vet for the right type.
6) KEEP YOUR DONKEY FEEDING AREA CLEAN:
To avoid possible contamination or worm problems, always keep the donkey feeding area clean. Remove mud, wash food buckets daily and keep hay in a string basket on the wall (hay net) or manger off the floor.
7) LET YOUR DONKEY GET EXERSIZE IN WINTER:
If you have to shut your donkey up in winter, you will need to let it out every few days for exercise. If you can allow your donkey to wander around in the barn between outdoor outings, this would be ideal. Don't force a donkey that hates snow to go out into the elements; provide this animal with an indoor excercise area. Keep a coat on the donkey in the winter months if the temperatures drop to prevent chills; donkeys can get pneumonia or bronchitis if subjected to rain or very cold weather.
8) PROVIDE YOUR DONKEY WITH COMPANIONSHIP:
Donkeys are herd animals and enjoy company. It is highly reccommended that you keep two donkeys together if possible. They will make companions with horses and also with goats and sheep, but they really enjoy their own kind. They will play with other donkeys for hours, either tag or using toys (rolly balls, rope, branches, etc.) This will keep their stress and noise level down.
9) KEEP VACCINATIONS-WORMING UP TO DATE:
Donkeys are hardy and almost desease-free. They do need to be vaccinated yearly against tetanus, flu and distemper. Other vaccinations to consider, depending on where you reside, include rabies, encephalitis, and West Nile Virus. Donkeys should be dewormed quarterly during the year; they get the same worms as horses. If your donkey gets a pot-belly or poor coat condition, it is likely due to worms.
10) BE VIGILANT ABOUT HOOF CARE:
Just like horses, a donkey's hooves are its stock-in-trade; it needs good hooves to be healthy and happy. Donkeys can get split hooves, dryness and abcessess if inadequately cared for. Toenails should be trimmed every 6 - 9 weeks, depending on the rate of growth and terrain; a rocky area will wear down the hooves fasters than a grassy area, thus mandating less clipping. If you aren't sure how to do this yourself, contact a farrier to assist you, but make sure the farrier is familiar with donkeys' hooves as they differ from horse's in their angle and form.