MAA Rio Grande was his registered Mammoth donkey name.
God has brought another donkey home to heaven. Rio was the ambassador for the Mammoth donkey as he was truly a gentle giant. Standing at 16’2 hands tall he was a magnificent donkey. Rio helped train the owner and caretakers of donkeys worldwide in our E-training videos and E-book.
Rio was an introverted donkey personality, he never let out a complete bray ever. Rio suffered from an immune disorder that helped to create a fungus deep inside his hooves. Sadly after two years of working with our veterinarian and farrier, we lost the battle to save his life. Rio came into our life as a baby mammoth donkey he was nine months old. We euthanized and buried Rio on a warm summer evening the summer of 2021 facing the Olympic mountains and our hayfield as this was truly one of his favorite places on our farm.
When donkeys pass to heaven it’s important to remember a few things for the surviving donkey’s health and wellbeing.
Make sure each donkey gets the opportunity to walk up to the the deceased donkey. Closure for donkeys is very important as donkeys can enter depression and anxiety wondering what happened to their buddy.
Watch for depression, is your donkey eating, pooping and drinking? Sadly, donkeys can collic and die from a broken heart and the stress of the death of their buddy.
Please get another donkey for your donkey if your donkey is now living alone. Donkeys are physically, mentally and emotionally healthier when getting to live with their own species.
This is wrong! Very few donkeys make great livestock guardians. Please get a livestock guarding dog to protect your livestock. Donkeys will guard the animals they are bonded to if they are big enough. A miniature donkey is too small to guard anything. Domesticated dogs can kill a miniature donkey. Donkeys bond for life to their own species. If a donkey is placed in with a flock of sheep that it does not know, the donkey may grab the neck of the sheep and kill it. This is not a bad donkey it is simply donkey behavior. Donkeys do best when they get to live with another donkey. Donkeys will kill newborn baby cows, sheep and goats, pigs etc., so best to keep the babies away from donkeys. Donkeys grab the neck of another donkey in play and in battle, play tug with a ball, sleep, drink and eat together basically book ends. Dogs, most donkeys do not like dogs they resemble the wolf and coyote. We have hot wire fences to keep our donkeys in and the dogs out. Sadly farmers end up burying the donkey, re-sell give away a donkey who has not performed the job as livestock guarding to their satisfaction.
Donkey Diet& Care
Donkeys evolved from the desert. Donkeys need a serious diet and cannot eat all day and night on pasture or brush. Most livestock is fed an extremely rich diet full of grains and lush pasture. Donkeys who are fed rich food or overfed grass or brush will get insulin resistance, white line disease, fat deposits on the body, neck gets fat and can break over, hoof abscesses, laminitis. Hoof abscesses are common with a rich diet, the liver fails and soon the donkey dies a painfully slow death. Donkeys are stoic and will never show pain until it is too late.
Hay and all forage must be tested to come in at 10% or lower in sugar and protein along with portion control as donkeys gain weight quickly. Donkeys need shelter, clean water, warm in freezing climates and salt. Donkeys do not do well standing in the rain with no shelter due to their thick fur. Some donkeys need a blanket as they cant take the freezing temperatures and this blanket needs to be changed and checked. Donkeys need their hooves trimmed, vet care teeth, shots, fecal sample before worming spring and summer.
Donkeys need great fences and locks as donkeys can visually watch you do something and repeat the task.
Donkeys Are Intelligent, Not Stubborn
Donkeys are not flight animals like horses, most donkeys do not react to physical force to do a task. Donkeys push into pressure. Donkeys can freeze when scared or fight back. Please take the time to learn donkey behavior and personality. Extroverts bray and have more go than whoa, introverts do not bray and have more whoa than go. I teach about this in Donkey 102 video on demand. Donkeys need to see a reason for everything they do. Since donkeys evolved from the desert they learned how to survive with their mind as they do not have the speed of a horse to outrun the predator. Donkeys are deep thinkers game players. I call this ON DONKEY TIME ®. The donkey will never do anything that can hurt the donkey. Self-preservation is number one to a donkey. Donkeys ears back can mean anger, thinking, happy to see you. Learn to read the eyes of your donkey not the ears. The horse will jump off the grand canyon when scared, the donkey will not, do you see the difference? A donkeys’ gift is not sped it is a brain that can problem-solve to stay alive.
Donkeys are incredibly strong.
Donkeys have a reputation for being strong pack animals and while this is true, they are not stronger than another animal of the same size. Donkeys can only hold up to 20% of their weight. Donkeys must be full-grown and conditioned to do heavy work.
When Is A Donkey Full-Grown?
Miniature Donkeys age three
Standard or Burro age four
Mammoth Donkeys six to seven
If you would like to learn how to train your donkey go to the Donkey Whisperer Farm ® education center. Melody Johnson trains the owner or caretaker worldwide via Donkey 101 & 102 Video On Demand, use your smartphone to take Melody to the farm with you.
GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!
Donkeys are smart not stubborn. Donkeys are visual learners meaning; Donkeys can watch you do something repetitively and repeat the process. Donkeys are wood eaters. Make sure you have excellent fences, gates and locks.
Donkey Whisperer Farm ®
Donkeys love wood!
Please do not confuse eating wood as cribbing as its not. Donkeys evolved from the desert.
Rio our Mammoth donkey is thirteen years old 2019.
Rio age six is 16”1 hands at the withers, not the ears and yes he still has one more year of growing to do. Rio is a Mammoth donkey 100% donkey no horse he will be full-grown at age seven, the bigger the equine the longer it takes for them to mature. As the human owner, it is our responsibility to learn what age the equine is full-grown and what it takes to keep them in optimum health mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Miniature donkeys are full-grown at age three.
Standard/burro age four.
Mammoth donkeys age six or seven. Rio was seven as he stands 16’2 hands tall.
Preparation is the key to preparing a donkey to ride.
As a baby mammoth donkey, we took Rio, Lily, and Rocket Man for lots of trail walks to prepare for trail riding. I highly suggest you do the same if your goal is to trail ride and you have an equine big enough and old enough to carry your weight. Training the equine to load (trailer and carry weight) without stress is the most important thing to do as you do not want to be trying to trailer load in an emergency. Any time you can spend with a youngster preparing them for what you want them to do as an adult is time well spent, it’s like laying a foundation on a house to make it strong and solid.
If you have young donkeys, mules, or horses please wait to do riding until they are full-grownas their bones, joints, and mind needs time to grow up. If you wait for them to physically mature you will have a healthy and happy equine into their senior years if you push ahead too much too fast you can cripple the equine for life.
Rio (mammoth donkey) two days old.
Rio nine months old – Look how GOD puts all the thick baby donkey fur on to keep him warm in the winter.
“Rio is 9 months old. this is the face I fell in love with a look at those eyes.
Rio at 9 months old
Rio at 1 year old
Rio with Lily at 1 year old just got home to our farm.
Taking Rio to another farm practicing trailer loading and meeting other horses – Rio is two years old here.
Going for trail walks not rides – Rio carried our lunch and water as he is still too young to ride age 3.
Rio and Melody age 3 (most famous photo) just got a bath and is wearing a cooler blanket after a bath.
Rio age 3.
Lily is five and Rio is almost four here Ponying up.
Rio age 5 2011
Rio age 6 summer 2012
Rio age 7.
Rio Johnson age 13 (2019) our Mammoth donkey with Melody Johnson.
GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!
Select Tallest Mammoth Donkey Romulus is 12 years old and has been measured at 17 hands (68 inches, 173 cm) from hooves to withers, two inches taller than the former tallest donkey, Oklahoma Sam. Romulus weighs about 1,300 pounds (590 kg). Romulus and Remus are American Mammoth Jackstock donkeys, the world’s largest donkey breed.
Because donkeys are herd animals and are ‘species specific’ their happiness meter increases dramatically when they are paired with another donkey or in a donkey herd. Happiness equates to improved psychological well being and physical health which means fewer behavioral problems and veterinary bills for owners. It is a win/win for both donkeys and their owners/guardians.
But, what happens when donkeys become ‘herd bound’?
Because many donkey owners/caretakers don’t spend time socializing and interacting with their donkeys on a regular basis their donkeys bond and become attached to their donkey companion or herd. Inevitably, when it is time for their donkey to leave their partner or herd the donkey panics, becomes stressed or misbehaves. We have seen far too many disasters when a donkey must be separated from its partner and one or both donkeys are plunged into hysteria. Being ‘herd bound’ is extremely dangerous for both the donkey and the owner!
As donkey owners and guardians we must be able to separate our donkeys and attend to them individually. At some point all donkeys will need to be separated, even temporarily, due to an abscess, illness, injury, diet change, medicating or for the farrier or vet.
Being ‘herd bound’ reflects on the owner NOT the donkey! Donkeys naturally migrate toward the leader of the herd and the strongest member for companionship. There is a natural hierarchy in herd psychology and as with all herd animals donkeys have a strong instinct for safety and survival. If your donkey does not consider you the leader of the herd or his/her partner you cannot expect your donkey to feel safe in your presence. You must be a leader worthy of your donkey’s trust and respect.
The solution for a ‘herd bound’ donkey is your time and patience. Learn to be a leader. Prove to your donkey that he/she can look to you for safety and natural herdsmanship.
Meet Rio our Mammoth donkey. Rio has been in our life since he was nine months old he turns thirteen this summer.
Interesting fact; Mammoth donkeys are rare as they are man-made. Standard or burro donkeys are the normal size donkeys. Miniature donkeys are man-made too. Rio is my riding donkey he stands 16’2 hands tall at the withers not the ears.
Donkeys are human healers. If you ever get the chance to meet a donkey I highly recommend it. Donkeys are truly gifts from God.
Donkey Halter For Sale! Hand made in the U.S.A. with soft yacht rope a brass screw on snap, leather end. Our measurements will fit the mini or standard size donkey from age 4 months to full-grown.
Custom make a halter for your Mammoth donkey, mule, horse, pony. Select any color from our store. We provide the measurement template with detailed instructions and we take the time to make sure you understand how to measure the head before you submit your order.
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Why do donkeys need to live with another donkey? Donkeys diet is serious so its important the donkey is living in an environment set up for donkeys. Donkeys are emotional and bond deeply to their own species in many cases they bond for life. They become book ends. Donkeys play different than other animals, grab the neck, play tug with a toy, sleep together, eat, drink and play leap frog. Making a donkey live in isolation without another donkey is cruel as donkeys are highly intelligent and get bored quickly. Many donkeys stop eating and drinking when forced to live in isolation or become agitated easily due to the isolation and boredom. Can a donkey live with a horse. Yes and no. All animals want to live and can survive with most animals but here is the reason to think about not adding a donkey in with a horse. The Diet. Donkeys cannot over eat it will slowly kill them, causing laminitis, white line, insulin resistance, fat pockets, and and finally death.
Do you ever find yourself thinking about donkeys? We have had donkeys in our life for fifteen years now and well it’s hard to remember life without a horse and a couple of donkeys, they are indeed part of our family.
Why Donkeys? Perhaps GOD understood before I did the importance of donkeys in our life as our donkeys are part of our family now. I have always been a human that likes to learn, digs for information, steps out of the box to try new things and I am naturally creative. Thank you, Jesus! The human brain is indeed one of the most important organs GOD gave us.
Why are donkeys so special? Donkeys have a cross on their back, this is special.
Well, they are usually not always but usually more relaxed than the horse and well kinda like a black lab they just want to be loved on, they want to eat, they want to snuggle with their human. The donkey loves to play tug with their four-legged donkey buddy. Donkeys love to jump up and grab the neck of their donkey buddy. Donkeys are donkeys!
Donkeys never forget anything they must be treated with a fair and respectful plan. Never abuse your donkey. Rehabilitation of an abused donkey can takes years and some of these donkeys can become violent towards people they associate with the past abuse. Triggers are a smell, man or woman (former abuser), truck, sounds, hat, gloves, cigarette. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is real in animals just like people. Donkeys can see in color.
What Do Donkeys Need To Stay Healthy?
1. Clean water fresh water, diet, low sugar and low protein hay portion control is a must. Never feed donkeys alfalfa hay ever. Hay must be tested to come in no higher than 10% Sugar to keep the exotic desert equine healthy. Exercise is key.
2. Taming – Donkeys need their hooves picked out daily and their feet trimmed at least every 7 weeks
3. Donkeys need the vet to come and see them at least once a year
4. Donkeys need their teeth checked at least once a year
5. Donkeys need us, humans, to check for sores, lice, or a limp – Watch your donkey learn how they move so you can catch problems quickly
6. Donkeys need clean fresh water every day and in the winter warm water, Donkeys need to lose salt in a dry place. A salt lick will do but will not be as effective to prevent colic.
7. Donkeys need their human to be on time with meals – My donkeys hardly ever bray as they can depend on us to bring their meals, they do not need to remind us ever
8. It is a myth to believe all donkeys bray all day long they don’t bray unless they are calling out to a donkey or they are upset about meals or something else like a predator coming into their pasture. Jacks bray more. Very few jacks (stallion horse world) are worthy of reproduction. Owning a Jack is not for the beginner donkey owner or even the novice. Owning a Jack takes having people to help you manage your farm correctly it is not for the beginner.
9. Donkeys do not enjoy a bath, donkeys seem to not enjoy the water even on the warmest weather. Our donkeys get one bath a year and I hand wash their face just like my horse,never spray a donkey with a hose in the face
10. Donkeys ears can be broken and not stand up so be careful when touching them
11. Donkeys can grow lot’s of thick donkey fur for the winter
Rio our Mammoth donkey age 9 months with my hubby Scott.
12. Donkeys are looking for a great human leader who will take the time it takes, donkeys are visual learners
13. Donkeys can hear things way sooner than the horse
14. Pick up the poop every day and compost. Do not drag across your pasture until the poop has composted and killed parasites for at least one year.
15. Last but final tip about donkeys; never ever drill a donkey, less is more and remember Donkeys never forget anything – Be careful what and how you train your donkey 🙂 SELECT E-TRAINING DONKEY 101 VIDEO ON DEMAND.
GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!