2 Feb 2018

Dinky donkeys in high demand

From Country Life, 9:30 pm on 2 February 2018

If you fancy having one of these tiny, sweet bundles in your paddock, you'll have to join the queue.

New Zealand's largest breeders of American Miniature Mediterranean donkeys have a waiting list for their babies.

Marion and Peter van Dijk have 20 donkeys and this season welcomed eight foals on their small Pukekohe farm.

Naturally small, the little working donkeys that hail from Sardinia will grow to between 76 and 90cm tall. There are only 140 of them in New Zealand.

Marion says the breed has only been in New Zealand for 17 years and building the herd is a slow process.

Artificial insemination doesn't work and the gestation period ranges between 11 and 13 months.

"They have one foal at a time so it's not like a litter of puppies where you have a large litter and things move quickly."

The little donkeys come with a big price tag; $5000 for a jenny and $2500 for a gelding.

Their parents though cost $30,000 to $40,000 to import.

Peter and Marion adore them.

"They are just good for the soul," says Marion."We say they're like dogs in the paddock."

Peter says you just can't stop at one.

"I always tell our prospective customers they are very dangerous animals. They multiply."


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