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The Donkey Way of Talking

Donkeys have no trouble getting their point across. You just have to learn what they are saying. Here, at the beginning of the video, John Donkey “Nestle” (on left) lets out short, bass grunts as his way of showing he is excited to get feed. Notice also how their ears are pointed slightly forward, which is an indication that they are on alert.


Callie, the spotted Jenny on the right, whines a bit and wags her head at Nestle – an indication that she will be in “competition” with him for the breakfast meal they are about to get. Donkeys will “check” one another according the order of leadership in a herd. Sometimes this is a simple head nod, and other times a full “body check” in which the donkey leans into or raises a leg to the other.


Soon, the Jenny called “Mocha” comes in to view in the background. You can see her raise up her head and curl her lips back to expose her upper teeth. Donkeys will do this for two reasons: 1) as a greeting; or 2) to get a better whiff into their nostrils to smell what’s ahead. Since she knows me and she’s aware it’s feeding time, I’ll go with a greeting!


I did not keep them in suspense. Seconds later after their verbal and body language demands, they got some coastal hay and a handful of carrot nibs.

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