Do Donkeys Need Shelter? (Explained)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Virtually all animals need some type of Shelter at certain points in their lives; donkeys are no different. Donkeys need Shelter.

Donkeys need Shelter depending on various factors like weather conditions, the health status of the donkey, age of the donkey, and geographical location.

We are going to explore this further in this article, so if you are curious about donkeys needing Shelter, stick with us.

Why do donkeys need shelter?

Do Donkeys Need Shelter

Donkeys generally are good to just roam about in their natural habitat, but certain factors necessitate the use of shelter for donkeys, factors like:

1. Geographical Area

The geographical area a donkey lives in affects its need for shelter.

This could be the determinant factor.

If a donkey lives in a geographical area that is prone to wild, extreme, and unstable weather conditions, then that donkey would need shelter.

If the geographical area has a lot of predators, this would substantially increase the likelihood of your donkey being attacked or killed by predators.

So the geographical location of your donkeys or of you goes a long way to determine if your donkeys would need Shelter or not.

If you live in Africa, the likelihood of your donkey needing Shelter reduces substantially because Africa is the natural habitat of donkeys.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on do donkeys need their teeth floated?

2. The Age of the Donkey

An aged donkey needs more care than a young donkey.

A newly born donkey needs more care than a mature donkey.

This goes to say that the more vulnerable age makes your donkey, the more their need for care and attention.

This care and attention come by way of you providing food and shelter and medical care for your donkeys.

3. Health Status of Donkey

While a healthy donkey can withstand a lot of stress, a sick donkey would need more care.

A sick donkey would need Shelter so that it can recoup.

It is ill-advised for you to leave a sick donkey to roam about in the dark and cold; this would increase the chances of it dying.

4. The Weather Conditions

Donkeys are not really resistant to cold; they don’t have the kind of coating that horses and other animals do that helps those animals to withstand cold.

This increases the need for Shelter for your donkeys.

Especially when the weather is cold, and all the elements are wild.

You do not expect a donkey to live outside in Alaska, do you? or a donkey to stay in the snow throughout winter.

So weather conditions matter a lot when it comes to the need for Shelter for donkeys.

5. The Breed of the Donkey

Some breeds of donkeys are smaller and weaker than others.

The weaker breeds like miniature donkeys do best in shelters as opposed to wild donkeys and mammoths donkeys that could fend for themselves in the wild.

So the breed of the donkey matters in the consideration for getting them Shelter.

It is apparent that while donkeys may not need Shelter in certain conditions, their need for Shelter increases tremendously depending on certain factors like the ones we have discussed above.

So when you consider getting Shelter for your donkeys, considered the above factors.

Can donkeys tolerate cold weather?

Donkeys are not built to tolerate cold weather; they are originally from Africa, making them accustomed to warm climates.

Donkeys enjoy the warmth; they do not have the natural features to tolerate cold, which makes them highly vulnerable in cold weather.

Apart from being from Africa and the Middle Eastern desert, donkeys naturally do not have thick or insulated coats that could shield them from cold.

Some animals like horses and bears have this, but the coats of donkeys are very thin.

While horses change their coat for winter, donkeys do not; donkeys maintain their coats all around the year.

If you have originally thought that donkeys can withstand a lot of cold because of how strong and resilient they are, you were wrongly informed.

Leaving your donkeys in the cold would be detrimental to them.

Also here is an article I wrote on donkeys and feeding them corn

Do donkeys need Shelter from the rain?

Donkeys are not accustomed to wet and cold climates, and their coats are not waterproof.

Their coat does not shield them from cold and water like that some animals do, so they need shelter from the rain.

If you do not provide Shelter for donkeys from the rain, they will get wet and cold, and this could lead to a lot of health issues.

The shelter needs of donkeys vary depending on weather conditions, but when it is rainy, donkeys usually seek out Shelter.

 We advise that you provide Shelter for your donkeys if you live in a rainy climate.

Are trees enough Shelter for donkeys?

If you live in the desert, or drier climates like Africa, then trees could be enough Shelter for your donkeys through a significant part of the year. 

If you live in the UK, the United States, Europe, then trees are not enough Shelter for donkeys.

Trees cannot provide enough shelter from the cold of winter, from the snow and the frost.

Trees are not enough Shelter from rain.

If you depend on trees solely as Shelter for your donkeys, you would be doing yourself and donkeys a disservice.

It is advised that you provide a proper Shelter for your donkeys throughout the year and let them use it according to their needs.

How much room do donkeys need?

The ideal room or space that donkey needs in the Shelter is 40 square feet per donkey.

This would be ample space for the donkeys to roam within the indoor Shelter. Anything less than this may be confining and restricting to your donkeys.

What kind of Shelter do miniature donkeys need?

Miniature donkeys don’t need as big a shelter as normal size donkeys do.

They are mostly pets, and they are small, so they don’t need much space as normal-sized donkeys.

A mini barn would do; it does not need to be as high as that of normal-sized donkeys.

If you live in warmer climates, then a three-sided shelter would do; however, make sure the opening faces the South.

As you provide Shelter for your miniature donkeys, do not expect them to remain indoors forever, you should provide arrange for them to walk and exercise.

Is it cruel to keep a donkey in a stable?

It is not cruel to keep a donkey in a stable, as long as the stable is big enough and gives them enough space to stay.

A stable is not a bad choice of Shelter for donkeys; just be sure to give them the required space within this stable.

Donkeys are naturally not animals to be kept in stables like horses, but a stable is not a bad choice as long as it shelters them from danger, bad weather, and you provide the other things they need.

Is it safe to leave donkeys out at night?

Leaving donkeys out at night Might not be safe, depending on where you live.

You might be exposing them to severe weather conditions and predators.

This is certainly not safe for your donkeys, although if you live in a safe environment and the climate is warm, you could leave your donkeys outside at night within a fenced area.

Leaving them out during summer in a place that does not have natural predators of donkeys is not bad.

We, however, advise that you try to keep your donkeys as safe as possible, even if it involves bringing them into the barn every night.


At this point, you would understand the need for Shelter for donkeys; even if they don’t use the Shelter much, it is good for you to provide Shelter for your donkeys, let it be their choice to use or not to use it, just provide it.

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About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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