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Trekking with a donkey

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I've just seen a documentary in which a guy trekks through some rugged terrain while he has his cargo on a donkey. It's a pretty cool and versatile animal overall.

What are some pros and cons of trekking with a donkey? The obvious disadvantage is having to keep a donkey (unless you can rent one some places) but are there any other? E.g. can they eat brush along the way or would you need to bring food for it?

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This post was sourced from https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/q/21209. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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Trekking with a pack animal is not something to be undertaken lightly. If it is private property the land owner will define requirements and likely provide the animal, usually with a guide/handler.

If it is public property, there are rules that very drastically by location. But in general.

Unlike human visitors, Equines (horses, mules, donkeys, and burros) must have their feet cleaned and be on a special diet several days prior to venturing on to the trails.

Feed: Clean trailers, hooves, coat, mane, and tails prior to entering the park. Feed stock weed-free forage or processed feed a few days before the trip. To prevent introducing non-native plants in the park, use only certified weed-free forage— hay, straw, and mulch. Proof of certification tags required. Forage may not be taken beyond trailheads. Use pelletized feed, hay cubes, and grain products in the backcountry. Do not leave feed on the ground; use a feedbag or tarp. Pack out unused feed. Grazing not permitted. Source

Additionally Equines are only allowed on specific trails.

Where an animal must carry its own food, it quickly becomes problematic for length of adventure. Depending on the animal and the terrain, a pack animal who is only carrying their own food, will have a max range of 5 to 10 days.

Related What is the feed limit for various pack animals?

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This post was sourced from https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/a/21210. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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Donkeys are not cars or bicycles. They have minds of their own, and they are considerably stronger than you. If you are going to use a donkey for trekking, you had better know enough about managing them so that you know what to do when they stop dead in the trail and refuse to proceed. Or, when they find a convenient tree and proceed to scrape off all their pack bags.

On a dark note, pack animals are subject to the same accidents on the trail that people are, but nobody is going to provide a helicopter to rescue one and take it to a vet hospital. Everyone I know who travels the backcountry with a pack animal (donkeys included) carries a firearm with them, and is mentally prepared to euthanize the animal and bury it, should the need arise.

Donkeys will find browse along the trail, but for this reason they are prohibited from some areas because they are hard on the local plant life. In general you will need to provide at least supplementary fodder.

You can definitely go trekking with a donkey, but you really need to spend some time apprenticing with someone who already knows about their care and management in the backcountry. Consider working with a llama instead of donkey. You'll still need training, but I've been told by outfitters that they are much more tractable than donkeys, and don't have as much of an impact on the local vegetation.

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This post was sourced from https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/a/21214. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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