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If You're Happy And You Know It . . .

Updated: Jan 21, 2022

By Kelly Rogers, Operations Manager

How do you know when a donkey is happy? Learn some of the telltale signs.

  • When a donkey is very happy and relaxed, their bottom lip will droop, as seen above with Timothy. The muscles in their bottom lip relax so much they have little control of movement and the lip will hang loose.

  • Donkeys use their ears to communicate, and paying attention to where they are holding their ears can tell you a lot about what your donkey is thinking. Ears to the side is another sign of happiness. This ear position often means they are content and comfortable with the environment around them.

  • Happy donkeys will also hold their head low or in line with their body. They may even rest their head on a person or an object if they are in a deep state of relaxation.

These behaviors can be seen in other equines and mean the same thing: you have a very happy animal!

How can you do this with your own donkey? In the video above, Timothy is getting his ears rubbed. Donkeys have very sensitive ears and often enjoy having them scratched. It takes a lot of trust for a donkey to be comfortable with someone touching their ears, as a tug or hard scratch can be very painful for them. Once they trust their handlers enough, they will allow more sensitive areas to be touched. An itch in the ear can be annoying and a good scratch can solve the problem!


You can sponsor Timothy or Charles the mini donkey for $100/month. Your sponsorship covers the costs associated with food and supplements, basic preventative care, grooming, enrichment, and provides budget relief that allows us to continue rescuing animals in need.


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