Donkeys are cousins to horses, also being from the equine family. They have been domesticated and used as working animals for over 5000 years, and they are popular all over the world, not especially in places such as Asia, where they are used for drought purposes.
Male donkeys are often called jacks, with a female donkey being called a jenny, and their behavior and appearance are very similar to small horses!
Something unique about donkeys, however, is the sound they make. The sound of a donkey braying is instantly recognizable, as donkeys have a unique vocalization that is hard to confuse with that of other animals.
They use their braying as a form of communication, with one another and with everyone else around them. It is also quite loud!
Although it’s fun to hear at first, if you spend large amounts of time nearby you might soon begin to get tired of it, and you might want to figure out a way to get your donkey to bray a little less often, for peace’s sake. But how do you do this? And why do donkeys bray in the first place?
We can answer these questions and more, so let’s get into it!
What Does The Bray Of A Donkey Sound Like?
First of all, just in case you’ve never actually heard a donkey braying before, we thought we’d explain exactly what it sounds like!
So, as we already briefly mentioned, donkeys bray as a way to communicate in many different situations, and for many different reasons. And it sounds like a sort of “hee-haw”. A “hee” with air intake, and a “haw” with air outflow, to be precise!
However, the hee-haw of a donkey doesn’t always sound the same, and the frequency can actually vary! It depends on the urgency, and what the donkey is trying to communicate, as well as the unique style of the braying of each individual donkey.
It is also worth mentioning, that as a general rule, it is usually the male donkeys that bray the most!
Why Do Donkeys Bray?
As a broad answer, the reason why donkeys bray is to communicate. It is their primary way of expressing themselves, to other donkeys, and any other animals or people around them. In fact, donkeys can often identify each other through the unique sound of their braying!
However, there are many different reasons, within wanting to communicate, for which donkeys bray. There are essentially infinite situations and circumstances in which a donkey will feel the need to bray, just as we would have the need to express ourselves through talking.
Nevertheless, just so that you are able to narrow down the reason for which your donkey is braying, we will explain the three main purposes of donkey braying:
To Communicate With Other Animals (Mainly Other Donkeys)
All animals have the need to communicate, and they do so in different ways. Donkeys, mainly do it through braying.
When they bray as a form of communication with other animals around them (especially other donkeys), it can be for all sorts of reasons. It could be to call them over, to show love or affection, to indicate that there is food or water available, as a warning to basically say “leave me alone”, or many more!
A donkey’s bray is essentially an audible indicator of its behavior, and of mood. If you begin to listen closely, you might end up being able to interpret what your donkey is trying to say!
Because Of A Stressful Situation
Donkeys are known for being incredibly tough, able to work in harsh conditions for long periods of time, and therefore being incredibly useful. In Asian countries especially, donkeys are used to work the draught, oftentimes with long work hours, in harsh conditions, and with minimal feeding!
Sometimes, these conditions can lead the donkey to feel very stressed, and stress can make them bray. It’s sort of like they are screaming out that they are fed up, you know?
However, it’s not just working that can make a donkey bray out of stress. Things such as accidents, injuries, illness, or discomfort, will also cause this type of braying!
As A Way To Alarm Of Something Being Wrong
Sometimes, when a donkey brays, it is because they are trying to alarm their owner of something. Usually, this will be a far more urgent bray, that will sound different from their usual communicating brays.
This usually happens in emergency situations, when they feel threatened or unsafe.
This is actually also why donkeys are often used as guard animals because they will instantly bray in alarm if they feel threatened, or if something is threatening the rest of the animals in the stable or farm.
And with how loud this braying is, you’d be bound to hear it, and would therefore be able to react in time!
3 Ways To Stop Your Donkey From Braying
If you are planning on having a donkey as a pet, then loud braying will likely be unwelcome, as it can be pretty disrupting.
Some donkeys are more vocal than others, so if you are able to choose a donkey, choose one that doesn’t bray as much. Otherwise, you will have to take different measures depending on the reason why your donkey brays the most.
Here are 3 ways in which you can stop your donkey from braying as much, but keep in mind that you first have to check the cause of the braying, in order to implement the right type of solution!
- Make sure your donkey isn’t lonely! Quite often, if a donkey feels lonely, they will bray loudly in order to call out to other animals or friends. They are highly social animals and require to have company. So making sure your donkey has other animals around will massively reduce braying. Or at the very least, make an effort to spend more time with your donkey, and this should also help reduce the braying.
- Make sure your donkey is fed at the same time every day, and that their environment is safe and comfortable. If something feels off, donkeys very quickly get alarmed and start braying. And yup, this also happens if you bring food slightly later than normal, they can be a bit dramatic and will instantly think something is wrong and that food isn’t coming! So stick to a time schedule, and make sure your donkey has nothing to be alarmed about!
- It’s a good idea to install motion sensor lights or similar so that your donkey is aware of any predators or animals in the dark before they appear out of nowhere. This way your donkey won’t feel as threatened, and won’t start braying in the middle of the night!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Female Donkeys Bray?
Yes, they do! Although males bray a lot louder and more often, females also bray for all of the same reasons.
Do Donkeys Bray When They Are Happy?
Yes! Donkeys can bray for all sorts of reasons, such as expressing their emotions and moods, which can include happiness!
In conclusion, donkeys bray as a form of communication, as well as when they are feeling stressed or threatened. In order to stop them from braying as much, make sure they are comfortable, with a set routine and schedule, and that they are not feeling lonely!