Activities with donkeys

Information about the approved activities that may be carried out using donkeys in schools.

Donkeys – introduction to activities

As required by the Animal Research Act, the Schools Animal Care and Ethics Committee have prepared a list of approved activities. These activities are those that may need to be carried out in the school setting and have been deemed appropriate, when carried out by a person with the appropriate skill and experience and educationally justified.

The activities have been organised into categories 1-5. The category reflects the potential impact on the animal and requires a greater justification and expertise of those carrying out the activity. Visit Categories of activities for further explanation.

Taking measurements from donkeys.

Donkeys – non-invasive measurement

Approved activities Category
1. Body weight 2
2. Body condition – visual assessment 2
3. Growth 2
4. Body proportions 2
5. Pulse or bloodflow 2
6. Respiration 2
7. Temperature 2

All of these procedures should be able to be carried out with the donkey held or tied up with a headstall and lead rope. The use of a crush or twitch should not be necessary. Choose a donkey that is accustomed to these procedures and has a quiet disposition. Measurement can be made before and after exercise.

In order to weigh donkeys, they will need to be walked onto scales by a handler. Some vet clinics have scales combined with a crush to easily weigh donkeys. Depending on the size of the donkey, sheep or cattle scales may be used to weigh individual donkeys.

  • Monitor growth rates
  • Calculate medication dosage
  • Accurately assess nutrition requirements
  • Provide data for analysis and planning.

Collecting samples from livestock.

Donkeys – collection of samples

Approved activities Category
1. Wool/hair 2
2. Faeces and urine (non-invasive) 2
3. Faeces (invasive) 3
4. Measurement of body temperature (invasive) 3

Collection of faeces and urine will require minimal restraint of the donkey. Blood samples must only be taken by a veterinarian.

Donkey husbandry practices

Donkeys – husbandry

Schools that keep donkeys must be assigned a PIC. The school must record the identity of the donkeys kept at the school and the movements to and from this PIC with dates.

Approved activities Category
Hoof trimming: cattle, horses and donkeys 3

Routine husbandry activities for donkeys that may be carried out by school staff and students include:

  • Internal parasite control
  • External parasite control
  • Vaccination
  • Hoof trimming
  • Clipping.

Information about internal and external parasite control and vaccination for donkeys can be found in the disease prevention section.


From 1 September 2012, anyone who keeps livestock in NSW is required to obtain a PIC for the land on which the livestock are kept. This includes all donkeys within NSW. A property identification code or PIC is a unique identifier for land used for keeping livestock. PICs are assigned to individual properties and allocated by Livestock Health and Pest Authorities (LHPA). Schools that keep donkeys will need to be assigned a PIC.

Property Identification Codes

Individual donkeys may be identified by branding or microchipping.

Microchips must be administered by a veterinarian and can be carried out at any time of the donkey’s life.

Hoof trimming

All donkeys require regular hoof trimming. The interval between trimming will depend on the season, the feed intake, local weather conditions and the individual donkey’s age, health and confirmation.

Donkeys with access to higher nutrient pasture or supplementary feeds will have faster growing hooves. Seasonal change can also influence hoof growth as pastures become more nutritious during spring months. Donkeys kept on soft ground will also need more regular trimming in comparison to donkeys on harder ground as their feet will naturally be worn away. Donkeys with poor confirmation or have been neglected previously, may need more regular trimming and care.

Humane treatment of sick, diseased and injured animals.

Donkeys – euthanasia

Approved activities Category
Slaughter/euthanasia of stock 5

Where an animal has become so sick, diseased or injured that recovery is unlikely or undesirable on humane grounds, euthanasia must be arranged with a local veterinarian.

Humane killing of animals must not be demonstrated to, or carried out by, students unless it is required:

  • To achieve a curriculum outcome or competency, or
  • As part of veterinary clinical management of an animal, under the direction of a veterinarian.

Students are permitted to watch a post-mortem of a euthanised animal provided there is no disease risk posed.


Donkeys may be sold privately, at auction or consigned to an abattoir.

Carcases must be disposed of in accordance with local council regulations.

Keeping clear and accurate records.

Donkeys – record keeping

Teachers who use animals must keep clear and accurate records of:

  • The number of donkeys owned or kept at the school
  • Identification of individual donkeys (names, brands, microchip number or identifiable features)
  • The dates and sources of acquisition of each animal
  • Disposal details and dates for each animal
  • Complete breeding records
  • The dates and types of husbandry practices carried out
  • The name, dosage, batch number, expiry date, withholding period and dates of any chemicals administered
  • Any significant occurrences that adversely affect the welfare of donkeys held at the school, such as vandalism, dog attack, outbreak of disease.

The type and format of the records maintained will vary from school to school and be dependent on the number of animals kept, number of staff involved in maintaining the records and the layout and location of the school farm.

The minimum requirement is a daily diary that is accessible to all staff that are involved in the care and use of the animals.

Where there are several staff members involved in the care of animals it is essential that there is a mechanism for each staff member to document notes about the general health status of school animals and that these notes are available to all other staff members who may be involved in animal care.

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