What Does It Mean When A Donkey Brays?

We moved to our new farm (Donkey Whisperer Farm ®) in the early spring of 2014, with this big change came five new equine; Roy a mini donkey age four, Maximus a black mini age two, Miss Trophy a stunning black mare age six, Oboe and Tuba rescues standard/burro size donkeys in their teens. Select Donkey Whisperer Farm to see photos of each of our eight equine. Each of our equine are part of our family and in their forever homes.

First and most importantly understanding the personality of our donkey is imperative to learning donkey communication and behavior traits.  Rio our Mammoth donkey is an introvert he has never ever let out a complete bray and he is thirteen years old, he has been in our life since he was nine months old. Tuba, Oboe, Rocket Man, Maximus, and Roy are all extroverts.  Miss Lily, Miss Trophy are extroverted mares our horses. Meaning they like to let out a low nicker (horses) and (donkeys) bray a little to say hello when I step into the barn 🙂

Donkeys Braying Singing or Distress “Crying For Help”

When I first started reading about donkeys people would say my donkey sings when talking about the donkey braying.  Donkeys can sing and donkeys can bray a distress bray.  I respectfully disagree that braying is all the same as it is not.   Just like dogs can sing along with their human and dogs can bark when stressed so can donkeys.    I do think a high-pitched sound like the violin can make a donkey bray and this is singing, similar to a dog who will sing along when we encourage them with high notes.  The donkey has amazing hearing.  I think when the donkey hears another donkey braying with the distress bray they understand the distress sound as it is their language.

Please don’t think a donkey that brays all the time is normal maybe something needs to be corrected to keep the donkey relaxed and calm.

Kinda like a dog that keeps barking in the neighborhood this is not normal for a dog to keep barking and barking frantically.  Most dogs bark when something stresses them out, they are tied and distressed, they hear something or like mine when I come home to greet me.  Some animals are more vocal than other animals just like people have personalities I believe animals have personalities!  Some animals are more vocal and extroverted and some are more introverted and quiet.

When I step out into the barn all the Extroverts say good morning and then they stop, it is brief and very inviting.  We have one introverted donkey out of six on the farm. Mr. Rio our Mammoth donkey.  Rio stands back and waits patiently at the door for his morning kiss. Some mornings he kicks the door. Introverted donkeys communicate different than extroverted donkeys. I clean the gunk out of all the donkeys eyes, scan for any sores as donkeys play rough.

Here is a video of a donkey hearing a violin sound and responding with a bray notice the bray is not the stressed bray.

Select video of donkeys Morning Bray Farm listening to a donkey braying sounds like a distress to me and several of the donkeys act stressed and bray stressed.

Our new Donkeys Oboe and Roy do a small bray each morning to say hello, I say I’m coming good morning that’s enough and they stop. 🙂

Please remember if your donkey is braying all of the time the distress bray something is wrong, it is important to learn the difference between a sing and a distress bray.

“Bringing Your Donkey Home” Free Educational Video

GOD bless you and your family two and four-legged!




37 thoughts on “What Does It Mean When A Donkey Brays?

  1. I love donkeys! I have loved them from the day one of my clients brought a donkey to the stable and asked for help in training the donkey to ride dressage. I discovered then how intelligent, sweet, kind and protective they are of their people and property. You are so lucky!


  2. The donkeys in the sanctuary I worked on in Aruba would bray if I didn’t have their food out by 3pm for the afternoon feed. They were a little fat but happy and healthy. They do have such different personalities though and some preferred human company over donkeys. They could be very jealous if another was getting attention. They would bond with me and lay their heads on my shoulder. A lot of braying would start if one donkey was putting the moves on a female. I assume that’s a bray of excitement. Occasionally an unfortunate wild goat would get in and that’s when they roar! Very territorial and vicious when they want to be, but generally very sweet 🙂
    They are also sooo nosey and clever. Nothing in this world is donkey proof! Where there’s a will, there’s a donk!


    • Hi thank you for reading my blog, thank you for taking a moment to comment. Large donkey farms are indeed much louder than a small one like ours. My point is to share that not all donkey brays are the same some are a distress and some are a come feed me now. We are blessed as our donkeys hardly ever bray as their meals are always on time and they are happy, additionally no other donkeys to call out to on the farm. Nice to meet you. Melody


  3. Pingback: Donkeys | Donkey Whisperer Farm Blog

  4. Pingback: Blogger Recognition Award – 2018 – Ramblings of a Writer

  5. We have 2 Poitou donkeys here in France. Mum and daughter. They are wonderful creatures we rescued. We have sorted their feet and diet and they are in excellent condition (per vet and farrier), but they have recently stopped singing to us in the morning when we go to bring them in for their breakfast. This has coincided with a much calmer attitude and they have become much easier to handle and groom. We are assuming that the two are related…..any thoughts?


    • Hi Peter,
      Extroverted donkeys bray to say hello, intruder or when playing. Introverts never bray. Animals have personalities just like people. I would love to see your donkeys if you would like to share a photo. Thank you for the comment. Did you see I am having a contest to win a ON DONKEY TIME sign? Enter under the post leave a comment. Good luck!


  6. Pingback: Some Happy Donkeys | Big Bible Fan

Leave a Reply to Donkey Whisperer Farm, LLC Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.