It is believed that the Poitou donkey breed occurred in France, Poitou region.
The Poitou donkeys in the „Rakši” were imported from France in March 2018.
It is one of the largest domestic donkey varieties, which, due to their large size, was chosen to obtain working mules by crossing them with horses. Nowadays, when agricultural machines are used instead of donkeys and mules, Poitou donkeys are preserved mostly as an interesting and beautiful historic breed. In 1977, only 44 representatives of this breed were identified all over the world, therefore, measures for conservation of the breed were launched, until 2005 there were already almost 500 Poitou donkeys. Today there are still less than 1000 specimens in the world.
Poitou donkeys from other donkey breeds distinguish their long, shaggy-haired coat and large size. Males are up to 152 cm high in the shoulders, while females are 135 cm high. They weigh up to 540 kg. Among other European donkeys only the Andalucian donkey reaches a similar size. Poitou donkey’s tall, wildly shaggy fur coats, called a cadanette, formerly had a very great value. The longer the wool, the more valuable the animal was. Even today it has quite a great value, but many breeders shear their donkeys for hygiene reasons.
Poitou donkey fur colour varies from dark brown to nearly black. They have a white underbelly, muzzle and rings around the eyes. They have large head, strong neck, long back, short croup and round haunches. The legs are strong with large joints and feet. Donkeys feed on grasses and hay.
Poitou donkey female gestation period is of 11 to 14 months, and only one foal is born. Twins are a rarity. Poitou donkey’s lifespan is about 35 years.
They have a very friendly and docile nature.