Background. Mike and Carole Pivarnik established Tulip Hill Farm in 1998. Carole had fallen in love with miniature donkeys years before, after getting to know one on a farm where she lived in Middleburg. She dragged Mike into the longears love affair almost as soon as they moved to the farm–and met no resistance in doing so!
The farm is located in Castleton, Virginia in Rappahannock County. We’re small-scale breeders producing a handful of well-socialized, people-friendly foals per year. We’ve been breeding miniature donkeys since the very early 2000s. We started out with a focus on breeding spotted donkeys but in recent years have come to favor solid-colored animals, particularly red duns and dark browns.
Herd Management. Our donkeys are pasture-kept 365 days a year, with free access to run-in sheds, hay, fresh water, and salt blocks. Jacks are always kept with a companion. Our animals are handled regularly for hoof trims, worming, and veterinary care.
About Our Herd Sires. Our primary breeding jack is THF Sumac. He is stocky, dark brown, and 32″ tall (Jason, 30″ x Coco, 33″). In 2019, our Ginger (29″) foaled a very tiny brown jack by Sumac that we named THF Ginkgo. We kept Ginkgo as a possible future herd sire. Now about a year and a half old, he remains very small…about 30″ tall, with very refined conformation. When he is 3, we’ll introduce him to a couple of our smaller jennets and see what kind of magic happens, then decide whether to keep him once he has a couple of foals on the ground.
About Our Jennets. Our breeding herd of jennets is somewhat fluid. Each year we may retire an older or non-productive jennet or buy younger ones to replace them. We keep 8-10 breeding jennets, of which half are bred each year. We favor natural pasture breeding. To that end, the jennets to be bred each year are pastured with a jack from roughly May to September. Gestation is normally about 12 months, so this ensures that foals are born the following year when there is adequate grass for their nursing moms’ nutrition and plenty of warm days for foals to play, grow, and put on weight before cold weather sets in.
Sales. Foals are offered for sale when available, and we sometimes also offer mature jacks or jennets for sale either due to retirement from breeding or because they no longer fit with our breeding goals. Foal prices range from $500 to $1500 depending on the gender, color, and conformation of the animal. Prices for mature animals vary depending on age and other factors. Subscribe to our newsletter below for news and announcements.
Public Appearances. We do not show our animals, nor take or loan them to public events such as farm tours, fairs, or live nativity scenes. Our donkeys have one job: to produce foals. As such, they live a very peaceful, quiet life on our small, private farm. We therefore prefer not to subject them to situations that might stress them out or potentially pose a health risk from other animals.