Guard Donkeys Protect the Herd

Guard donkeys protects the livestock by kicking anything harassing an animal since donkeys do not like intruders in their space, they make a perfect guard for the herd.


| March/April 2007



DonkeyCows

Jack takes his duties seriously.

PHOTO: S. TULLOCK

Protecting livestock is easy when you have guard donkeys in place. 

Buena Vista, North Carolina — Have you ever seen a cow smile? If you do see a herd of cattle with big goofy grins, it's probably not because of the growing number of vegetarians. The cows might be happy because of a chief security officer whose obnoxious braying can raise the roof off a barn — guard donkeys are at work.

Take, for instance, Jack, the 8-month-old guard donkey who protects the herd on a 200-acre farm near Buena Vista. Sure, he looks like a sweet pet, but here's the kicker — he will punt over the moon any animal that is harassing one of the cows.

Guard donkeys have a reputation that stretches back to Biblical days. But many modern farmers only recently have become aware of the donkey's usefulness in protecting their herds and flocks from predators. For Kim McPherson, coordinator of The Children’s Home farm, selecting this particular guard animal wasn't a matter of choice. "Jack was donated by another farmer," she says, "and he guards the herd like any head of the household."

Guard donkeys keep a vigilant eye, whether standing watch between the shady places among trees or showing themselves full-bodied, ready for a challenge. "And with harsh winters and a constant increasing herd size, the need for better protection becomes evident," says McPherson. "That's when the herd needs donkey patrol."

Donkeys don't like intruders in their space and are capable of severely discouraging any predators.

funny farmer
1/21/2009 6:20:59 PM

i have two mini donkeys with my small herd of seven mini goats. these two boys are GREAT protectors and work as a team....one will watch whatever they are seeing as a threat, the other quickly herds the goats into a small group and watches them, his back to the donk on watch; when the threat is gone, the two guys slap their necks together as in a 'high five'! there are coyotes nearby and the donkeys give me a measure of security. they also quietly and unobtrusively position themselves between the goats and visitors, and between the goats,fence, and my dogs. there is no way i would ever put one of my dogs into the pasture with the donkeys. i have seen them chase even my cat from the paddock. my two guys are three and a half year old gelding half brothers who have lived with goats since they were six months old. both are very people friendly, have great ground manners, and never bite or kick or threaten people in any way. they are healthy and withstand both heat and cold very well; and they are easy keepers needing some hay, minimal grain, and the pasture, which here is not so nourishing. and the bray?? it is loud and funny...and i hear it when they think i should be out there offering some kind of treat/food. i have been known to creep below the level of my kitchen window so as not to be spied by them as they look for me from the paddock....and then brayed at.






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