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Aggressive donkey behavior

Discussion in 'Behaviors & Handling Techniques - Horses, Mules, a' started by Dar, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. Feb 1, 2017
    Dar

    Dar Exploring the pasture

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    We welcomed 2 mini donkey geldings ( 3 & 4 years old) this past Sat. Nice boys at first and now things have gone south.
    One of them, the one who seemed to be low man in the pecking order of the two has started trying to bite.
    We're not new to donkeys but this is a new issue for us.
    First, I noticed he seems to have a bit of difficulty eating his hay. On Monday I picked up a bag of 12% protein pelleted horse feed. I always fed this to my other donkeys. 1/4 cup, 2 X a day.
    I noticed that he loses feed when he's eating. Just like a horse would do when they need their teeth floated. (I've made an appt. with an equine dentist). Possibly its an issue with baby teeth but I'll find out.
    This was also the day the biting started. My husband was reaching over the fence scratching his butt when he swung around, ears pinned and tried to bite.
    Since then the behavior has gotten worse each day with him actually coming after me tonight when I walked in the barn with their hay.
    Now I'm just sick with stress and worry about what I'm in for tomorrow morning. I won't hesitate to give him a good crack and go psycho on him but I'm going to hate doing it. Plus, will I scare the other one who isn't a problem?
    Could tooth problems be making him crabby? Should I stop the feed?
     
  2. Feb 1, 2017
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Moderator

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  3. Feb 2, 2017
    norseofcourse

    norseofcourse True BYH Addict Golden Herd Member

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    Sorry about the biting, if it does have to do with his teeth it's good you're getting a dentist out soon. Does he bite at the other donkey or just people?

    Can you call the previous owner and ask if he'd ever done anything like this before, or if it's a new behavior? And what might they suggest?
     
  4. Feb 2, 2017
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses Loving the herd life

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    As you know, MOST donkeys are not people aggressive. But, can be. Generally if there was a bad issue early in their life. You definitely need to ask previous owners about the usual personality of this animal -- any bad experiences that might cause this. Next, is their new situation a great deal different than before, i.e. now stalled, before run-in, fed in large group & food fights, is the one with him his buddy or not, etc....what is the change. One question, you say both are gelded -- any chance he had one retained??

    If he is dropping food, sure sounds like "mouth" issues....could be teeth, or something in there -- burrs, etc. And while a lot of pain can cause reactions, it is normally in the area of the hurting if touched there and not the other end.

    Attacking is not acceptable. But correction needs to be done with an understanding of "why". Donkeys are VERY strong for their size. They are quite accurate with their kick & stomp. So you want to be slow & careful.

    Only donkey I ever had with any aggression was during breeding season and he wouldn't attack, just would NOT handle with his normally good ground manners, if a jennet was cycling. In fact, one jennet he just did not like and tried to kill her....only the one. Odd. It was as if she was a he & he was running her off from his herd. Had raised him from weaning, so no reason, other than really rough during breeding season, he was great. :idunno Gelded.
     
    SFogg likes this.
  5. Feb 2, 2017
    Kusanar

    Kusanar Ridin' The Range

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    Ok, I think you have a pecking order problem. No equid wants to be low man on the pole, very few want to be the leader, they are usually happy in the middle of the pack.

    This guy may have been middle of the pack, and his buddy was a leader or at least higher than this one before you got them, but, it is pretty clear from him going after you, that he wants to be above YOU in the pecking order.

    You CANNOT let this happen.

    Is he halter broke? If so, keep a halter on him for a while, he's dangerous so treat him as such. In a herd, the one that moves their feet first loses. If you watch 2 horses standing around and they both flatten their ears, one will step away, that one is now lower in rank than the one that didn't move.

    Don't allow him to move you if at all possible. If it's life or death, then sure, run, but if not, try to stand your ground.

    Carry a crop with you, don't make a big deal about it, just hold it in your hand, if he swings around to bite, casually swing your arm and let his face run into the crop... hard... don't react, you didn't notice he bumped into you, just continue what you were doing, donkeys are smart, it shouldn't take him long to figure out that somehow, every time he tries to bite you, he runs his face into something that hurts.

    If you can round pen him, that would also help as you are making him move his feet, but you need to be prepared to stand your ground if he comes after you in there, if you run, it will make it worse.

    Donkeys have a lot of fight to their fight or flight, horses will always run first, fight if they have to, but donkeys will half the time fight rather than run even if they have a chance to leave..

    Please give us more details. I think he may have some tooth issues due to his dropping grain and having trouble with hay, and that could make him grumpy, but he shouldn't be biting with a sore mouth if you aren't anywhere near the sore part, that's just disrespect and meanness.
     
    SFogg likes this.
  6. Feb 2, 2017
    samssimonsays

    samssimonsays Milo & Me Hoppy Tail Acres

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    I am going to watch this as I would like to learn more about donkeys.
     
  7. Feb 2, 2017
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    I was going to suggest a round pen also. If you have a lunge whip, they have a long shaft, tie a plastic grocery bag to it and use that to make him move his feet.If you don't have a lunge whip, maybe a cane pole or broom stick. (not to hit with, but to shake that scary bag LOL) if he continues to attack you, he might just be mean. Hopefully, getting his teeth floated will help.

    Donkeys are brilliant smart. You can actually see their mind working. You have to show them why to do or not to do something.

    I bought a jack with curled up hooves. It took 2 years to get his feet straight again, but in the meantime, hoof trimming was all out rodeo time. Both the farrier and I got kicked, multiple times, once as I was holding the halter, the jack went into whirling dervish mode, slinging me around in circles because I couldn't get my fingers out of the halter. He finally slung me loose and trotted off. I never stuck my fingers inside a halter again. It took quite a few sessions of jack donkey war on farriers before he figured out that if he just put up with it, it was over with quicker. After that, when he saw the farrier, he just stood still and let me halter him and he stood for the farrier.
     
  8. Feb 16, 2017
    sonorabitandspur

    sonorabitandspur Ridin' The Range

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    For working a youngster I like a buggy whip without the popper. The loop where the popper goes is great for attaching a plastic grocery sack. I run the handle though the loop and then pass the entire sack through the handle securing it to the end of the whip. Grocery sacks make noise and float nice with the air movement. On some animals this may be too much stimulation. Try to pick a quiet day as far as breeze the first time.
    Start out rubbing the sack on them. (In cases where aggression is not the problem, the whip may be too much and if it is safe to do so I will hold the bag in my hand and rub on the shoulder, neck, wither and back) find they are usually most accepting in the shoulder area first and then move to belly, legs and finally the rump.
    Here is where I might differ from alot of others, aggressive behavior needs to be met with the same response. One swat, not more, only as much as it takes to get them to move away. (In harder cases sometime several very rapid swats might be required, but that is not normally needed) If raising the whip like you are going to give a swat makes them move then don't actually follow through with the swat. I know some would think this is cruel, but a mule, donkey, pony, or horse can do tremendous damage to you even if they are not very big. I have seen people with row upon row of stiched from a small pony biting them. You cannot afford to let them continue thinking they can do this. If you need to get someone to help if you are uncomfortable with this. Another point here is alot of horses, donkeys, mules and ponies will notice when you are not carrying the whip and some will try you again. I have carried several small rocks in my pocket for such instance's. If they move in aggressively, I throw a rock (yes I do hit them with the rock) and keep it up until they move off. I had a gelding that I kept at a friend's house. My friend's gelding got to where when I came to take my horse out, he'd meet me and try to kick me and prevent me from taking his buddy, my horse, away. The rock thing is what I used to assert my dominance. Doing this just twice solved the problem as then I became the top of the herd. You'll know when you're on top when you go to the gate everyone watches and when you approach head on they will give or turn their shoulder to you. They may continue to turn their head toward you to smell/watch you, or turn their head away. (Watch the head turned away some times that can be a prelude to a kick. Normally the ears and expression will tell you. A relaxed horse who does this is not a threat.) This approach and turning the shoulder is a proper polite greeting among horses.
     
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