Can a mini donkey injure a livestock guardian dog?

MaryZoe

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We have two mini donkeys--a jennet and her foal. We also have two young goats and lots of chickens. When we first got our donkeys, they did not like the goats. The mother bit one of the goats (not hard enough to do damage, but it gave a clear message). However, now, less than a month later, the donkeys are fine with the goats. The goats have even jumped on the momma donkey's back with no response other than a wondering look toward me. Sp at the moment the donkeys get along fine with our chickens and our goats.

Recently we purchased a LGD puppy to protect our goats (and chickens). It's an Anatolian Shepherd, so it will eventually be quite large--almost as large as the donkeys. The first day the donkeys saw her they bolted and expressed a good deal of fear. Since then we've slowly tried to acclimatize them. The donkey have never kicked anything or anyone since we've had them (though we're new to all of this--started acquiring our goats and donkeys early this year and got the dog within the week). Now, after only about a week of working with the dog and donkeys every afternoon, the donkeys are not nearly as fearful. The dog and donkeys have touched noses through the fence and even without a fence when my husband had the puppy on a leash and the donkeys were out to "pasture" (our backyard).

Until the dog is larger and closer to her full grown stature I probably won't trust the donkeys with her (even though they've calmed down). But my question is whether I can EVER trust the donkeys and the dog in the same 1.5-2 acre space. A lot of it is wooded--it's not all pasture by any means.

I have never seen my donkeys kick, but I have seen them bite. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Thanks in advance!
 

Mike CHS

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I don't know how big your mini is but a donkey is easily capable of killing a dog.

I would at a minimum be careful and keep the interaction controlled for awhile anyway.
 

farmerjan

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Since donkeys are often used as guardian animals, and they have an inbred dislike (hatred) of most canines, I would be very hesitant to leave them together un monitored. We ran donkeys, not mini's, with our sheep as guardians, and had one gelded male that would kill the lambs on the ewes. He was fine with the yearlings, just hated the little lambs. Gone after nearly 20 years. We keep a pair of females with the yearling and 2 yr old rams now, and llamas with the ewes and lambs.
 

MaryZoe

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Yes, we monitor all the interactions between the minis and the puppy. I praise and reward the donkeys every time they show patience with the puppy. I hope they'll eventually associate the dog with rewards. They have shown a turn-around in their attitudes toward the goats, so I have hope for the puppy. Though I know I'm working against instinct in that case, so it will be harder. I just feel certain that there must be plenty of cases in which dogs and mini donkeys get along fine. It seems like I hear more about the horror stories. Yes, I realize there may be a reason for that. :/ Aargh.
 

Cloverleaf Farm

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Yes, a well placed kick to the head, even when your pup is grown, can kill it, or easily give you an extremely expensive vet bill. I've been a vet tech for almost 20 years, and after 11 years in emergency, I have no idea how many comatose / dead dogs I've seen that got too close to hooved critters....
 

Irisshiller

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Hi, just wanted to add that it can be fine as well... My jenny seems to actively like dogs. Some dogs react aggressively to her, barking at her heels, but she just looks at them. She has never kicked one. She is also very gentle with my poultry and other small animals. I thonk she has probably been raised with dogs but she is a foundling so I don't know! I hope your dog and donkeys will learn to get on well! X
 

MaryZoe

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Thank you. I agree! Actually the donkeys have become amazingly tolerant of the puppy. The almost-yearling, in particular, seems to somewhat enjoy some puppy play. She plays with my goats as well. Now if we could just get the puppy to stop chasing the chickens! Bit that's for a separate post!
 

farmerjan

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It sounds like that you are getting the donkeys and dog acclimated to each other rather well. If the donkeys and dog both accept that the other is supposed to be there, then they may do amazingly well together. Since you are teaching the dog that the donkeys, and goats are not to be chased, they will not see him as a threat. And if the donkey and puppy actually become play buddies, then they will not see the dog as a threat. The biggest worry would be that the donkey would kick in play and hurt the puppy without meaning to. But you can only do so much and if they believe that the other is part of the herd, then you will have to trust that the play will not be too rough.
Again, we didn't have mini's, but our full size donkeys would go after any dog in the field; But we got them as adults, for the purpose of protection, and don't know what experiences they had prior.
They did good as protection though.
 

Irisshiller

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Oh I'm very pleased to hear that it is going well!! I think it all depends on the individual donkey and dog. I am thinking of getting some goats so I really wonder what my jenny will think of that :)
 

Red the butcher

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I dont understand why one would get a guardian dog when they already have a donkey? Either way i grew up on a horse farm and even though the horses didnt mind the dogs we still had a few get killed by horses. So no matter what you do it's always a possibility.
 

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