Donkey suddenly aggressive.

Heiferlover

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We have a small hobby farm which we welcomed a donkey to about a month ago. We we're told at the time we acquired the donkey that he was coming from a rescue where he had been surrendered due to his owners inability to take care of him any longer. He was not malnourished he was not known to have been abused he just had very little socialization because he had been in the pasture with cattle 24/7 365.

Since arriving he has done extremely well and warmed up to everybody in the family as well as all the animals on the farm. However suddenly last night he chased down one of our Nigerian dwarf goats pinned her to the ground and was biting and stomping her. We did not witness the beginning of the attack rather coming into it as it was taking place so precipitating factors were unknown we separated them last night and throughout the day today and everything was normal as it would be. However then this evening, we went down to the pastor to find he had one of our calves pinned to the ground was stomping her biting her neck and dragging her by the neck. Initially our teenage daughter hit him and yelled at him and he persisted in his attack at which point she ran up to grab an adult and it took two adults to separate the two.

I am at a loss as to what would cause the sudden change in behavior with him. No new animals have been introduced since his arrival nothing has changed he was fed today had plenty of water and it was actually a very cool day. Any thoughts from the more experienced in the group ?
 

farmerjan

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Unfortunately, donkeys are known to be notional. Is he an intact male? If the goat was coming into heat that will sometimes set them off. The sad thing, if he turned and did it to a calf, you are looking at a very slim chance of letting him in with the other animals again. The way they attack and protect is to bite and grab their "prey" by the neck and to stomp and shake it to kill it. This is the way they will attack dogs, coyotes, wolves, even a mountain lion has been known to get attacked from a mule/big donkey. If he is seeing the smaller animals as predators, and a threat, there is no way for you to ever trust it with anything smaller than it is. I would not even trust an animal that did that with cow-calf pairs as it might attack the calf with the cow right there... and a cow will be hard pressed to stop that sort of an attack.

Don't know the animal, but I would not keep one like that, if I valued the other animals. And there is the possibility that it could turn on you or your daughter also. He would be gone tomorrow.
We ran donkeys with the first calf heifers for years... and they were good babysitters... one was gelded, one was old and was intact but he had alot of years on him and never bothered anything. If either had gotten mean to a calf, it would have been gone. Both died of old age/natural causes.
 

caprines.n.me

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Agree and 2nd everything FJan said. I've seen it more than once. I've seen it with standard Jacks, I've seen it with miniatures. I had an acquaintance who got a gelded male that they put in the pasture to be a guardian. He did well for a couple of weeks until he felt at home there. Soon after he killed two goats and injured several more in one night. It was the last night he spent there.
 

Simpleterrier

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I had a jack that was ok with my stud horse untill I got the stud fixed and after that he would break down fences to fight him and also the other way around once the stud was gelded he would get out to fight the jack. He was a mammoth jack. Once while riding the gelding the jack joes the gate and ran up to us and bit the pommel.of the saddle pinning my leg and wouldn't let go. My paint horse my dad was riding got made and started kicking them and about bucked him off. Finally I was able to get off and dad got the paint between them and I ran the gelding to the barn and locked him up until I could get the jack put away.

Oh those were fun days
 

Simpleterrier

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Donkeys u just don't know about and alot of times they never forget. If they can be in a pen by themselves of with an animal that can handle them I enjoy having them one reason I don't have issues with coyotes is because of having a horse and donk or.mule all the time.

Second reason and main reason so it should be the first is we all know is I have an Airedale.

To answer your question I'd go ahead and get rid of that donkey. That's probably why he got rehomed. He doesn't have to have been abused to act like that some animals just have a different side. He just might be thinking he is doing what u want him to do.lile I said donkeys don't forget u guys broke up that fight and he will remember and act differently towards u.
 

Ridgetop

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Definitely get rid of the donkey.
If you got him to be a guardian to the goats/sheep he will kill them. Strangely, while donkeys and mules are often mentioned as being good guardians to livestock, they will often attack them. In addition, they can injure ewes and does by attempting to breed them when they have come into estrus OR RIGHT AFTER GIVING BIRTH when the smell s similar.

Donkeys and mules have a strong instinctive dislike of dogs which is why they are touted as good livestock guardians against coyotes. However, small donkeys are prey for cougar.

Our mule did not like lambs at first. We learned that then we turned out some ewes with very young lambs in the pasture. The ram (with whom she had a strange cross species love affair) came running and fought her off. She was shocked when he butted her away. He was a large ram and she is 16.3hh. She does like the sheep now and regards them as her flock, but we still do not allow her around the small lambs until they are about 3 months - 70lbs. + for safety. She still does not care much for dogs, although we have 3 LGDs in the pasture. I notice that the LGS give her a wide berth as they approach her.

I definitely suggest that you rehome the donkey. As @Simpleterrier said - probably why it was rehomed to start with. While there are very nice animals up for adoption, the problem is that you don't know their backgrounds. If they were mistreated, you or your animals can unwittingly trigger a memory and cause them to attack. PTSD occurs in the animal kingdom too.

We have only adopted 4 adult animals over the years. 2 were dogs - one was returned for serous behavior issues and the other stayed forever. 2 were llamas - one stayed forever, and the other was gelded and eventually given away.

The problem with adopting someone else's problems is that if you are unable to retrain them, they become bigger problems for you. I don't have time or patience for that. I would rather get the animal young and train it myself, particularly if it is a larger animal that can cause harm to my family, my livestock, or others.

Some BYHers (like Baymule) have been able to rehab problem animals and I give credit to them for their efforts and loving kindness.
 

Thefarmofdreams

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Unlike other herd animals, donkeys don't see other species as part of the herd. So they often will decide other animals don't belong in their territory anymore. Especially intact jacks. They're also VERY social, so if you just have one, he's probably lonely, even though their are other herd animals about. He doesn't see them as friends.

If you want to keep him, get him a donkey friend, put them in their own pasture, and look into clicker training. (Donkeys do better with positive reinforcement and training like they use at aquariums and zoos rather than the methods traditionally used for horses) And DEFINITELY geld if he's intact. Jacks are known for being violent.
 

Ridgetop

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Donkeys re very smart! It's the donkey in mules that makes them smarter than horses. When I rode my mule, and she balked at something, I checked it out carefully because she was often right about the safety! Haha.. Other times she might have been laughing at me . . . . :lol:
 

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