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Would mini donkeys protect goats?

Discussion in 'Birthing, Weaning, and Raising Young Horses, Mules' started by Moody, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. Jan 18, 2015
    Moody

    Moody Loving the herd life

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    Just wondering. Seems like I have read that they are not good herd protectors.

    The girl donkey did try to rip the head off the 5 month old nigerian dwarf when he stuck his head through the fence just the other day. Good thing I was here. He was crying loudly, she could have broken his neck. But I reasoned that she may have been trying to help him get out.....

    I was thinking of putting them in with the goats at night (100ft by 100ft pen) and letting them graze the large pasture during the day.
     
  2. Jan 18, 2015
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Herd Master

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    My experience with a donkey as a guardian was disastrous. He would randomly turn on the goats and chase them. He was aggressive with feed no matter how many feeders were put down. (I always put down an extra feeder so the 'underdog' had an extra feeder to pick from.) The final straw was when he picked up my Permanent Grand Champion doe and tossed her about 10 feet across the pasture and then proceeded to try and stomp her. She ran past me trying to escape him and I literally tackled, and bulldogged him to the ground, and the both of us ended up rolling across the pen. (I was much younger and faster then, lol) I sat on that ass's head for about 30 minutes before I'd let him up. He was gone the next day. It wasn't long after that when our first LGD came into our lives and I'd never be without one again.
     
    Southern by choice and luvmypets like this.
  3. Jan 18, 2015
    Moody

    Moody Loving the herd life

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    Oh my goodness. I wondered if her intentions were not good the other day when she got my little guy. But he has done that nearly everyday for the past 3 months since I got him and donkeys never cared.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!
     
  4. Jan 18, 2015
    frustratedearthmother

    frustratedearthmother Herd Master

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    It was a rodeo for sure, lol. But, he was a very spoiled bottle baby donkey so I don't know if my experience with him was unique to all donkeys. I have heard other similar stories though...
     
  5. Jan 18, 2015
    Bunnylady

    Bunnylady True BYH Addict

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    My mini-mule rules the goats with an iron hoof (and she doesn't even have shoes!) My understanding is that donkeys don't guard goats per se, they guard their pastures, and they may accept other animals as belonging there or not. Mini donkeys really aren't big enough to do any serious guarding; they might make a fox or dog uncomfortable, but they'd be just as vulnerable as the goats would be to things like coyotes and wolves.
     
  6. Jan 19, 2015
    Moody

    Moody Loving the herd life

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    We don't have wolves here, thank goodness. We do have coyotes though. They are about the size of my 35 pound dog.

    My current dogs killed my two older dogs we used to have before we got these two. I worry about any other dogs while we have these two. Also I have never had a working dog. My neighbor had lgd's (great pyranees) and told us to never pet their dogs because they would then crave human contact and not do their job. I can't not pet a dog.

    Right now I lock them in a stall at night. To keep them safe. That way if a coyote wants to break into the fenced area, he must also break into the stall. I would like to be able to leave them out but would need some night time guardian. But I would have to trust that guardian. From your stories, a donkey may not fit the job. I have a blue heeler who needs a job but she wants to nip and herd. I have a larger male mutt whose job, apparently, is to protect the blue heeler.
     
  7. Jan 19, 2015
    jodief100

    jodief100 True BYH Addict

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    Donkeys are hit or miss as guardians. They don't guard the goats, just their territory. If you have one that will allow the goats to be in his territory and not attack the goats, it works but a mini just isn't big enough. Most of the "guardian" aspect is pure intimidation.

    You can pet an LGP. We pet ours and they are great guardians. That you can't pet them is an old wives tale. They need to be raise with whatever animal you want them to guard, from a very young age. They bond with their herds and protect them because they are "family".

    Herding dogs do not make good guardians. They have the wrong instincts for the job.
     
  8. Jan 19, 2015
    Southern by choice

    Southern by choice Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    This is not just a myth but has sadly been perpetuated throughout the US. Coppinger is the one who holds to this methodology. He is a bioliogist and a philosopher... enough said.

    Truth is shepherds have, for thousands of years, had a close bond with their guardians. Through out the rest of the world the shepherds are still on the mountain sides and in the fields along side their livestock and their dogs.

    Raising the guardian with livestock from the start and not making pets out of them is important. But general love and attention as well as care is critical.

    The nonsense of no petting is why in the midwest they may now start banning LGD's from the public grazing lands. The dogs are now attacking humans hiking and biking. The idiot owner of the dogs was on tv stating just what your neighbor told you. I shook my head in disbelief. These dogs must know who their master is. Will work harder for you and you still must be able to manage your own dog.

    If you never touch or bond with your dog then how will you manage him when he is 160 lbs?

    The majority of trouble calls I get are from people having issues with their dogs... most problems stem from this "no touch" philosophy and people being told "stick them in the field" and they will know what to do. A pup with no parent stock ... how will they learn? Do they instinctively know to not chase a kid or a lamb? No.
    Their nature is as a guardian... and they do that well but the raising is important. This is also the root of the escaping digging and climbing to roam just about anywhere. When the dog has a job, loves his charges, and the family, the dog has no desire to roam. Our family is looked at as another "herd" to our dogs.
     
  9. Jan 25, 2015
    purplequeenvt

    purplequeenvt True BYH Addict

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    Donkeys are the last guardian that I would get. Sure, there are some that are excellent, but I've heard lots of horror stories.

    I personally know someone with mini donkeys that "guard" his sheep. One of the donkeys can't be with lambs. She ripped the ears off of at least one lamb. His donkeys do guard, but I wouldn't be able to deal with the potential damage they could do.

    I have 3 mini horses that sometimes pasture with the sheep. They are bullies about food, but I have seen some evidence that they do some amount of guarding. There was one time that we were trying to catch a particular sheep and one of the horses kept herself between us and the sheep the whole time. She wasn't asking for attention either.

    My #1 guardian choice would be LGDs (I have Great Pyrs) and #2 would be llamas. I had llamas for years and while they weren't as effective as the dogs, they fit in with the sheep nicely. Similar diet and care and they didn't bully the sheep.
     
  10. Jan 25, 2015
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Donkeys are very notional about their territory. They also don't like varmits, a varmit being anything smaller than them. They kill varmits. Nuff' said. Mini donks are meat for dogs and coyotes, same as a goat or sheep.

    Study. Study. Study. Study the LGD section here before getting a dog. If your house dogs are aggressive, then you might have to get rid of them or else fence your goats in well enough to keep them out and your LGD in.