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USE OF DONKEYS TO GUARD SHEEP AND GOATS

by
Frank Craddock
Extension Sheep and Goat Specialist
San Angelo, Texas
  1. Guard donkeys should be selected from medium to large size stock. Do not use extremely small or miniature donkeys.

  2. Do not acquire a donkey which cannot be culled or sold if it fails to perform properly.

  3. Use jennies and geldings. Do no use jacks as guard animals.

  4. Test a new donkey's guarding response by challenging the donkey with a dog in a corral or small pasture.

  5. Use only one donkey or jenny and foal per pasture.

  6. Isolate guard donkeys from horses, mules, and other donkeys.

  7. To increase probability of bonding, donkeys should be raised from birth or placed at weaning with sheep and goats.

  8. Raise guard donkeys away from dogs. Avoid or limit the use of herding dogs around donkeys.

  9. Monitor the use of guard donkeys at lambing or kidding as some donkeys may be aggressive to newborns and overly possessive. Remove donkeys temporarily if necessary.

  10. Use donkeys in small (less than 600 acres) open pastures with not more than 200 head of sheep and goats for best results. Large pastures, rough terrain, dense brush, too large a herd, and sheep or goats that are scattered all lessen effectiveness of guard donkeys.

  11. Do not allow donkeys access to feed containing Rumensin, urea, or other products intended only for ruminants.

Source: Paper entitled "Use of Donkeys to Guard Sheep and Goats in Texas: by Murray T. Walton and C. Andy Field and presented at the Fourth Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conference. September 25-28, 1989. Madison, WI.

 

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