What began as a practical means of keeping coyotes out of the field, has now turned into a bit of an ass obsession. I fear that I will turn into a wild eyed version of the crazy cat lady - standing in some old post and beam barn surrounded by asses.
I swore I would stop at three, but then I read on a highly official government site that you should have one donkey per 50 sheep. Of course, another site said that was hogwash, and that you could have one per every 100 sheep, but I used the first ratio as my strong argument in the purchase of Lucy. Never mind that we don't have the sheep yet...it's all about effective planning!
Lucy is our new 4 month old donkey. How could I resist her charm?
Donkey's are wonderful when it comes to livestock protection. In terms of value for dollar, they provide endless hours of entertainment, in addition to coyote protection.
In order for donkeys to provide the best predator protection possible it is important to first understand how they protect the flock. Think of a donkey like a security guard - in order to provide protection they must both be in the right place at the right time. The donkey's herding instinct combined with its inherent dislike and aggressiveness towards coyotes and dogs make it an effective livestock guard animal.
If a coyote enters the field, a donkey will raise a ruckus, and chase the intruder. In most cases they will actually confront the predator, and attack them by rising up on their hind legs and striking with both front feet. They will then attempt to bite the back of the predators neck as it ducks to defend itself, causing damage to main arteries.
It really makes you stop and think about how cute and fuzzy they are doesn't it?
Perhaps that's why I like them, they are cute, sweet and fuzzy...until you rub them the wrong way!