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Is it possible to keep multiple donkeys with sheep?

 
Mike Cola
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So in about 10 fenced acres would it be possible to keep more then about 2 or more jennets and or gelded jacks with sheep in the same fenced acres? I have read that a single donkey can be used to guard them but I was wondering if I could keep more then one in with them at night. Any feedback would be incredibly helpful thank you for your time.
 
Rocco Hagar
Posts: 16
Location: Texas
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Well, the short answer is yes, you can certainly do that.

A longer answer is: it depends on the personalities of the donkeys - both with the other donkeys and with the sheep, how much feed and hay are you willing to buy, how will lambing affect the donkeys.

We keep a jenny with goats. She really does a good job of keeping the pasture that she is in safe (she patrols maybe 15 acres). And 99% of the time there is no problem. But, donkeys will be donkeys and sometimes she gets into a mood and chases the goats. That is not terrible with the adult goats, but with kids and especially young kids it isn't so good. She has injured a young kid. I had a neighbor keeping a mini donkey with large Boer goats and he lost a couple of kids to a donkey.

Your land may be much more productive than mine, but 10 acres with the number of animals you are hinting at would probably require hay and/or feed to sustain the animals. As a rule of thumb one large donkey is one animal unit, two mini's are one animal unit, six goats or sheep is an animal unit. Where I am, you need about 25 acres per animal unit to sustain the population without overtaxing the land. In other areas only an acre or two may be necessary per animal unit. If you are unsure about your area or land your county extension agent could tell you approximately what stocking rates you could sustain.

Hope this helps a little. Good luck.
 
Joseph Fields
Posts: 170
Location: Berea, Kentucky
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I keep two mini jennies, with a small flock of sheep with no issues.
 
Mike Cola
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Thank you very much for your responses they are very appreciated!
 
Scott Perkins
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I'm guessing that donkeys if anything like guard dogs might be more protective and tolerant of any other animals in a pasture if they were raised
from a real young age with the other animals. I know that as puppies sheep herding and flock protective dogs are put in with baby sheep
and goats and sometimes even nurse on sheep and goat mommas I think so that when grown they will want to instinctively want to protect
what they see as their own family or pack.
Can anyone familiar with donkeys confirm this ? Is'nt it all about socialization with all animals ?
 
Grant Doner
Posts: 9
Location: Denver, CO
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We have two gelded mini-donkeys....best part is we live "in town" (Denver). My neighbors don't know what to think!

Our boys ("The Boys") do very well with other animals. We actually rescued them because they were being neglected by their owner (real POS of a woman) and being abused by a young mule. Arlo is the younger of the two and he is terribly knock-kneed as a result of being dominance mounted by the mule at a very young age. It took us a few years to get him social and we still have a long ways to go.

However, one of our biggest tools in the battle have been other animals. We live in a really weird part of Denver that has many Ag zoned properties mixed in with apartments/townhomes/condos. Literally, the people across the street keep two beef cows! Anyway, we've got goats, sheep, pigs, cows, horses, and a couple of other critters living within walking distance of our house...in town. The Boys keep many as friends. Their friends will come visit for a few hours and a few have even stayed for 'sleepovers'. The Boys are fiercely protective of their buddies, so long as their buddies are in the pasture. The Boys have many, many, many canine friends that visit daily, but their posture changes drastically if they have 'friends' visiting within the pasture.

Granted, our minis are sweet to a fault. They are just very accepting. But I'll echo the comment above about being careful to watch them around young, or very small animals. While 'playing', they will play like they're playing with another donkey. That generally involves kicking with their front legs. Arlo once knocked our bulldog's skull so hard that we heard it from the other end of the pasture. He was really sorry about it and slowly followed the bulldog as she stumbled over to us. He genuinely loved that dog (so did we), but he got excited playing and did some damage. Dog was fine until she got cancer, but that's another tale.

They are also keenly aware of domestic and not. The wife and I both volunteer at a wolf sanctuary. Once when she came home (it's a three hour drive), she stripped down on the back porch to avoid bringing any bugs in with our house critters. The Boys and I happened to be in the backyard at the time. Both of The Boys ambled over to her pile of clothes and gave it a sniff. Immediately they began to stomp the pile of clothes, then ran like hell. We see the same behavior when we come across coyote scat on walks; very obvious aggressive posturing and behavior. But around domesticated dogs, they are wonderful and mostly gentle.

These are my first donkeys and I never in my life thought I would own donkeys. So my experiences are strictly limited to my Boys. They are naturally protective, but will not hesitate to attack something they don't think belongs. When I sleep out back in a hammock (I do a lot of winter testing with my hiking gear), they always come check on me after they hear the coyotes go by on one of their adventures. They seem to know what they're supposed to look out for and what is to be ignored or embraced. Really neat animals and I'm tickled I've gotten to experience them.

I would have no hesitation about filling my pasture with sheep...with my Boys. They're just chill like that. YMMV.
 
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