I have three. What are your questions?
Cortland Satsuma wrote:We have alpacas and goats. We have separate rotating small paddocks. We would like to add a mini donkey to our herd to help keep foxes, coyotes, and wandering dogs away from our goats; and, to add to the composting diversity. If you have had any experience with mini's, I would greatly appreciate hearing your experience. (Please note: this is not a post about the guarding options; I just want to hear about the donkeys, thank you.)
Cortland Satsuma wrote:Hello Joseph,
Thank you for asking!
1. Is a mini usable for herd guard purposes? If so, please explain.
So far so good, I have had sheep and donkeys since last Nov without issue. I added two LGD's this spring, they are 9 months old could be a factor. I have a stray beagle dog that picked this place for his forever home and Dixie did her best to send him to the hearafter, when he came into the pasture. That's the the only time I have really see them in action. I got my two pyrs LGD's as 6 week pups and my mini mares play and chase them around.
2. Is a jack out of the question?
Don't know for sure, but I have read that a jack will try to breed sheep. I have only mares.
3. Can a mini horse be added later to the "mixed herd" with out issues?
Don't know, I got my donkeys and sheep ewes at the same time. I added a ram latter without issues.
4. Can a guard donkey also be dual purpose for cart / hauling?
Don't know, but it has crossed my mind, I would love to do something with mine. I think it would be better if your going to be the person working with them to have someone else trim the hoofs. Mine will come right to my wife, but avoid me.
5. What have you liked / disliked about owning mini donkeys?
They are supper alert, if you hear them "whinny" somethings afoot (like the UPS man). Dixie had another colt two weeks ago and I knew something was going on as soon as I saw my other mini cinnamon. I could read her like a book. She was giving me the look of death. Dixie will "hover' close when the ewes are in labor.
They eat a lot compared to sheep. I only feed mine pasture and hay. Last winter, I went thru about 25 hay bales with one adult mini donkey her nursing colt, 7-9 sheep and lambs on 5 acres. Trimming hoofs is a pain, they don't have a whole lotta leg to "give" you, My range of motion is jacked up in my spine, and they loath getting trimmed, until it's done.
6. What are the feeding options you have found that produce optimal health?
See number 5
7. What concerns would you have when considering obtaining a given animal for your herd?
Cortland Satsuma wrote:Wow! Thank you for all the great information, I really appreciate your sharing! As animals are a long term responsibility, insight prior to any decision is very valuable.
Cortland Satsuma wrote:Hi Joseph,
Our goat herd has expanded with 5 additional kids. We lost several chickens to the foxes; the kids cries drew the foxes in, and, they went for the easy chickens versus the safely penned kids. Hence, we had been actively seeking the right donkey / mule for our group. We decided yesterday on a two year old gelded mini-mule. The guy we got him from had worked with him this past year on halter and he is very gentle. He is good about letting you handle his legs. We have him isolated from the goats, alpacas and kids for now. We will slowly introduce him to the herd. Currently he is curious and touching noses througth the fencing. He also keeps calling to the two alpacas, whom he is scaring. We expect all will calm down in a couple of weeks and he will work out fine. We plan to continue working with him and train him to pack. He has heard a few unfamiliar sounds and is already quick to raise the alarm. I will post some pics after he is in with the herd.
Great looking critter, glad you found a solution.
Cortland Satsuma wrote:Well, Jack-Jack was a beautiful addition to our paddocks. He was not warming up to our herd; and, then one afternoon, a fox ran right in front of me along the fence of his paddock after a Rooster and he did not care at all. I posted him for sale that day. We did not need a lawn ornament; particularly one that wasn't good with the goats. We took a loss on the sale when a large horse farm wanted him to be a pasture mate to their favorite horse. The farm owner was also a top trainer who planned to finish his training, show him, and use him in a starting riding program with small children. We wanted to be sure he went where he could develop his potential; and, were glad we found him a great home. We had bought a turkey; who was quite upset about the fox and seemed to keep them away from the main flock. He is completely fearless; and, will stand his ground with anything; although he does not do so in a very aggressive manner. His size alone seems to be why he is successful. We then added a pair of Roman Tufted Geese. Between the turkey and geese; the fox activity went down to almost nothing. We still have issues with people letting their pet dogs out to romp all day while they are at work; each time they have shown up, the Geese and the Turkey have raised a ruckus and scarred the dogs away. We had one fox show up a couple days ago in the predawn; but, it was chased off. Tried to track it down to shoot; however, lost it's tracks in our woods. Been ready every morning pre-dawn; since it is likely to come back again. For us, the poultry seems a better approach than any form of a guard donkey. I think it is important that with a donkey, they be raised with a mixed herd from birth. For Jack-Jack there was just too much new to sort out. Initially he was alarmed by everything; but, by the time the fox incident occurred, he had reached the point of accepting anything as normal. Since he was not integrated into the herd, he had no concept of us versus them. He was not a bad animal; he was just the wrong fit. If our situation had not been so immediate; he may have worked out in time; as we did not keep him very long. If a good home had not been immediately available, we would have kept him and continued working with him. He is a great little guy; and, it would have been ideal if he had worked out as planned.