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Guard donkeys??

 
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In one of my posts about getting started in raising pastured pigs, there was some discussion about the use of livestock guard dogs to protect the pigs from coyotes and other predators. Here in the panhandle of Texas, another animal commonly used to guard livestock against predator attack is the donkey. I have not heard of anyone using donkeys to guard pigs and was wondering if it would work. Donkeys are regularly used here to guard sheep, goat and cattle herds. Has anyone on this forum had any experience using donkeys to protect their pastured pigs from predators? Wonder if pigs would even get along with donkeys in the same pasture?
 
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Ron Metz wrote:In one of my posts about getting started in raising pastured pigs, there was some discussion about the use of livestock guard dogs to protect the pigs from coyotes and other predators. Here in the panhandle of Texas, another animal commonly used to guard livestock against predator attack is the donkey. I have not heard of anyone using donkeys to guard pigs and was wondering if it would work. Donkeys are regularly used here to guard sheep, goat and cattle herds. Has anyone on this forum had any experience using donkeys to protect their pastured pigs from predators? Wonder if pigs would even get along with donkeys in the same pasture?



While I haven't ever heard of anyone using donkeys to guard pigs, I would suggest that if you try it be sure to use only female donkeys or castrated / gelded donkeys. Jacks can be quite aggressive and unpredictable to both humans and other livestock.

I would be cautious using them around baby pigs in the same pen or pasture as they might attack them. Maybe if you got a young one and raised them together they might be ok. Example:  


That said, we have miniature burros in the same pasture as llamas and they never bother the baby llamas. But they have the parent llamas to protect them and the sire llama is VERY protective of his herd against anything: dogs, humans, and supposedly coyotes (although I've never witnessed that).

I've known of two instances where jacks got vicious after mating and started attacking young cattle and had to be removed. Since I saw a jack attacking a horse gelding twice his size and a horse foal found dead in the pasture in the same place that happened, I consider an uncastrated donkey too dangerous to have around.
 
Ron Metz
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I've read a few things on the internet about folks using donkeys to guard pigs. I get the idea for best results the donkeys should be raised with pigs. Apparently the donkeys response to predators is more of a territorial thing and a common hatred for all members of the canine family. It also appears one donkey can't handle a pack of coyotes but several donkeys can. I've seen pictures where they stomp or kick the coyotes to death or actually bite and shake them like a rag doll until dead. I guess the only real way to find out is get a couple when I get the pigs and see how it works. Having a grazing animal with the pigs seems like it would be less work than livestock guard dogs.
 
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Ron Metz wrote:I've read a few things on the internet about folks using donkeys to guard pigs. I get the idea for best results the donkeys should be raised with pigs. Apparently the donkeys response to predators is more of a territorial thing and a common hatred for all members of the canine family. It also appears one donkey can't handle a pack of coyotes but several donkeys can. I've seen pictures where they stomp or kick the coyotes to death or actually bite and shake them like a rag doll until dead. I guess the only real way to find out is get a couple when I get the pigs and see how it works. Having a grazing animal with the pigs seems like it would be less work than livestock guard dogs.



Cattle ranches I've seen ran two full-size donkeys. I'm not sure whether sex matters or not other than not letting jacks ever mate because they'll start attacking your cattle.

Here we have 4 miniature donkeys and over a dozen llamas. They claim llamas are good guardian animals although I have trouble theorizing how. The male will challenge anything that gets anywhere near his herd or between him and them. But what can they really do besides chase them or spit at them? I wouldn't think that would stop a wolf or coyote.  


Most horses will stomp or kick coyotes or strange dogs if they get too close. So I'm not sure which of them keeps the coyotes at bay, but we haven't had any issues with coyotes and livestock - only coyotes and ducks.
 
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