Donkeys Can Protect Your Chickens From Predators
Donkeys can protect your chickens once they have bonded with themJenny's (females) work best but a young gelded male can also be a great protector. The donkey will want to be housed near the chickens and will protect them from coyote's, foxes, and dogs, (Dogs and donkey's are natural enemies), by chasing and trampling the enemy.
I heard a lot of clucking about donkeys protecting chickens so I decided to let you know how my donkey Shrek is doing with my chickens, dogs, and cats. Shrek has only been here for a few months, he is a gelded male, though I hear jenny's make good chicken protectors as well. He is earning his keep now that he has taken full possession of my property. After years of fighting off predators like raccoons, skunks, and coyotes, this year, since he has been here there have been no attacks or signs that they have even been on the property. My donkey is very protective and loves the chickens, I have even seen him herding them at bed time, much like a cattle dog would do. Shrek is well worth the cost of his five cups of sweet feed and all the hay he can eat. He really does not eat that much hay, preferring to munch on the grass, weeds, and shrubs around the property. I don't think I will be needing to mow come spring from the looks of it. I did have to block him off with poles and railings to keep him from eating the chicken feed.
Donkeys are pretty easy to take care of. They need shelter from the elements, hay, a place to graze and 4-6 cups of feed twice a day, keep their feet dry, and a yearly check up from the vet. So far, I have not had any problems with my two small dogs and my donkey other than the fact that they barked at him for a whole week. I monitored their visits but one day they got out and started chasing Shrek, he seemed to enjoy it rather than being scared but when he got tired of their game he tried to stomp them. My dogs learned quickly that Shrek the donkey was not to be toyed with and have since stopped bothering him. The cats pretend Shrek does not exist but Shrek likes to watch them and has even been known to follow them around. He already has figured out what birds and animals belong here and which ones don't. I would highly recommend using a donkey to protect your chickens based on my experience so far. Donkeys are pretty smart. Do you have a donkey around your chickens? Let me know how your donkey interacts with your chickens, pets, and other livestock, and I would also like to know if you have had any predator problems since you got the donkey. Update: Shrek is doing well with the chickens, I have had ZERO raccoons, foxes, or coyote's come on the property this year and Shrek has become very affectionate, coming up to me for petting, scratching, and grooming. Scroll down to find out how to use donkey manure for fuel in wood stoves.
What Donkeys Can Do
Donkeys were originally used by sheep herders to protect their sheep in areas where fox, coyote's and wild dogs roamed the prairies. The Robinson Ranch in Madison Texas has some great information about donkey uses, habits, and a whole lot more! Excerpt from site: "SHEEP (OR GOAT) PROTECTION. A single donkey, usually a jennet, sometimes a gelding (jacks rarely work because they can be too aggressive with lambs) is introduced to the herd and undergoes a bonding stage. After it has bonded with the sheep, it will protect them against canine predators (fox, coyote, dogs) as it would one of its own. This is extremely beneficial in areas where the sheep have many acres to graze. The advantage of the donkey over the guard dog is that they can eat the same food as the sheep so they don't have to be fed separately. The donkey will also bed down with the sheep at night. Given a strange sound it will voice a warning to the flock which alerts them to danger. Then the donkey will chase and often trample the predator. Miniature donkeys are not usually large enough to handle the coyotes, and mammoth donkeys are usually too slow."
Visit What Can Donkeys Do on The Robinson Ranch website to find out more: http://www.donkeys.com/info2.htm
Using Donkey Poop for Heat
There is also the added benefit of saving money on wood heating costs because donkey poo can easily be dried out either in bricquette maker or by itself and used in a fireplace or wood stove for heat. Simply press it into a brick mold, then press it out. Stack in a criss cross pattern and let it dry out for three weeks and presto-free heat for your wood burning stove.
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