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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Why a Donkey?

From Kelly

Phelan, You mentioned owning a donkey. I've noticed that other homesteaders also have donkeys and I have been curious to know what their practical purpose was on the farm. What are your reasons?

We will own a donkey this spring. We have a sheep named Donkey.

Firefly is coming to us from Marina. He's a gorgeous thing. The reason we decided to get a donkey was primarily expense related reasons. A good work horse can cost in the multiple thousands, while a good work donkey will cost only in the hundreds. We wanted something that could be multi purposed, work and guard duty. And a standard sized donkey was the best we found. Llamas and the like are well used, we had thought of those, but we prefer not to deal with the spitting and the exotic animals laws that we have here in my county.

The most practical reason to have a donkey on your homestead is for guard duty. They will not put up with any predators that might wonder onto your land looking for an easy meal. Male donkey's (Jacks) can be very aggressive, killing dogs with on swift kick, and they do not back down. We will also train him to a cart, I have no shame taking him into town to go shopping, and train him to the plow. As long as you have land to graze, we feel a donkey is our best economical choice.

For the story on getting our donkey, check out this series from earlier last year, entitled, The Quest for the Demon Donkey. Scroll down to the end of comments for the links to the continuation.

5 comments:

The Fool said...

Firefly is awesome...what a bee-yoo-tee-ful critter. I'm sure we'll all learn a thing or two from Firefly.

alrescate said...

I can't wait for you to get Firefly on the homestead!

Anonymous said...

So, do you think a donkey would keep foxes / skunks / coons from attacking my chickens if I kept them in the same pasture?

I just put my order in for 27 chicks and will soon build a coop and run (all this within a larger fenced area where my goats now live). I'd like to let the chickens roam, but don't want them to be fox food either. I heard goats aren't protective against predators. I thought maybe a Llama would do the trick, but perhaps a donkey. Does anyone have experience to share on this one? I'd prefer an easy keeper, too...how are donkeys on that account?

Rosemary

april said...

You're going to ride him to town? Or are you going to hitch him to a cart and go to town? I'd like to see that. Will you show us pictures of your process in training him?

I'm thinking how we would look going to Wal-Mart in a donkey cart, I think we'd be okay until we had to find a parking spot.

Phelan said...

The Fool, I am sure we will.

Alrescate, me too!

Rosemary, I have seen donkeys stare down and chase off a fox before. And everything I have read about donkeys, claims that they will run off any predator tha wonders in. Your set up sounds the same as mine. We plan on keeping him out in the field during the day with the sheep and bringing them all back in to where the chickens are at night. Goats are not too suited for guard duty, they are a lot like sheep, and will flee rather then fight. But have said that, my female goat is much more aggrasive towards dogs then my males. She will go after them. I would suggest going in which ever direction you feel more comfortable with. We fell in love with the donkey after meeting them.

April, we will be hitching up the cart, and going into town to shop. Like I said, I have no pride ;) My neighbor trains horses and has offered us the use of his pens and help in training FireFly. I will post photos of it all. Parking might be a problem.

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