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.