Guard Donkey

Jacob sheep are better at defending themselves than most modern breeds of sheep. They have been used as guard animals to protect farm property from theft or vandalism and defend other livestock against predators.

But just for good measure, because quite a few coyotes have been reported in our area, and because he’s awfully cute… we have Sancho Panza, our miniature guard donkey.

Guard donkeys are often easier to tend and cost less to maintain than other guard animals. Unlike guard dogs, for example, guard donkeys don’t require extra food or shelter. Sancho spends his time out in the pasture happily grazing with the sheep, keeping an eye on things. Donkeys probably do not deliberately protect livestock. Many donkeys dislike and are aggressive towards dogs, coyotes and foxes and provide indirect protection for domestic animals. Donkeys have exceptional hearing, a keen nose and excellent vision. They use these senses to detect intruders. They bray, bare their teeth, chase, and attempt to kick and bite dogs and coyotes. Donkeys do not intentionally patrol the pasture looking for intruders. They investigate disturbances within the herd or flock and will pursue predators or intruders if they detect them. In addition to the aggressive behavior of the donkeys, the presence of a large animal with smaller livestock may be sufficient to cause some coyotes, dogs and other predators to avoid the area.