Wednesday, February 16, 2011


My brain has become an incredible sponge these days. In addition to reading several books that will help me be a better leader in my day job (yes dear reader - I do have a day job to support my farm habit!) I have also been learning about pigs, chickens, cows, solar energy, pasture management...and donkeys.

I must confess, I am facinated by the donkeys. 

It could harken back to the days when I was in love with all things horse, and adorned my bedroom walls with pictures torn from horse magazines. I used to look forward to the summertime, when I could attend "horse camp" - although truth be told I seemed to get along better with the horses than the campers.

Donkeys on the whole are quite intelligent, and whereas a horse will flee from a predator - donkey's will rise to fight one. Using their sharp wee hooves they will clobber the beast to death.  All the while, raising the alarm so that the farmer is roused from his slumber and can come running down to the barns. 

Seems like a fairly decent alarm system.

The Ontario government recognizes the use of donkey's as herd guardians, and suggests the following guidelines for introducing them to your livestock. 

What has become apparent is that they are herd animals, and do best in pairs. I like this idea - but it also doubles the cost of care.  I am hoping that our cattle will keep her from feeling lonely. From the reading I have done, a Jack (an ungelded male donkey) is more dangerous than a bull.  

You can read more about Jacks, Jenny's and Gelded males here   This site also has a great page called the Jack files. It's a scarey read - and certainly makes one think twice about keeping an ungelded male. 

Having said that, in our search we have come across a Jack for sale who is a sweet fellow. The question is - at two years old will the "Jack" behavior still exist even if he is gelded?  

I suppose in the end, Noah had it right. We all do better in pairs.

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