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Miniature Donkeys as Livestock Guardians

We receive many calls from people looking for a miniature donkey to guard their goats or sheep.  Miniature donkeys are too small for this job.  They only weigh on average 200 lbs. and could be injured or killed by a couple of large dogs or coyotes.  We have a resident mammoth donkey, Moon, who watches over our young donkeys once they have been weaned from their mothers.

There are many opinions about donkeys as guardians.  We have learned that a standard or a mammoth jennet makes the best guardian, but she needs to be trained to do this and should be the only donkey.  It makes sense that if a donkey can kill a coyote, there is a chance it could kill the livestock it is supposed to be guarding so they need to be tested and trained.  Jacks are highly likely to exhibit aggressive behavior towards smaller livestock.  We know of jacks that have killed livestock and we strongly recommend not putting them together.  In fact, jacks should be gelded unless they are actively used in a breeding program.  They live a much happier life and are safer around the barn.

After years of observing donkeys interacting with each other we believe that they need an equine companion.  A single jennet set out in a field of goats might not be as happy as if she were with another donkey.  If we were looking for a guardian for small livestock we would most likely purchase a pair of dogs that were bred for this purpose and not use a donkey at all.

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