Lonely Donkey?

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

I have a chance to adopt a female donkey (jenny?). We have a barn that could be fixed up for her, and she would live in the pasture where the chickens free range. We've had issues with dogs, and my justification for taking her is that she would be a deterrent to them. Would she be lonely? Could she be with the cows (three steers)? Should she have a friend, maybe (justification again) a goat would do? They get hay that is sometimes a lesser quality, and I know is not acceptable for horses, but don't know if Donkeys require the same. My cows avoid the toxic plants (I ran around madly pulling poke and datura until I realized they wouldn't touch them, or the thistles).

Thanks,
Margo

Waddy, KY

Your donkey would take up with the cows if that's the only other animal that's available. When I had a horse he stayed with the cows all the time. There'd be this bunch of Jersey's with this hulking big gelding smack dab in the middle.

A few years ago we rented the pasture on the neighbor's. They had an old pony in the field when we put the beef cows in. After about 3 months we brought the cows home and made the pony stay. She threw a fit for almost a week. You could hear her calling for the cows and walking the fence. The next year when we took the cows over and brought them home she planted herself right in the middle of the herd and crossed the creek with them. She lived out the rest of her life in the middle of our cows. You'd look out in the field and she'd be babysitting the calves while the momma's were out grazing.

I suspect donkeys would get by on the same hay that your cows eat. My horses always did and they stayed fat as ticks.

Janet

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Thanks Janet, that's a help. Now I know that I can't expect her to live by herself. The thought was to confine her to the "top" of the cows range, where she'd see the dogs. The cows are often out of view, so that may not work. I don't want ther to be unhappy. Then again, we've heard coyotes in the back, so maybe it would be a good thing. I have to find out about the hay. I had the impression that cows could eat moldy hay without harm, but it would be bad for horses. My round bales do get moldy on the bottom onceoin a while, so I'd have to overcome that.
Thanks again,
Margo, who is glad the pony got to stay with her friends.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Donkeys do fine on hay that is poorer quality than cows or horses need. They'll bite or kick the living daylights out of a coyote, or strange dog. When you introduce new cattle, it might be a good idea to put her in an adjacent corral or pasture until she accepts the newcommers. She might see them as a threat. After she bonds with the animals, she will protect them.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Thank you MaryE! Very good news. Will she go after the chickens at first? Her barn is in their Inner Sanctum :).
I appreciate your help...

Margo

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Possibly, but they will run and flap and get our of her way. She might not be protective and agressive to other animals until she learns where her space is and who her "herd" is. And yes, a female donkey is a jenny.

A Donkey website, or a search for animal guards or something similiar, might give you additional information. A neighbor of ours had a guard donkey for his sheep, but had to take her out when the lambs were little. After the lambs grew up enough to look like adults, she was fine with them.

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

More good info. I have three websites marked, and while they're informative on the basics, they're a bit lacking in the "hands-on" stuff, like chickens [g]. The chickens love the cows, so I guess we'll deal with it. I know what they should eat (although that also differs by website) but wanted to know the real-life posiibilities, like sharing with cows. We've been tossing the idea of adopting her for a while (there's no hurry) but were having trouble justifying it. The chickens are my excuse.....
Thanks again,
Margo

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

You're welcome. Let us know how it goes.

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