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What To Do With A Donkey
 By Winniefield Park   •   7th Aug 2018   •   369 views   •   0 comments


The BLM is rounding up about sixty burros in the Bullhead City of Arizona area and shortly, these burros, or donkeys as many of us call them, will be up for adoption. But, who would want a donkey? Turns out, donkeys are not only cute as all get out, they are hard workers who with the right training, can be very useful around farms and stables.

Guardians
In many places donkeys are used to protect sheep herds. Some sources say that jacks can be aggressive with lambs, but female and gelded donkeys can help keep predators like coyotes away from flocks. They do this by braying and by chasing any predator that disturbs the flock. The donkey must live with the flock and become bonded to it. Ideally, a young donkey that grows up in the flock is the best guardian. Not all will however, so if things don’t work out, there needs to be a Plan B for caring for the sheep.

Donkeys can take a dislike to many kinds of animals, so they may be able to help keep rodents, dogs, wild pigs and other critters off of your property. That they’ll chase dogs might not be so great for your other family pets though. Donkeys seem to have a particular aversion to anything canine-like.

Companions
We’ve certainly all read about the famous racehorses that had a kindly donkey for a companion. Donkeys and burros make good companions for everyday horses as well. Because they are naturally calm, and stoic, they provide a good role model for a high-strung horse. Their care is almost identical, so they need the same feed and water and other care that their horse might need, making the easy to look after. They don’t seem to suffer separation anxiety like a horse, so if you can only afford one horse and one donkey, you don’t have to worry so much about the donkey running the fence or constantly calling when the horse leaves.

Therapeutic Riding
Using donkeys for riding isn’t as common in North America as it is in many parts of the world. But elsewhere, they are not only ridden, but used for giving lessons to children who might be too scared of a larger horse, and not be able to straddle a wide pony. They tend to be slower to react, and slower moving. They make good companion animals as well, being kind and patient with people whose disabilities would make it difficult to interact with a faster moving, larger horse.

Driving
Of course donkeys are very important in many countries as pack animals and for pulling loads. An average sized donkey can easily pull an adult or two in a well balanced cart. There are donkey and mule societies that hold shows where you can show off your donkey in a variety of classes, some traditional or formal, and others more novel and fun.

Training
Using a donkey to train a calf to lead is one way to go about raising a bull that is easier to handle. Basically, a calf and donkey is fitted with a sturdy collar that is attached. They are left to sort things out with the donkey taking the lead. This method has been tried with horses and goats too. If you’re inclined to try this, you’ll need to get much more information than just ‘tie two animals’ together as obviously, the possibility for injury exists for both donkey, calf and human.

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