Monday Musings: Guard Donkeys

Meet Stella.

Guardian Donkey.

Donkeys and coyotes are natural enemies.

I have realized that this little law of nature is not widely known outside of cattlemen and farming circles.

People are usually surprised when they learn why we have Stella.

Donkeys are often used to protect herds of cows, goats, and sheep.

The main function on our farm is to keep coyotes (and foxes, and other aggressive dogs running loose) away from cows.

Sometimes on a quiet night, I can hear Stella braying and I know she's doing her job.  

You'd run off, too.  It's an unpleasant noise.

When introducing a donkey to the herd, if there is a dog on the property, you must be careful to properly socialize them.  It's important for the donkey to bond with this particular dog and realize that the he or she is not an intruder or threat.  Otherwise, they donkey is very likely to attack the dog.

For whatever reason, they get along well with cows.  They eat what the cows eat.  Do what the cows do.

You've probably noticed there are two donkeys in these photos.  

When we purchased Stella, she was in a delicate condition.

(Fun livestock factoid: you can actually buy (or sell) an animal and a half...cheaper than two animals and more expensive than one.)

The smaller one is affectionately known as "Stella's Baby".

When she was born, The Farmer refused to let me name her, insisting that "she will be sold...there's no point in naming her."

She's five.

Guard donkeys are pretty common.

Next time you pass a pasture full of cows or sheep, slow down and take a look, I bet you'll see a tall pair of ears sticking out at the edge of the herd.


  1. Stella does exist. Interesting. You should start an movement to educate the urban masses about this under-appreciated, benevolent, and occasionally violent herbivore. This story must be herd - couldn't help it.

  2. Love it, The Farmer is twisted around your little finger

  3. I really enjoyed this. I'm researching the use of guard donkeys and trying to learn as much as possible before I get one. There are so many FREE babies, Jennies and Geldings here where I live. I'm not sure as to why... maybe they just don't want the responsibility anymore??? Id like to follow your blog for some tips. :)