Donkeys as guards
- The quiet docile donkey can become a fearsome aggressor – traits seen mostly in the male Jack.
- They use their loud bray as defence weapon.
- Donkeys hate any small animals, especially dogs, and will chase them relentlessly in their paddock.
- This trait is used in Canada where donkeys run with sheep to ward off coyotes and even mountain lions.
- Donkey jacks are used in New Zealand to run with bulls to stop them fighting.
- The jack will bite the neck of a full-grown Friesian bull or bite his testicles, breaking up the fight. One donkey can control 20-30 bulls.
- The jacks should be at least 2 years old and at least 10 (hh) before they are put on bull riot duty.
- The Donkey Society of New Zealand and the RNZSPCA do not encourage this practice. Invariably the donkey’s feet are neglected and they suffer founder from the high quality pasture feed to fatten the bulls. This causes the animal great discomfort.
Donkeys as teachers
- Donkeys are sometimes used to teach other animals like calves or foals to lead.
- The donkey is fitted with a strong soft leather collar 1.4m long and 700mm wide with a large ring on it to fasten the pupil. The donkey wears a plain headstall.
- There must be a good chain 2.5m long with a swivel and a snap hook at each end to attach pupil to donkey. Over a period of days, with careful supervision, the pupil learns to follow the donkey as it is pulled along.