Donkeys are loveable animals that play important roles on farms and other properties across America.
While they sometimes get a bad reputation for being stubborn with a mean streak, donkeys actually form strong bonds with human owners and caregivers who know how to interact with them and put in the time to build a good relationship.
A lot of people keep donkeys on their property because of their inclination to be territorial and keep other animals away.
This might sound like a turnoff to some, but it comes in handy depending on where you live and what other animals are threatening your chickens, ducks, goats, and other vulnerable animals.
Do donkeys keep coyotes away? Donkeys do keep coyotes away. Donkeys can become quite irritable when they feel like their territory is being threatened. They become so defensive that a lot of farmers and shepherds keep donkeys around specifically to deter coyotes, foxes, and even wolves. They can be an excellent protector for sheep, chickens, and other animals.
If you’re thinking about introducing a donkey to keep coyotes away, there are things you should know about their temperament and how to keep them healthy and happy.
Here’s some helpful information to help you introduce a donkey and keep things peaceful with your other animals.
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Donkeys protect their turf. They don’t react well to being in spaces with multiple other animals.
While it’s common for donkeys to live with one or two other animals, it takes time and careful planning to make it happen.
They will, eventually, form strong bonds with other donkeys, but you should be there to supervise their introduction and watch how they interact closely to prevent any animals from getting hurt.
This tendency to protect their territory is a big help for people who want to keep coyotes away.
On many properties, donkeys serve as effective livestock guardians. There are, though, different types of donkeys.
- Mini donkeys – You shouldn’t use a mini donkey as a guard animal against coyotes. They may have the best of intentions and attempt to fight the coyote off, but their small size leaves them vulnerable.
The coyote could take one look at the mini donkey and decide that, instead of going after chickens, they may want to make a meal out of the donkey. It’s not worth the risk of having your donkey injured because it is too small. Coyotes will size them up and may decide it’s a risk worth taking.
- Standard donkeys – Standard donkeys do the trick when it comes to keeping coyotes away. They weigh around 500 pounds, so they’ll have the heft and will be imposing enough to deter all but the bravest of coyotes from coming close to your fences.
- Mammoth donkeys – Mammoth donkeys are typically as large as a horse, and serve as a very effective deterrent against coyotes. These are imposing animals that can easily fight off a single coyote.
Coyotes usually aren’t running in packs, so the odds of multiple coyotes coming onto your property to engage with your donkey are low.
Generally, yes, a guard donkey will fight off a coyote. They’re not fighting out of some instinct to protect your sheep, but rather reacting against a strange animal encroaching on their territory. There’s no difference, really, to the sheep around the donkey, because they get to stay safe and keep on grazing.
Donkeys do well as guard animals because they have fantastic stamina and stay alert.
You’re not going to see a donkey patrolling a pasture against coyotes like you would with an expert guard dog. However, donkeys are very good listeners when they’re grazing.
They notice changes in the air and will sense when danger is near and move to head it off quickly. First, they’ll make a lot of noise to let the strangers know they are there.
Then, they’ll move in the general direction of the threat to try and stop them from coming any closer.
Can a Coyote Kill a Donkey?
It sounds strange to a lot of people, but a donkey can kill a coyote if the fight goes on or is in close quarters.
Donkeys will become very aggressive, using their teeth and hooves to go after any perceived threat. If a single coyote, a fox, or some other small predator comes close, they are in for a world of hurt.
Donkeys have even been known to fight off bobcats. A pack of wolves is probably a stretch for any-sized guard donkey, but they may be a sufficient deterrent to convince the wolves to try somewhere else.
Donkeys are great guard animals. They’ll monitor what’s going on around them and bray very loudly to push away any would-be predators.
It’s a nice early warning system for farmers and other property owners who keep animals. If it comes down to it, you can rely on a fully-grown donkey to meet any stranger on the property with suspicion, and, if necessary, force.
Just know that they don’t do well around dogs or any other canines, so having a guard donkey out in a field with a sheepdog protecting your flock isn’t always going to work. They may treat your dog just like they would a coyote.
Remember, these are very territorial animals. They can coexist with sheep, goats, etc. in an enclosure or when they are out to pasture, but it’s usually going to take them a few weeks to adjust to their new neighbors.
Give them some time and introduce them slowly to keep everyone nice and calm.
If you do have an incident on your property, and your donkey gets into a fight with a fox, coyote, or any other animal, you may be surprised at how aggressive they get. They will bite and slash to push any perceived threat away.
Your donkey will need some time to calm down after they ramp up so quickly, so it’s best to give them some space and let them relax a bit before you try to approach them and give them encouragement for helping keep everyone safe.