An “opportunity” recently arose when Martha Mobley (Franklin County Agricultural Extension Agent) called to say she thought I needed a guard donkey – and she just happened to know someone who was selling a beauty. Bob caved-in and said yes, and so . . . now we have “Molly”.
Some folks have guard dogs, other guard llamas, but we have a standard-size, spotted jenny (female donkey). She has the beautiful “cross” marking stripes down her spine and across her shoulders, and a beautiful mane that is reminiscent of animals that roam the African plains.
“Molly” has been guarding baby goats for several years for Ivan with no predator losses from – wild dogs, fox and coyote. Yes coyote!
North Carolina has become infested with them lanky critters you thought were only used to portray Wily Coyote and whose howl was immortalized in grade-B Western Movies.
Donkeys in general have an inherent dislike for dogs and dog-like critters (coyotes). They chase them, bite them, kick them and kill them – in that order.
Our cattle seem to have readily accepted her presence in the herd. It is premature to say that “Molly” will re-train from baby goats to baby calves, but something tells me she will do just fine.
We’ll keep you informed. Ain’t she pretty?
UPDATE #1: 4/10/2008: Molly has amazingly become the “herd” leader and protector. She at times corrals the cattle, but always protects them from all pasture “threats”. She is tolerant of people, deer and turkey, but not much else. Now that we have baby calves, she acts as the “nanny” when a mom needs a break from the youngster.
Yes indeed she has “done just fine!” – better than I ever imagined was possible. Without question, Molly’s here to stay! Come see her – she loves company.
UPDATE #2: 6/1/2008: Freelance writer/photographer – Donna Campbell Smith – visited Lynch Creek Farm during the 5th Annual Franklin County Farm Foods & Crafts Tour, May 19-20, 2008 and became fascinated with Molly. She wrote an essay about her – check out her Blog.
UPDATE #3: 12/15/2008: After several front “hoof” setbacks, we’ve finally gotten Molly sound again – the secret has been to put her in the barn (dry, hard surface) when it rains – donkeys hooves are different from horses in that they absorb moisture more readily – softening them and inviting infection (abcesses) – some vet, ongoing farrier care and barn detention time should do the trick.
UPDATE #4: 2/1/2010: Well its been over a year now having Joey Hite trim Molly’s hooves every 2-3 months and applying Coppertox each time. Pleased to report that for the first time all four hooves are finally sound. She has finally grown-out all her old damaged hooves. In spite of the months of wet weather we have had the Fall of 2009. Molly has been sound. It’s been a long journey. She’s running full speed and walking with comfort and grace.