Donkeys vs. dogs?

Discussion in 'Beginners Goat Raising' started by hkarimi, Nov 14, 2014.

  1. hkarimi

    hkarimi New Member

    Nov 14, 2014
    We have four pygmy goats who free range in our backyard. We also have a coop in a fenced off area where our chickens, ducks, turkey, and guinnea fowl live. Recently, we had a raccoon attack our coop and kill a few of our silkie chicks. We also have heard that there is a very small chance of coyotes in our area (though, we haven't seen any signs of them).

    Because of all this, we've been debating getting a dog or donkey to help guard our pygmies and flock. Does anyone here have advice on what is a better option? If a dog, what are the best types of dogs to get? If a donkey - is there a difference between a miniature versus regular sized donkey as a guardian animal?

    Thanks in advance for your input!
  2. happybleats

    happybleats Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Gustine Texas
    for smal preditors like racoon, I would think a dog would work need a dog bred to guard..such as an should be raised with goats or reared with parents who are working dogs if you choose a pup...

    Donkey: I would choose a standard..a mini wont hold off a pack of coyotes or large cats, like a mountain lion ect...Be sure its either a Jenny or gelded jack. The donkey should also be raised around the goats...and will need a bit of bonding time to accept his/her new herd...start with a shared fence line : )

  3. Greybird

    Greybird New Member

    May 14, 2014
    Shelton, WA
    For an immediate end of your raccoons I very strongly recommend that you set a few Duke Dog Proof raccoon traps around the area where your chickens live. No other kind of animal can get caught in them (unless it has small hands and can reach into a cylinder to pull a marshmallow.)
    They cost somewhere between 12-20 dollars each and will last for many years. They really work, even on smart old raccoons, whereas live traps are not very effective except on young or dumb ones.

    It would be better to keep your goats away from the traps whenever they're set just in case they have powerful prehensile tongues and could somehow manage to reach into the cylinder and pull up on the trigger. (It seems very unlikely but I will never say never when goats are involved!)
    You Tube has videos showing what the traps look like and how to set them.

    I don't think raccoons will be very interested in bothering your goats but they will wipe out every single one of your chickens.
  4. hkarimi

    hkarimi New Member

    Nov 14, 2014
    Thank you all for your help.
    I did see a few videos of alpacas and llamas guarding livestock pretty well also, and that they only eat about a cup of food a day. Dogs are the only ones I can get without buying a pair, but they need a lot of human care and attention.
    It will be a hard choice, but I did buy an Ador automatic chicken coop door that opens and closes with the sun. That will help with the raccoons.
    It's hard finding a dog breed that isn't high strung, doesn't constantly herd and bite the legs of the goats or isn't a huge guardian dog that are bigger than mini horses. The plus side of the those large ones is that many are natural guard dogs and don't need to be walked around the block as much.
    Norco, CA w/:
    4 pygmies, 8 chicken, 3 ducks, 1 turkey, 2 LOUD guinea fowl who might be eaten soon.
  5. KW Farms

    KW Farms Moderator Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wapato, WA
    That is way off. They eat more like a bale of hay every 5-7 days per llama. Keep in mind that all livestock guardians have extra costs and expenses. Llamas and alpacas need their hooves trimmed and need to be sheared once yearly, sometimes twice. Dogs eat a lot and require secure fencing, pups will need training and supervision. Donkeys need their hooves trimmed every 8 weeks.

    With whatever guardian you choose, you need to make sure it's actually one that has been used for guarding and is okay with goats. Adult dogs should already be guarding well and puppies should come from a reputable breeder with parents that are guarding. They should be raised with the goats. They're a big commitment. A few common breeds to look into: Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd, Akbash.

    Not all llamas and donkeys will guard goats, in fact, some will do the opposite and chase, try to stomp, etc. You have to really look around for one that actually guards.

    I've had llamas and now have two anatolian shepherds guarding my goats. There are pros and cons to both.
  6. J.O.Y. Farm

    J.O.Y. Farm ~Crazy Goat Lady~

    Jan 10, 2012
    New Hampshire

    How do you like your dogs Kylee? I want some LGDs at some point, probably not until I move, but that is the breed I have been looking into.
  7. KW Farms

    KW Farms Moderator Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wapato, WA
    I love them, but they've been a handful! Having two going through the rebellious, teenage phase is a challenge. At this time, neither can be penned alone with the goats without my supervision as they've been "playing" with them. The older one is doing better, getting through the phase, the younger one still has a lot of that to go through I think. They're one and two years old. So far they are excellent guards though and very watchful. They've killed two skunks and any dog they've seen in the distance, they'll raise the alarm. I am confident once we get through the puppy phase, they'll be good to go. I LOVE the temperaments on both of them. Really beautiful, good minded dogs.

    Attached Files:

  8. J.O.Y. Farm

    J.O.Y. Farm ~Crazy Goat Lady~

    Jan 10, 2012
    New Hampshire
    Ok good to know! :) I really like the breed and have been doing some researching and have loved the ones I met :) just have to get through the puppy years ;) lol!
  9. janeen128

    janeen128 Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2012
    Edgewood, WA
    I've heard that alpacas are not guard animals, they are too small. Electric fences works well to deter coyotes..