It was just over a year ago that we got a donkey as a livestock guardian. We thought we were making a sensible choice. Some people use a dog, some use a llama, some a donkey, and some people just cross their fingers and secure their fences. Based on a variety of factors, we figured a donkey was the best choice for us.
As it turns out, it wasn't really a great choice after all. He never got over his goat aggression. We couldn't trust him with the most vulnerable ones, which were the ones he was meant to protect. Could we have worked harder with him? Could it have been made to work? Maybe. Was he just the wrong donkey for the job? That's a possibility too.
In the end, we just weren't in a very good position to make it work. Our lack of experience was certainly a factor. He wasn't happy with us, and we weren't happy with him. Our shelters were not really enough for him. Our pastures weren't that well suited to him. He was eating as much as four or five goats, and not able to do the job we got him for, and in fact caused a few injuries rather than preventing them.
So now we find out how good our fences really are, and how big a problem the coyotes really are. And Jinx gets to become part of a large herd of donkeys. And if we ever decide to go down that path again, we know where to go to pick one that will be ready for the job, and ready for our inexperience.
Sometimes when you get in over your head, it's best to just work through it. Other times, it's better to back up and try again. We opted for the latter. I think Jinx will be happier, and we'll be happier. The goats are happier already. They've been running around and locking horns all day.
See you later, Jinx old buddy.