• 59°

Guard dog or guard donkey? Some answers

How about a donkey?

Submitted photo Donkeys can be effcient guard animals for various livestock.

By Morgan Watts

Rowan Cooperative Extension

If you have ever raised livestock or poultry, you have most likely had to deal with some type of predator issue. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky, so far.

I am going to go over some different types of guard animals that will work mostly for livestock, and some will even work for poultry predator protection. There are many pros and cons to which type to use — some require different care than others. One that works for your neighbor might not work for you. It’s all about your specific operation’s setup and goals.

Probably one of the most common types of guardians would be a dog. There are a ton of different breeds available, but the most common in our area would be the Great Pyrenees or Anatolian Shepard. Dogs are probably the most versatile and can work for sheep, goats, cattle and poultry.

Negatives with them are getting them trained. The puppy stage can be difficult — they can chew up things, dig holes in the pasture, and sometimes are hard to contain in a fence. They also require being fed separate and occasionally, depending on their hair type, may need to be shaved yearly. If properly trained, they can work for just about any operation.

Another option would be a donkey. Donkeys are not common to protect poultry, but a lot of people have success using them with cattle. Some people use them in sheep/goat flocks and have success also.

It’s just important to get one that is trained properly, as they can attack baby calves, sheep and goats if they have not been raised around them all their life.

Donkeys require the least amount of upkeep. They will occasionally need their feet trimmed, but they can eat with your livestock and don’t require shearing.

Last, a llama is an option. They are a lot like the donkey in the way they work. They are suitable for livestock but not poultry. They can graze/eat alongside the livestock. Negatives for them would be that they may want to play with young lamb, goats and calves and could potentially harm them.

They will also require shearing and hoof trimming. They may also share the parasite loads with your livestock, so they will require deworming.

No matter what type of guard animal you choose, try to get one that is well trained and from good bloodlines. It is also important to make sure that they stay with your animals and don’t try to escape or run away. The key is getting them to bond with your stock.

When looking for a good guard animal, make sure that they are purchased from someone with experience in raising guard animals and that they stand behind the animals they produce in case you experience any issues.

If you have any questions about what type of guardian might work best for you and your operation, please call Morgan Watts, livestock agent, at Rowan County Cooperative Extension, 704-216-8970, or stop by at 2727-A Old Concord Road.



Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301


Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map


Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers


One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list


No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road


RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years


Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet


Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament


Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina


House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot


Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?


Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road


Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business


Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges


Rep. Amber Baker discusses legislative session during Rowan Democrats breakfast meeting


Thousands of locals, out-of-towners gather for a groovy time at annual Hippie Fest


N.C. Zoo ready for expansion if lawmakers OK funding


RSS budgeting for tens of millions in federal COVID-19 relief funding

East Spencer

‘Back in full swing’ for the spring: East Spencer community gathers for food, fun and fellowship at Spring Fest


Rowan native Lingle among those honored with NC Military Veterans Hall of Fame induction


Former pro baseball player, Tar Heel standout Russ Adams finds new career with Trident Insured