Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Farm Tangent 2: Protection Animal

While Bailey had a great ride on Monday, I'll save my excitement for a later post in case today's ride changes things (again).

Pictured: Horse with very few survival instincts.

In the mean time, I've been looking at donkeys and mules... not just because they are cute, but because I read somewhere that, beyond being a companion (and probably an easier keeper than buying another horse, at least when my preference tends to be TBs) they serve to help protect their herd. If you read the blog, you know that Foxie is older, and Bailey is silly and stupid; neither of them seems to be particularly worldly when it comes to predators. At our new farm, we will be farther north than I have ever lived, and 30 minutes north of their current, busy boarding barn. I don't worry about wild animals because it's so busy around the farm that there are always people and dogs around. Our farm will be much quieter, and while we are definitely not without neighbors, I still worry; the area we are moving into has plenty of civilization, but it's generally bunched closely together with big areas of wooded, farm or undeveloped land in between.

Technically, we have a good chance to be visited by black bears (though usually just the adolescent ones who are stupid), coyotes and... technically....wolves. Those are in addition to other less scary wild animals (deer, beavers, muskrats, racoons, foxes...), which I worry about less.

However, I have nothing but cursory familiarity with mules and donkeys in general. So, time to crowdsource advice from the internet! Part of me thinks they will be fine (which means we can focus on filling the 3rd stall with J's horse, or another riding animal) and part of me is convinced that they need something to be sensible and worldly, because lord knows they are not.

So, Internet:

What do you know about protection animals? Have you, or do you currently have a protection animal (vs an animal that is just a companion)? Beyond some awesome youtube videos I've seen, do protection animals... actually do their jobs?



  1. I'm curious to see what you find out! We had black bears all over in PA that occasionally got the horses that were turned out overnight riled up into a frenzy.

  2. Idk if bears would actually go after horses or not, but I have heard of mules as guard animals. Mostly bc they make a lot of noise if there's an intruder. This could be a wild animal or a stranger on the property

  3. I am in a totally different area than you (Midwest) so YMMV in terms of animals, but we've never had any kind of protection animals. I would definitely save the stall for another horse ;)