Sunday, June 15, 2008

A New Type of Deer Deterrent

Pesky deer eating your plants?
Are you tired of waking in the morning to find your beautiful
< insert treasured plant, vegetable, or fruit bush here > devoured?
Are you anxious to reduce the damage caused these ravenous beasts?

I've found that six donkeys seem to work wonders:

Unfortunately, my trigger finger on my camera wasn't quick enough to catch the deer initially bounding through the pasture in front of the donks, but I did catch him - for a split second - going through our gate at the bottom of the hill as the donkeys started to sound off and went after him. I'm hoping you can see him at the bottom of the hill despite the graininess of the YouTube video.

The donkeys were so upset by this intruder on "their" property, it cracked me up! I definitely saw first hand why they have acquired the reputation for being great livestock protectors.


  1. Very noisy donkeys. That would scare any deer away for sure. It's great that they are so protective of their home.

    Your blog posts always brighten my day. I really look forward to reading them.

  2. Danni,

    I'm thinking we're gonna need to borrow your donkeys to give our deer a run for their money!

    Do they work at keeping places racoon free, too? Cause if they do, I could well be in love!

    Great posting!



  3. That deer has a great story to tell its grandchildren. "And six aliens chased me through the forest...."

  4. Your garden looks beautiful! I've always heard of donkeys being a great deterrant, but have never seen them in action...this is great :)

  5. That is absolutely hysterical...go donkeys!!

  6. Goodness, it's like they've never seen a deer before. It's interesting to watch how they bray and huddle before they all decide, "let's get 'em!". It's like they have to come up with a plan first.
    I guess they earn their reputation as livestock protectors legitimately. Sure wouldn't want to be a coyote!

  7. I think ceecee's got it... they huddle like football teams, figure out their play/strategy, then go after the intruder. Go donkeys! Pretty cool video.

  8. Hahahahahahaha. My stomach hurts from laughing. Is it me or do those donkeys look healthier?
    They seem so happy. It's as if they are saying, "this is our house now deer, hit the road!"

  9. I'm impressed with those terrific herd dynamics, working together to assess the situation.

    But Golly! Are they loud,or what?
    I thought my goats were loud. Our new Mini Mancha bleats throughout the day and we live in a valley where noise echoes and carries far.

    This donkey video just makes me even more wistful about donkeys of my own, for my neighbors would totally kill me for having them.

    How close are you to any neighbors and does anyone else have noisy livestock, too?
    Do your donkeys seem more vocal at certain times of the day, like morning or at dinnertime?

    How is your hubby taking the braying? I remember you mentioning how he didn't want roosters because they are too loud.

    From your video I would say that roosters are much quieter than donkeys! haha

  10. That is so funny. I have seen the neighbor's mini donkey chase a fox out of their pasture. They seem very happy in their new home.

  11. Hi Jen, yeah, noisy. That was the first time I had heard them all bray together like that. I was laughing so hard, I could hardly hold the camera still!

    Hi Dina, wow - I can just see it get rid of Harley the noisy rooster and, instead, have some donkeys come to visit. Wouldn't your neighbor with the airhorn and obscenities love that??! :-)

    Hi seasonseatings - Funny thing, just yesterday, the lone deer was back again, this time in a different pasture, and the donks wouldn't even give him the time of day!

    Hi Robbyn - great, huh? That was my first time seeing that, too!

    Hi jean ann - I'm thinking we need t-shirts: "Go Donkeys!" Only we would know what this means! :-)

    Hi ceecee - it totally looks like they're discussing their plan of attack! LOL

    Hi rural writer - It's so much fun watching them because their behavior is so different from any other animal I've ever had. I never expected them to react that way to the poor deer!

    Hi outerbanks mom - sooo glad that you got a good laugh out of this - it's salve for the soul, you know! :-) As I mentioned, I was giggling so hard while filming this, I was worried about shaking the camera!

    Hi twinville, wow. My answer is probably going to be long. Perhaps even something that would be more efficient in a phone call :-), but here goes....
    Regarding the braying in this video: keep in mind that they were clearly in a state of anxious excitement over the appearance of the deer. I was so surprised by the intensity of it. I was tickled I had my camera with me because this was the first time that I had heard all the donks' "voices" together.

    Regarding my neighbors, everyone around us lives on 5 or more acres. I feel a bit sorry for our closest neighbor, a geodesic (sp) dome that is closer to our barn than we are, but when I met the man who lived there a month or so ago, he was so hard of hearing that I had to yell to be heard (hopefully, this is to our advantage now!). We have cows and horses close by, but we also have a jet-engine car that is fired up at least once a week (he tours car shows around the country) that literally rattles everyone's houses and windows, and a vineyard 2 blocks away that fires off M80's seasonally to frighten the crows away from the grapes. I'm beginning to learn that the image of "peace and quiet in the country" is a lot like how people remember the "good old days", you know? It's possible it never really existed. :-)

    Regarding frequency and time of day for braying, there is only one of my donks that is a consistent brayer, so I think (in my limited experience) that the vocalness is more of a personality thing. He brays at feeding time and when one of the jennets is in heat. :-)

    And you are SO right, Jim doesn't complain nearly so much about the roosters (Roopert and Pip) any more! :-)

  12. Gee I hope my guineas can do that!!! They are shipped out tomorrow!!! YIKES!!!

  13. Wow Daniella, you better be nice to the donkeys. They are so protective of their territory, and I'm sure that also includes you. Beats paying huge amounts to Brink's Security Systems!!!

  14. You are so right about the myth of "peace and quiet in country living". I have similar experiences here in the foothills. There is always someone revving an engine around here. Maybe a weedeater or chainsaw, perhaps a backhoe grinding and beeping all day, my neighbor who just loves to leave his diesel pickup truck running for an hour in the early morning. At least my other neighbor only starts his motorcycle when he plans to ride it out of the neighborhood. Then there are the barking dogs...I really thought it would be more quiet livng here on my 3 acres in the mountains.Sometimes it is very peaceful and serene. Usually in the middle of the night...last night's full moon and bright stars were beautiful.

  15. The puppy dog is going to be out of a job with the donkey's around.. They are definitely some noisy ones.

    Big Sloppy Kisses
    Gus and Louie

  16. I've heard about their talent for keeping intruders away. I think they'd be wonderful to have around here to help with the coyote/deer/racoon problems all our farms face here. Not only that but they look like a lot of fun, a creature you could enjoy a long stroll with in the evening. Thanks for sharing your donkeys. I'm learning so much about them!

  17. Wow. Great film! Some friends of our down the street had a big coyote problem (problem in the sense that the coyotes were eating all their turkeys). The couple adopted two rescue donkeys who scare away the coyotes. I think that's fabulous.


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