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Why Ranchers Keep Donkeys With Their Herd Animals

For Amanda and Oran Taylor, cattle ranching was something they were meant to do. Building a first-generation cattle ranch in Kansas, the couple runs approximately 40 head of cows. If you look out over their grasslands, you’ll see something different among the cows — donkeys. Though they’re cute and incredibly friendly, the donkeys are kept with the cattle as guard animals. It may not seem like animals as large as cows need protection from coyotes or wild dogs, but their calves do. Donkeys are excellent guard animals, and they’re a breeze to care for — they go where the cows go and eat what the cows eat. The good thing is that they’re paying off in a big way. The Taylors say that since introducing the donkeys to the cow herd more than seven years ago, they’ve only lost one calf to coyotes. Donkeys may be thought to be dumb, but they’re definitely filling a need among the ranching community.