Donkey idea given the ass

03 Dec, 2012 03:00 AM
Wild dogs have decimated the small stock industry in the Southern Rangelands

THE latest tool in the fight against wild dogs has left many in the pastoral industry in WA scratching their heads.

Queensland producers are now using donkeys as part of the arsenal in controlling wild dog attacks on their sheep stations.

Queensland Landmark wool manager Bruce Lines recently organised a shipment of 128 donkeys which were purchased by producers from all over the State.

The donkeys allegedly have a good track record of warding off dogs and Mr Lines said they would act as guardian animals.

But he admitted producers would have a lot of work to do to get the donkeys to bond with the sheep.

Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) pastoral committee executive officer Edgar Richardson was a little baffled by the news but said at this point most pastoralists were willing to try anything.

"Wild dogs have decimated the small stock industry in the Southern Rangelands," he said.

"So if someone says it will work then I bet anyone out there will give it a go."

However there was the serious issue of controlling the donkeys, which were already considered a pest in the pastoral regions.

Mr Richardson said the only way around it was to only use female sterilised donkeys.

"Sterilisation would be the first step, they are already a massive pest and you wouldn't want to exasperate that problem," he said.

In response to claims the donkeys act as guardians, Mr Richardson was sceptical.

"There are huge numbers in the East Pilbara and the Kimberley and there is still a serious dog problem up there," he said.

"Although the possibility of training them is likely, but I don't know how you would get them to bond with the sheep, just put them in a yard and hope for the best maybe."

PGA wild dog spokesman Will Scott said the idea was nothing short of ridiculous.

He said the situation in the Kimberley and the Pilbara proved that it didn't work.

"If they do control dogs then why have we spent millions of dollars shooting them from helicopters up there," Mr Scott said.

"It is the biggest load of rubbish I have come across."

Mr Scott said even if it did work and donkeys did aid in chasing the dogs away, it was not a solution to the problem.

"All you are doing is shifting the problem onto someone else, you still have to kill the dogs," he said.

"It is out of desperation that we are going down this path."

According to Mr Scott the only way to effectively control the problem was through baiting, shooting, trapping and fences.

"It is how they were controlled in the 1900s," he said.

"We need to stop trying to invent the wheel."

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farmer Barb
3/12/2012 8:43:59 AM, on Queensland Country Life

the idea of using donkeys to control wild dogs or dingos is fine on small holdings but I agree with Will Scott about the problem of bonding them to the flock and their pest status. The bonding would need to be done soon after birth and the donkies would have to be sterilised. Personally, I cannot see this working on very large stations.
Jen from the bush
3/12/2012 9:04:43 AM, on Queensland Country Life

heehawheehawheehaw Hasn't anyone experienced dreamtime stories before?
3/12/2012 11:10:43 AM, on The Land

Whinging lazy graziers. Much easier to shoot or poison a problem that try something new.
big country
3/12/2012 12:25:01 PM, on Farm Weekly

the key to sucess is getting adolescent donkeys, and keeping them sperated(only one to a paddock/area) a castrated jack would work as well as a female(which wouldnt have to be sterilised if its on its own. Donkeys are far less of a threat than dogs, or camels to our industry. in my opinion nothing can replace well managed baiting, but if a donkey kills, or chases off a few dogs then it is a win.-we have lots of dog issues with calves, and intend to give the idea a go, not just write it off. Remember: there are always plenty of people that say it cant be done,
Mrs Mac
3/12/2012 12:28:47 PM, on Queensland Country Life

I have used donkeys for many years to keep dogs away from calving cows but like people there are good and bad donkeys and people forget that they also need hoofs trimmed etc so need to be handled and in my experience jacks are nothing but a nuisance so need to be cut. They won't kill a dog but do chase them away but you do need to bond them to the anaimls they are to protect and with wild donkeys that isn't easy.
3/12/2012 3:16:44 PM, on The Land

The Donkey will work well in large areas if they are used in pairs. I have seen donkeys kill coyote by stamping them to death. I think Mr Scott need to think outside of the box.
3/12/2012 6:26:02 PM, on Queensland Country Life

Right - lets see... I cant have horses in this country as it is full of 1 Poisons that roll equines 2 Virus several that roll mammals including humans and horses 3 Supplement licks that I doubt will agree with donkeys Why bother... there are enough donkeys in Australia running loose in government.
3/12/2012 6:30:50 PM, on Queensland Country Life

Hey canada - it must have been pretty sad coyote. Outside the box is all good -just dont fly off the planet with the pixies now.
X Ag Socialist
3/12/2012 6:47:59 PM, on Farm Weekly

I will work and quickly too. First locate some Donkeys, Chop Donkeys into small pieces, inject with Strychnine spread well . Soon no more bother with dogs.
4/12/2012 7:42:20 AM, on The Land

I have an infertile female donkey running with calves: they bonded immediately. She does chase dogs. But I think Edgar Richardson is right: you'd only be chasing the problem onto someone else's place. And if you ran more than one donkey, it's unlikely they'd bond with another species. So no solution for larger places.
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Well Said Mathew, On our place before we could ever have a wireless internet system, we would
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Good points, Matthew. Maybe you should send this piece to our new Communications Minister Mitch
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Why has AWI refused to comment?