Guardian donkeys prove their worth warding off wild dogs

​A Queensland grazier has turned to donkeys to ward off wild dogs and says, in the past year, he has not lost a calf in any paddocks patrolled by the feisty guardian animals.

Ian Sylvester started with two donkeys and now has 17 running with 120 cattle at Cooran on the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

He splits his droughtmaster, red brangus, santa gertrudis and red brahman breeding cows into smaller mobs — each one protected by two to three donkeys.

"When I came here in 2013 we seemed to have a lot of dogs here — you couldn't go and mow the lawn without the dogs coming to have a look and see what you were doing," Mr Sylvester said.

"A friend suggested they'd had success out at Muttaburra and Longreach with running donkeys, so we thought we'd try it."

Key points:
  • Grazier, Ian Sylvester, says running two to three donkeys to small herds of cattle works best
  • He says he hasn't lost a calf or yearling to wild dogs since running the donkeys with his herd
  • Donkeys are sensitive and need to be treated kindly

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