(Note: Adam and Eve are the only remaining donkeys on Hendrix Farms. They are not for sale.)
Next to Luther himself, the next most lovable creature on Hendrix Farms is the donkey (ask to meet Adam when you visit – and bring a handkerchief, because he loves to give sugar!). These animals are known for their pleasant personalities and ability to perform any number of tasks, such as:
Sheep or Goat Protection A single donkey is introduced to the herd and undergoes a bonding stage. After it has bonded with the sheep/goats, it will protect them against canine predators (fox, coyote, and dogs) as it would one of its own. This is extremely beneficial in areas where the sheep/goats have many acres to graze.
Halter Breaking The standard size donkey is also very adept at halter breaking young calves (polled or dehorned) and yearling horses. The donkey wears a collar that is connected to the halter of the animal that is being taught to lead. The animals are then turned loose in an enclosure, always under supervision. Where the donkey wants to go, it will go. The colt or calf has no option but to follow. By allowing the donkey to perform the unpleasant task of lead training, the “trainee” doesn’t associate people with this particular stressful situation. In fact, when you release the colt or calf from the donkey, they are usually very willing to follow you.
Companionship The donkey is a wonderful companion to foals at weaning time. The donkey is allowed to run with the mare and foal prior to weaning, then kept with the foal when weaning takes place. The foal has a calm, steadying influence from the donkey and looks to it for support.
Stable Companion Nervous horses have been known to calm down with a donkey companion as a stall or pasture mate. With horses recovering from surgery or injury or with nervous horses such as race or show horses, the donkey seems to have a calming effect.
Handicapped Riding Programs The donkey has shown time and time again how wonderful it is with children and handicapped people. In many areas, especially England, the donkey is used extensively in riding and animal companion programs for the physically and mentally handicapped.
Baby Sitter The donkey naturally loves children. While there are a few exceptions, the donkey is not usually a biter or kicker. They have the patience of Job and therefore are ideally suited to being around children.
Working Donkey The donkey is used all over the world for an infinite variety of jobs. Here in this country, some common uses are recreational riding; recreational driving, both single and in teams; packing, many backpackers use a donkey (which they often call a burro), to carry the heavy load since the animals walk at about a human’s foot pace and are such enjoyable companions on the trail; skidding or pulling things on the homestead such as firewood, trash, etc.; pulling a sledge, travois or wheeled cart to carry things for the small farm such as barb wire for fencing, trash, or anything that needs to be moved; the donkey can also carry such items on its back in panniers if that is more convenient than pulling it; showing, many adults and children enjoy showing their animals in the donkey and mule shows around the country; the different kinds of work your animal can do to help you are limited only to your imagination.