Hi all ... after a week-long journey into the land of pain killers and dental work, I am once again "myself" and ready to continue trying to make the adventure of moving to an acreage as seamless as possible. Four weeks to go ... yikes!!!
So, we have two horses. My daughter's horse is a performance horse and she is determined that he will spend his nights in a stall (and yes, she will be doing all the work of mucking out said stall). I'd rather my boy live out in the pasture, but he gets freaky lonely without a companion. When we brought them to our current stable he just sat at the gate and weaved all day (and chewed through a few fence boards just for good measure). Since we put them both in a paddock together, he's been happy as a clam. Of course he still weaves when she pulls her horse to work with and I'm not riding my boy, but that doesn't happen as often.
But, in hopes of her not having to muck out two stalls every day, I have been looking into donkeys. I need not only a companion, but a protector of sorts as well. Our acreage is in the foothills of Alberta, right by the mountains and we back on to crown land so it's a wildlife corridor of sorts. We have coyotes, wolves, bears, moose and the dreaded cougar. That's the one I'm worried about.
I found a lovely little mini-donk jack (yes, I will get him castrated). The mother is bigger than average (closer to a small standard) but he doesn't know how big the father was (should I be concerned about that?). A friend has told me that "putting a mini-donk in our area is like putting out a spread of McDonald's at a Weight Watchers convention". Says it's just not fair, and it'll bring the cougars right on to our land. I'd like to get a standard, but can't seem to find any available in southern alberta. Lots of minis, though.
So here's my question - is it worth the risk? Should I hold off and wait until I can find a standard and stall my boy in the meantime? I would go with goats, but I'd have to re-do all my fencing as I know goats would escape ... I'm pretty sure it's good enough for a mini donkey. I don't care about conformation - won't be breeding or anything - just want a protective companion for my boy. And, quite frankly, if a hungry cougar does come on our land I'd like there to be something other than our horses that he chooses (does that sound heartless?).
Seems to be mostly horses around us. The immediate neighbours have llamas as well. Haven't seen any mini's.