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Donkeys Teach Stubborn Calves How To Lead
Here's a new twist to breaking calves to lead buy or rent a donkey to do the job!
At least a couple of farm families, one in Indiana and the other in Minnesota, tie a donkey to a calf, about 2 ft. apart. Before long, the donkey's stubborness and strong neck win out.
We first learned about the idea from James Kirkendall, Tipton, Ind., who was featured in FARM SHOW two years ago (Vol. 3, No. 6, 1979). He buys or rents donkeys to annually teach a dozen or so club calves to lead. "If you want to break several calves, it might pay to own one," he advises. "Prices run from $100 to $150 if you want to buy a donkey."
Kirkendall uses a castrated jack or a jenny, with a breaking halter on the calf and neck strap on the donkey. A double swivel on the chain keeps it from getting twisted, and the animals should be hooked up at least 2 ft. apart, but no more than 3 ft. "so the donkey can't kick the calf and hurt it".
At Alpha, Minn., Larry and Carole Harries have been breaking calves with donkeys for about 10 years. "It works great," says Carole. She and Larry break six or so a year, following about the same procedure as Kirkendall.
The Harries also occasionally rent a donkey for the purpose. "And, we have lots of calls from people wanting to buy burros," says Carole. "People who rent them usually end up buying and owning the animal."
Neither Kirkendall nor the Harries feel the practice is inhumane for either the donkey or the calf. "We've never had an animal get hurt," notes Carole Harries. "Before tying a calf to a burro, we keep it tied to a fence post, or in the barn for a period of time, which does the preliminary breaking. Otherwise, it would be hard on the burro."
Kirkendall says it doesn't really hurt the animals, but that it is important to tie them the proper distance apart.
Both parties emphasize that the system doesn't work perfectly on every calf. Some calves never break to lead, and it usually is necessary to work with a calf further in person to get it adequately ready to show.
For more details, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Larry and Carole Harries, Rt. 1, Alpha, Minn. 56111 (ph 507 847-4322); or James Kirkendall, Rt. 3, Tipton, Ind. 46072 (ph 317 963-2626).

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1982 - Volume #6, Issue #1