Kick-ass! How donkeys saved this farmer thousands
WHAT would be the last straw for your if your livelihood was threatened by wild dogs?
For livestock owner Eliezer Robinson, it was taking hit after hit on his property, Robinson Livestock in Coramba until $120,000 worth of cattle were lost in dog attacks.
Trialling everything from baits, trapping and shooting, the answer to his problems came in an unlikely form.
With extra large ears, a stubborn attitude and a noise called braying that's hard to miss, feral donkeys have been a saving grace for Eliezers farm.
"We lost $120,000 worth of cattle this year before the donkeys came," Eliezer said.
The battle with wild dogs started when two old dogs that had been hanging around for years attacking crippled or injured livestock were shot.
"That was the worst mistake," he said.
With the area no longer claimed, a pack of eight were quick to move in.
"They came and they just hit us. We'd only been to a dispersal last year and bought 80 really good cows. We paid $2,000 for them in calf but as they were calving, the dogs would knock them off.
With no calves and only fat cows, Eliezer decided to sell them, losing $80,000.
He was forced to move his stock as the dogs continuously barrelled the calves.
"We had to take everything off here because they didn't care. They weren't eating them, they were just pulling them down, we couldn't save a lot of them.
"They were giving us hell, I use to have to run down the paddock and chase them off.
Fed up with the continuous hounding, Eliezer recruited a couple of shooters to take care of the dogs.
"They shot the dogs but only got four of them and not the alpha.
"That mob consisted of the big alpha, a black German shephard, bull mastiff cross flaming dingo thing that was bigger than the donkeys, two similar sized yellow and black dogs and another petite dog that went with them.
Eliezer said he went to the Local Land Services but all they wanted to do was provide baits which didn't work for the dogs on his property.
They next tried putting out traps and a camera but all the dogs did was move to another track.
"Other times, we sat there waiting for the fog to lift so we could have a shot at them.
The camera would later reveal the dogs sitting up the hill watching the people.
"I said that's it, I've had a gut full and someone said to get a donkey.
"They just kept killing or wounding the cattle and it just wouldn't stop but as soon as the donkeys come, it stopped.
Unsure about the effects they would have on wild dogs, Jeffery was the first donkey to set foot on the property.
"He turned up and then no dogs went into the paddock where he was.
After contacting a donkey dealer in the Northern Territory, 120 feral donkeys were soon on their way via b-double to his property in Coramba.
"Since they tuned up, no dog problems.
"They just hate dogs, it's bred into them. You see it, they tolerate the dogs when you're around but when wild dogs turn up, they just want to kill them.
"They're like the best guard dog you could ever see.
Eliezer now sells feral donkeys to other people and farmers dealing with wild dogs and is impressed by the animals toughness and resilience.
After only a couple of days with their new owners, he's seen people leading and brushing them.
"Donkeys are the only way.
"I'd just had enough, the government wouldn't help, they don't even care, they don't do nothing and it was a whole disappointment to me. They should be onto this, this is only the start of the wild dog problem.
Eliezer now sells donkeys for $850 plus GST.
For more information on the effectiveness, call Robinson and Son Produce on 0427 561 464.