Coyote problem? Try a donkey defense

Published: Jul. 17, 2012 at 10:20 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2012 at 10:20 PM EDT
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Pearly Vereen uses nearly a dozen donkeys to protect his livestock from coyotes.
Pearly Vereen uses nearly a dozen donkeys to protect his livestock from coyotes.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Coyotes are everywhere in North Carolina. Even though you don't always see them, they're in all 100 counties, according to the Wildlife Resource Commission.

Pearly Vereen first saw coyotes on his farm in the 1980s. Failed attempts to fight them off with shotguns forced him to think differently. For the last 10 years, he's relied on a stubborn security system of donkeys.

"Donkeys will aggravate them to where they've got to stay out," said Vereen.

Before his floppy-eared guards protected the herd, coyotes would sneak all over. Each calf caught by the crafty canines was a cut to Vereen's paycheck.

"These cows are my paycheck – my livelihood," he said.

Since he hired his first five stubborn sentries, Vereen said he hasn't lost a calf. Now with twice as many maintaining the pasture, the donkeys mingle with the cows without any trouble.

"The cows go to the shade, so the donkeys go to the shade," Vereen said.

Just because they're cooling off, doesn't mean his donkey defense system is lax. Vereen said donkeys can be aggressive if provoked. He had to separate his smallest guard just to keep him safe from the big jack.

"I would've thought it was a joke if you told me one could bite another's tail off," he said. "But I saw it."

Vereen has had so much success with his donkeys that some of his neighbors are using the animals to help keep their farms safe too.

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