Can You Put Donkeys With Cows? (Answered)

by Kloee Ngozi
Updated on

Donkeys serve as guard animals for cattle, and they get along very well.

Cows and their calves may not appear to require protection from coyotes or roving canines, but they do.

Donkeys and cows are frequently a good match. They are fantastic for one other’s company, and the donkey, in particular, needs someone nearby.

Donkeys are gregarious and clever animals who dislike being left alone in the pasture all day.

Cows and donkeys both enjoy being out in the open pasture. In this case, should they be kept together?

Can they eat the same food?

Can You Put Donkeys With Cows

Cattle and donkeys can graze the same grass in the same pasture, consume identical, high-quality hay, and drink the same water in most cases.

Donkeys, on the other hand, should not be fed grain-based feeds intended for cattle.

Some additions in cattle feed can be harmful to donkeys in small amounts, while other ingredients may not kill the donkey but are unlikely to help it.

Urea is a nonprotein nitrogen source that is typically found in ruminant animals’ diets, such as cattle.

This feed ingredient gives nitrogen to the intestine (ruminal) microflora for use in the manufacture of microbial protein, which can then be used to provide a considerable amount of the protein requirements of ruminants.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on donkeys and llamas living together

Can they be kept in the same space?

It’s possible, as long as you take some safety measures.

When it comes to sharing a barn, as long as each animal has its stall, that’s no problem.

However, taking care of and feeding donkeys and cows all at the same time can be a challenge.

Donkeys and cows can legally share the same grazing ground when it comes to grazing. It’s also possible to feed them the same high-quality hay, although cattle require less nutritional hay than donkeys because of the several cycles of digestion they use in their digestive systems.

Do donkeys protect cows from predators?

Affirmatively, they can. Donkeys are used as cattle guards because they get along so well with the cows.

Although cows and their calves don’t appear to need protection from coyotes or roving canines, they do.

Donkeys, despite their stubborn nickname and image, are knowledgeable and adept livestock guards. They can detect predators easily thanks to their keen senses of sight and hearing.

Can they cross breed?

While cows and donkeys are capable of mating, they cannot crossbreed. They can mate because of their size and composition, but they can’t reproduce because of their genetics.

They can, however, breed with other animals on the property.

The animals that can and cannot be crossed with cows and horses must be identified. Some animals from different species within the same animal family can effectively crossbreed.

There can be mating between donkeys and cows, however, the two species cannot be crossed to produce hybrid children.

Because donkeys belong to the Equidae family of animals and cows do not, they cannot successfully crossbreed.

Things to note before keeping horses and cows together

1) Cows might attract (too many) flies

There are always a lot of flies when there are cows around. There are some types of flies that are more aggravating to horses than others.

You must pay close attention to the horse’s behaviour when faced with flies. It could ignore them completely or be irate at them to the point of being hostile.

Some files, in particular, must be examined; these are referred to as horn flies.

Here’s what it appears to be like:

When it comes to cows, they’re everywhere, but your horse shouldn’t have a lot of them. They’ll nip at the horse anywhere from 20 to 40 times a day, which is aggravating.

Removing the cattle is the best option for getting rid of them for good.

For the simple reason that if you’re in an area where horn flies are prevalent, they’ll congregate around the areas where cattle are, too. As a result, you’ll have to locate your horse as a new best friend.

2) Parasites: What you should know

Both cows and donkeys may tolerate parasites in their intestines for an extended period. The parasites that a particular species attracts should be taken into consideration. Because a parasite can be harmful to one sort of animal but not the other, depending on the mammal it affects.

Generally speaking, cows and donkeys don’t have the same parasites living inside of them. They don’t generally harbor harmful parasites, but if they do, it’s not a big deal.

As a result, this is fantastic news.

If you want to make sure that the location where you want to reside is a good place for them to travel together, talk to your veterinarian. If your horse is infected with parasites, you may need to deworm it.

Also check out this article I wrote on keeping donkeys and goats together

3) They should be fed separately

You should never feed cows and donkeys the same thing.

It’s common for cattle to be fed a grain blend that isn’t good for equine consumption. The cow’s feeding additives are harmful to donkeys. When a donkey starts eating cow food, it can be deadly.

As a result, procedures must be established to accommodate them separately.

They can both walk on the grass in the field, but they shouldn’t be able to eat from each other’s food. As a result, you’ll have to bring them inside if you want to feed them.

4) You should check the fencing

Donkeys are far more inquisitive creatures than cows. This also means that a barbed-wire fence can be used to confine cattle, which is NOT a good idea when dealing with donkeys.

You must ensure that the fencing is safe for donkeys while also keeping them contained.

They need a higher fence and shouldn’t be subjected to excessive voltage, such as electric fences built for strong cattle.

5) Donkeys and cows do not eat the same hay

Cows have an unusually large gut. They have a system in place that allows them to repeatedly chew the same food without getting sick of it.

This also means that they may survive on very low-quality hay and still acquire enough nourishment.

Donkeys, on the other hand, require a high standard of hay to maintain their health and wellbeing.

Because of this, they have a simpler digestive system, which is most comparable to the one found in humans.

Because their digestive systems are inferior to those of cows, they require hay that is more expensive than that which you can feed your cows because they cannot digest the cheaper hay as effectively.

6) They don’t eat the same type of grass

Donkeys and cattle are both herbivores. This means that they will eat things like grass and other greenery.

However, they don’t all eat the same kind of grass, or even the same part of the grass in some cases.

When it comes to grass, donkeys require a low fructan content, while cows require more.

Consider this before you decide on the type of grass to plant in your yard.

Some types of grass have a high fructan content that donkeys have a difficult time digesting.

This may cause issues with their digestive systems.

Will donkeys kill calves?

In reality, Donkeys are just doing what Donkeys do when they play; they require a playmate who can also participate in Donkey-style games.

Donkeys are capable of killing newborn animals such as sheep, calves, and goats, as well as canines.

Do donkeys calm down cows?

Donkeys are utilized as livestock guardians because of their innate antipathy to canines and ability to keep them away from a herd.

Donkeys are frequently used in horse racing because of the perception that they soothe irritated horses.

Are cows good companions for donkeys?

Sheep and cows, particularly small breeds like Dexter’s, can be good friends for donkeys as can sheep and goats.

They can share a pasture and graze peacefully side by side all day. … Horses and ostriches are herbivores, and ostriches prefer to be in a “herd.”


While it’s entirely safe for all of your cows to share your donkey’s barn, extra care must be taken to keep their feed separate.

Store donkey feed, if feasible, in a separate location. In order to avoid cross-contamination, separate containers for cattle feed and donkey feed should be used.

Remove any cow grain from your donkey’s diet immediately and call your veterinarian if this happens.

Your cow and donkey can get along just well if you have a small hobby farm or homestead.

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About the author

Kloee Ngozi

Kloee is a backyard farmer and avid gardener who enjoys tending to her garden and plants. She is so engrossed with her plants that she has pet names for all of them. She likes to relax with a bottle of wine and read a book.


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