Experts say small donkeys can make good protectors of sheep and goats. Just don't let them get fat. Transcript of radio broadcast.
the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
burro is a small donkey. Donkeys are related to horses; both are part
of the equine family. Another way people say it is BOOR-oh. The name comes from
Spanish and, before that, from a Latin term for small horse.
reach an average height of over a meter and can weigh more than two hundred
twenty-five kilograms. The long-eared animals are often gray with white noses,
jaws and undersides. But they can also have coats of red or blue.
Burros are known for their sure footing
on mountains while carrying heavy loads. In the United States, they are best
known for their history as pack animals in the desert Southwest. In fact,
burros in the wild are related to pack animals that ran away or were freed by
gold miners and others.
burros are not only good pack animals. They can also help calm and control
nervous horses and guard sheep and goats on farms. Robin Rivello works with the
New Jersey chapter of the American Mustang and Burro Association. She says
burros have protected farm animals even against bears.
may have the idea that burros and donkeys do not like being told what to do.
But experts say the animals are not being stubborn; they just like to take
their time considering what they will do.
the United States, there are breeders who raise and sell burros. Or Americans
can buy a burro taken from the wild by a federal agency, the Bureau of Land
who get a wild burro need to "gentle" the animal.
"Gentling" means training it to accept the human attention needed for
care and grooming.
Burros like to clean each other. But
these desert animals groom themselves with dust instead of water. So it is
normal for a burro to have some dirt in its coat. A brush can remove hardened
like Robin Rivello advise owners not to let their burros eat too much. Being
fat can ruin their health. Overweight burros can also develop a condition that
threatens their well-known walking ability.
Robin Rivello says a burro's feet should
be cleaned and cared for every six to eight weeks. But she warns owners not to
raise the feet as high as with a horse. A burro's legs differ from a horse's
legs. The pain could make the burro kick.
And that's the VOA Special English
Agriculture Report, written by Jerilyn Watson. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts
of our reports are at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Jim Tedder.