Old White Donkey is Town Celebrity. But Farmer Says She's Just 'Humble Guardian'


To the casual observer, a donkey on a farm is nothing out of the ordinary. In fact, one might hardly even notice a donkey in the midst of fields and cows.

But there is a white donkey in Charlotte, Michigan, that has been getting a lot of attention. So much so that this guardian donkey has her own fan club.

It is common for homesteaders and farmers to get guardian animals, usually dogs, to help protect their flocks.

Guardian animals will attack predators and are often used to watch over the young and vulnerable animals, such as calves, sheep, goats, and chickens.

But dogs are not the only animals used as guardians, with some people choosing alpacas or donkeys instead.

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According to Modern Farmer, donkeys are a great choice because “if trained right, [they] can be loyal and effective farm hands that are naturally inclined to not only herd but also protect sheep and goats from predators such as coyotes and roaming dogs.”

So when Darrell Shultz needed a guardian animal to watch over his calves, he knew Darlin’ the donkey was the right choice.

Darlin’, who has now been with Shultz for 15 years, stands at just 4 feet tall with her pink muzzle providing a stark contrast to her white fur.

After a woman named Jenny Bowerman posted on Facebook about the beloved donkey, other locals came forward to express their own affection for her.

A video post about Darlin’ even had a comment from a bus driver about how the special needs kids he drove would play a “Find Darlin'” game as they drove by her pasture because there were so many places for the donkey to “hide” in it.

Schultz told the Lansing State Journal that “Darlin’ just doesn’t like the limelight,” and can even be a bit shy with him.

Would you join the fan club for Darlin' the celebrity white donkey?

Even after 15 years, he still needs to “coax her close [with a pocketful of treats] whenever he visits her pasture” in order to do things such as trim her hooves.

Other media picked up on Darlin’s story and a video was made by Animal Kind that tells a little bit of her story. Shultz is shown interacting with Darlin’.

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Shultz confirmed to the Lansing State Journal that even with all this additional attention, “the notoriety hasn’t yet gone to her head.”

This is backed up in the Lansing State Journal article which notes that, “A short trek out to her partially enclosed shelter, and a few treats, gets you face-to-face with Darlin’, but short of a few sniffs and the occasional ear twitch, she’s unconcerned with any adoring public. Or media.”

While donkeys can be a beautiful and helpful addition to a homestead or farm, as guardian animals they are not a straight out replacement for dogs.

For those who may now be interested in getting a donkey as a guardian animal, Modern Farmer quoted Jan Dohner who explained that, “Donkeys can’t handle the same predators as dogs and they won’t protect your farm against small pests like raccoons or birds, but they also won’t keep you up all night barking.”

For now, Darlin’ the donkey continues to serve as a guardian on Shultz’s farm. She might be hiding in her pasture, but she is always bringing joy to all the children and adults who drive by, sometimes making special trips just to see her and wave.

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