Young Donkey Care

By Amanda Maddox

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You have waited an entire year for your new baby to get here, so knowing what to do to ensure his survival is important. Donkey foaling is much like foaling a horse; it generally doesn’t require human intervention. However, after the young donkey arrives, he needs a little help to keep him on the right track.

Step 1

Dry the baby with clean towels right after birth. This keeps him from getting chilled and possibly getting sick.

Step 2

Dip the baby donkey’s umbilical stump into a five percent iodine solution as soon as possible after the cord breaks. This cleans the area and helps prevent bacteria from entering his bloodstream.

Step 3

Watch the baby until he stands and starts nursing. The jenny generally nudges him and urges him to stand. He should stand within the first two hours of birth and should nurse within four hours. When he begins nursing, he gets colostrum, which is filled with the mother’s antibodies, crucial to the foal’s survival.

Step 4

Pay attention to the foal’s bowel movements. He must pass meconium -- the hard, dark stool -- within the first 24 hours.

Step 5

Provide shelter for your jenny and baby after foaling. Since the baby donkey has a thick coat, she is susceptible to getting a cold if she gets wet, so she must have a place to stay dry for a few weeks after birth. However, keeping your baby inside 24 hours a day is not necessary. Simply allow her to get out of the weather during rain or snow.

Step 6

Provide fresh water for your young donkey along with a mineral block. The donkey requires both to maintain his health and grow properly.

Step 7

Feed your young donkey when you see her start trying to nibble the jenny’s food. Provide a feed formulated for young foals from your local farm store. Also give your donkey a high-quality, low-protein hay, such as Bermuda. Avoid high-protein hays, like alfalfa.

Step 8

Wean your baby from the mother’s milk at around 6 months. Weaning him too early may cause him to develop growth problems that require additional care. Separate him from his mother and make sure both he a safe, enclosed area to inhabit. Placing more than one young donkey together helps during the separation since donkeys are herd animals. However, if you have only the one baby, a safe stall may be the best option.

Step 9

Contact your farrier and set up a hoof-trimming schedule. While most babies do not need their hooves trimmed until after weaning, it is important for young donkies to become accustomed to having their hooves handled.

Items you will need

  • 3 clean towels
  • 5 percent iodine solution
  • Foal feed
  • Low-protein hay
  • Water
  • Mineral block

Tip

  • When weaning, make sure you provide separate water and food for your baby. Also, spend as much time with him as possible. He will look forward to your company; the time will help create a bond between you and him.

Warnings

  • Diarrhea is normal when a jenny goes through her first heat cycle. However, if it lasts more than a few days or causes your to stop eating and become weak, contact your veterinarian.
  • If the baby does not nurse after four hours or fails to pass the meconium, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images

Author

Amanda Maddox began writing professionally in 2007. Her work appears on various websites focusing on topics about medical billing, coding, real estate, insurance, accounting and business. Maddox has her insurance and real estate licenses and holds an Associate of Applied Science in accounting and business administration from Wallace State Community College.