How To Tell If A Donkey Is Pregnant?

Did you have your jenny bred, or have you just acquired a jenny through gift, purchase or rescue? In any of these situations, you have good reason to wonder if your new donkey is pregnant. Alternately, you may have a nice quiet jenny in your pasture who slips away for a day or has a visit from a jack or a stallion. In any event, you may soon notice inexplicable weight gain and differences in behavior that have you wondering if your donkey is pregnant. Read on to learn more on how to tell if a donkey is pregnant.

How To Tell If A Donkey Is Pregnant

Early Signs

If you’ve been aware of the times when your jenny goes into heat, you’ll notice that she’s not doing that anymore; however, that may be a very subtle sign since female donkeys only go into heat seasonally, and often owners do not notice.

Of course, if your donkey is pregnant, you may notice quite a bit of weight gain in the midsection. This could just mean that your donkey is eating more grass and hay and has gained some weight. If you notice that the weight gain is very low in the belly and not anywhere else, you can reasonably suspect pregnancy.

Weight gain in a pregnant donkey may be a little bit lopsided. If you notice more weight gain on one side than the other, this probably means that there’s a baby on board.

Late Signs

About three weeks before the anticipated birth, you’ll notice that your jenny’s udder has become swollen. This means that she is beginning to produce milk in anticipation of the new arrival.

A few days before the baby is born, you may notice that milk is beginning to drip from the udder.

As the time for the birth draws closer, the female donkey’s pelvic muscles will begin to slacken, and you may be able to feel some mobility of the bone surrounding the base of her tail.

In preparation for the birth, your jenny will naturally want to seek out a quiet, private place. She may become more docile and may lose her appetite.

Within a few hours of the birth, the lips of the jenny’s vulva will begin to swell.

How Long Is A Donkey Pregnant?

how long is a donkey pregnant

All of these symptoms will take place bit-by-bit over quite a long period of time. A typical donkey pregnancy lasts between 11 and 14 months.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to consult your vet right away and have him or her come out to provide a firm diagnosis.

Prenatal care is just as important for donkeys as it is for people.

What To Expect When The Happy Event Arrives

If your donkey is healthy and happy, you may miss the whole show. A strong, healthy jenny will typically give birth pretty quickly.

If/when you notice thick, waxy milk dripping from your donkey’s teats, you can be pretty sure that your new baby donkey will arrive within the next day or two.

Bring your jenny into a clean, dry stall with plenty of clean straw for bedding. Even though she may have lost her appetite, you should keep plenty of fresh hay available as well as fresh water.

Otherwise, there shouldn’t be much for you to do. Just keep checking on her frequently to make sure all is going well.

Let Nature Take Its Course

Your jenny will probably lie down to deliver her baby, but if she does deliver standing up, it’s a good idea for you to be close by to catch the baby so it doesn’t fall to the ground. If she trusts you, she will have no issue with you doing that.

The jenny will probably clean the baby’s face and nose right away so that it can breathe freely. If she doesn’t, you should wipe the area with a soft, clean, damp cloth.

How Long Will The Birth Take?

how long will the birth take

All in all, from the time the amniotic sac breaks to the time the baby donkey is delivered, no more than an hour should pass. If your jenny seems to be having trouble, and/or too much time is passing, call your vet.

Should You Cut The Umbilical Cord?

If your jenny is strong and healthy, and the baby is healthy too, the cord should break naturally on its own as the two of the move about. This may take a little while, but you should be patient.

Don’t cut the cord or interfere. If the baby is born and the placenta is passed without the cord breaking, summon your vet to take care of the situation.

What Happens After The Baby Donkey Is Born?

Usually, the jenny will clean and dry the baby right away. You should stay out of the way for this as it is an important part of the bonding process between mother and baby.

Once the baby is clean and on its feet, it will look around for its first meal. As the baby begins to nurse, the jenny will probably pass the placenta. If this doesn’t happen within an hour of the baby’s birth, you should call your vet.

What Can You Do To Help?

If mother will let you handle the baby, look it over carefully to make sure that its eyes are open, bright and clear. Look in the baby’s mouth to make sure the gums have transitioned from dark pink to the normal, bright pink gum color.

Once the baby is cleaned and walking around, it should be breathing normally, and it should be hungry. A jenny who has had a few other foals will encourage the baby to nurse.

If this is your jenny’s first baby, she may not know what to do. You may need to help direct the baby to its first meal.

It’s very important that the new baby donkey drink a couple of quarts of first milk (colostrum) within its first twelve hours. This first milk imparts essential antibodies to the baby which help protect it from diseases.

Colostrum is only produced within the first twelve hours after the jenny gives birth, so it’s vital that the foal feed well during this time.

Plan Wisely!

Baby donkeys are awfully cute, and you may be very tempted to breed your jenny just for the sheer fun of having a cute little one around. Before you make this monumental decision, though, be sure that the little donkey will have an insured future, and there is someone who will care for them.

There are lots of nice donkeys in need of good homes available through a number of qualified adoption agencies. If you don’t really need a brand-new baby donkey, it’s always wiser to adopt.

Nicky Ellis
Nicky has been an editor at Farm & Animals since 2019. Farm animals have been in her life from her earliest memories, and she learned to ride a horse when she was 5. She is a mom of three who spends all her free time with her family and friends, her mare Joy, or just sipping her favorite cup of tea.

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