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

signs of a donkey being 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?

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there a specific term for a pregnant female donkey?

A female donkey is called a jenny, whether she is pregnant or not.

2. How long should a jack and jenny be separated after the birth of a foal?

It’s best to keep the jenny and jack separated until the foal is weaned. After the foal is weaned, don’t run it loose with the jack. If it’s a jenny, he will try to breed her. If it’s another jack, they’ll fight. It’s best to let your jack live separately unless you want to breed him, and overall, it’s best not to keep a male donkey intact unless he is a valuable, pedigreed animal and you are able to handle and house him just as you would a horse stallion.

3. Is it alright to give a pregnant jenny a deworming treatment?

Generally speaking, you can continue whatever deworming treatment you have been using. Don’t suddenly start a deworming program when none was in place before, and don’t change products. In any event, it is wise to check with your vet before deworming your pregnant jenny.

4. Is it alright to deworm a jenny during the last month of pregnancy?

Yes, you should maintain your regular deworming schedule. It is important to keep your jenny as worm-free as possible because you don’t want the foal to be born with worms.

5. When can you deworm a donkey foal?

The first deworming treatment should be given when your foal is between ten and twelve weeks old. In three months, give the second deworming treatment.

5 thoughts on “How To Tell If A Donkey Is Pregnant?”

  1. Thank you for the description, we have Lucy and Frida for a year now, but I see changes on Frida’s. Her udder is bigger and I think ( hope) we are having a new donkey. Now I feel better knowing what to do. Thank you!

  2. I just adopted a jenny, & have been informed that all the jennys were in with jacks. She’s in kind of poor shape, but has a bigger belly. Is there a way to tell if she’s in foal? She’s pretty mistrustful, but I’m working with her.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Farm & Animals

6043 S Drexel Ave
Chicago, IL 60637

Amazon Disclaimer

Farm & Animals is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


Farm & Animals do not intend to provide veterinary advice. We try to help farmers better understand their animals; however, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. For more information, please read our PRIVACY POLICY.