How to care for pregnant donkeys

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Donkeys are considered one of the easiest large farm animals to care for. Pregnant female donkeys, or jennets, are also simple to take care of if you understand their needs. A visit to a veterinarian that specialises in equine health will always do your donkey, pregnant or not, a world of good and will ensure that you are getting the best advice for your donkey.

Provide the jennet with plenty of drinking water. While you should do this for all of your donkeys, it's imperative that a pregnant jennet have fresh water available at all times. A normal donkey will drink up to 25 litres a day, and a pregnant jennet may drink even more.

Give her plenty of food during the last few months of pregnancy. A donkey can be pregnant anywhere from 10 to 14 months, so after six months, it is important to keep her very well fed in order to preserve the chances of the foal's survival. You don't, however, want to over feed the donkey. Seek professional guidance if need be, but generally, you should be able to feel around the donkey's hips and shoulders without feeling protruding bones and without the presence of adipose rolls on the back of the neck for a proper weight.

Feed a pregnant jennet high quality hay no matter what time of the year it is. Many donkey owners feed high quality hay only in the winter, but a pregnant jennet should have it throughout the pregnancy. A hay that is made half of timothy hay and half of alfalfa hay should work well.

Provide the jennet with rations of grains. Donkeys do not typically need grains, but the grains will provide her with additional energy and strength. Between 0.907 and 1.81kg. of feed per day in rations will do.

Keep her relaxed. Do not work a pregnant donkey after she has been pregnant for six months at risk of injuring her or the unborn foal. However, do not keep her completely motionless. Allow her to roam free and exercise at her own will.

Consult a veterinarian and keep the jennet up to date on vaccinations. Pregnant jennets should be vaccinated against rhinopneumonitis at 6, 8 and 10 months. The vet may also recommend vaccinations against tetanus, rabies, encephalomyelitis and influenza.

Give the donkey plenty of space when it is time for her to give birth. You will want to watch her closely, but you will not want an entire room of people there. This will make her uncomfortable and nervous, which may make the birthing process difficult.

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