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SadDonkeyOwner

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I hope someone has some advice.

I have a jennet who delivered her first foal. I know first time moms can have adjustment issues - but this is extreme. The night the foal was born I have the vet come out to give the postpartum check and told her we were having difficulties getting the mom to let the new baby nurse. The vet, the assistant and myself had to hold the jennet with one foot up and a neck twitch to get her to stand without kicking or biting the foal. The vet felt at the time that this was new mom issues and that if I continued to work with her she would come around. To a point she did.. However - when the baby came up to nurse, she would let him drink for 30 seconds then turn and bite or kick and chase him away. It was heart breaking to watch.

After the first week - we came out to find more severe bites on the baby.

Speaking again with the vet - we elected to put a cribbing muzzle on the mom - just something to keep her from being able to bite - yet she can graze.

Now this solved the biting issue - but we have to go down several times a day to force her to stand and let the foal nurse.

It has been three weeks now and the baby is growing slowly - he is so sad from the constant beating he gets from mom - and the next advice the vet is giving is to tranquilize the mom.

Has anyone seen this kind of behavior from a jennet and what did you do?
 

Bunnylady

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Sorry, I have no experience to call on, but lots of sympathy to offer! I know some animals are not cut out to be mothers, but you'd think she could at least tolerate the little begger, wouldn't you? Poor kid!

I assume your vet checked for any signs of mastitis or anything like that which might make her sore. Being a two-time nursing mom, I know how painful it can get sometimes, and donkeys just don't do pain!

Can you rig up some kind of creep feeder for the little one? There are pelleted milk replacers, if he could at least partly feed himself, it would reduce the stress on all of you.

I wish you the best of luck with your sad little donkey. I'm sure he's as cute and lovable as any other baby longear (hint, hint, pics?) Give him (and his mom) hugs for me!
 

SadDonkeyOwner

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Thank you for the words of sympathy. Yes the vet checked her and said she is just a mean mom.

Do you know the name of the pelleted milk replacer - he is already trying to eat the mare and foal feed that I give mom each day. Maybe that would perk him up.

Sorry, I have no experience to call on, but lots of sympathy to offer! I know some animals are not cut out to be mothers, but you'd think she could at least tolerate the little begger, wouldn't you? Poor kid!

I assume your vet checked for any signs of mastitis or anything like that which might make her sore. Being a two-time nursing mom, I know how painful it can get sometimes, and donkeys just don't do pain!

Can you rig up some kind of creep feeder for the little one? There are pelleted milk replacers, if he could at least partly feed himself, it would reduce the stress on all of you.

I wish you the best of luck with your sad little donkey. I'm sure he's as cute and lovable as any other baby longear (hint, hint, pics?) Give him (and his mom) hugs for me!
 
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SadDonkeyOwner

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I found a pelleted milk replacer and I am starting to feed this as well as the little nursing her gets. We will see how it goes!

Thanks for the advice.

Thank you for the words of sympathy. Yes the vet checked her and said she is just a mean mom.

Do you know the name of the pelleted milk replacer - he is already trying to eat the mare and foal feed that I give mom each day. Maybe that would perk him up.

Sorry, I have no experience to call on, but lots of sympathy to offer! I know some animals are not cut out to be mothers, but you'd think she could at least tolerate the little begger, wouldn't you? Poor kid!

I assume your vet checked for any signs of mastitis or anything like that which might make her sore. Being a two-time nursing mom, I know how painful it can get sometimes, and donkeys just don't do pain!

Can you rig up some kind of creep feeder for the little one? There are pelleted milk replacers, if he could at least partly feed himself, it would reduce the stress on all of you.

I wish you the best of luck with your sad little donkey. I'm sure he's as cute and lovable as any other baby longear (hint, hint, pics?) Give him (and his mom) hugs for me!
 

MeadowRidge Farm

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I have never had this problem with a donkey but have with a horse. Its HORRIBLE to watch. The first time I noticed it, was when I was watching her on the barncam..all of of sudden she just kicked out at my poor tiny foal, and he went clean across the stall..I was out there in seconds, tied her and her leg up, and she still was forced to stand. This went on for almost 1 week, before she finally would let him nurse. In the meantime I was giving him foal milk replacer. I knew mine had received all the colostrum, because I was there..mine didn't start this kicking, until my foal was almost 1 week old..she never bit, other then a nip to chase him away from nursing. It tool a good 3 months but she finally did turnout to be a OK mom, but I didn't want to take the chance with more foals, and gave her to a friend for her kids to enjoy.

You definitely need to be careful, and also to supplement his feeding with foal milk replacer, mine was put out by LandOLakes, and is a powder. Mixes very easy. I would also give him some baby vitamins. Anytime I have a weaker foal or a problem I use poly vi sol infant drops. It just seems to help with that little extra boost they sometimes need. I am sure you vet could also recommend something for you. The foal milk replecer I use is also loaded with vitamins, but I just use the poly vi sol as more of a "security blanket" for the first few weeks. Just a few drops mixed in with the replacer is all I use, since you also dont want to over do the vitamins on a newborn. Are you putting your jennet in a corner with her FOOT tied up? You could try tying her whenever you are out there, tie the foot up, muzzle her and let the baby just walk around and try to nurse. With a foot tied up she cant do very much. ((((hugs))) for taking care of baby and I sure hope things work out good for him. BAD MOMMY! Corinne
 
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Bunnylady

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Hi, Corinne! I'm so glad you posted on this! I felt sure you'd know what to do, and was wondering if all of you "old hands" were on vacation, or something!

Does anyone know why a mare or jennet might behave like this? I find the vet's "mean mom" just a little too pat. I'm the sort that can't just accept that what is, is; I want to know why. I have a theory, tell me if this makes sense or not.

When the baby nurses, a hormone called oxytocin is released in the mother. This hormone relaxes the mother, and is thought to play a major role in mother/baby bonding. I think a lot of nursing mothers become oxytocin junkies (I know I was!!) Unfortunately, oxytocin has another role. During the first few days after birth, it causes the muscles of the uterus to contract. This is very important, of course, because it helps to shrink the uterus back to its proper size and get the leftover blood and whatnot out. But it can also hurt like the dickens! I'm not sure the contractions of hard labor are any worse.

I know that with my kids, this effect lasted for weeks, although it was worst during the first week. I'm no wimp when it comes to pain, but sometimes, it nearly took my breath away. Thank heaven for Advil!

Knowing a donkey's aversion for pain, I can see that this could be a real problem. Baby nurses, and wham! Mommy's insides tie themselves into knots.


I know some people who load their newly foaled mares up with Banamine just as a matter of course, In one case, this mare will attack her foal and attempt to kill it, until the Banamine kicks in. Then, apparently, she's fine.

I know this girl is 3 weeks into motherhood, so maybe it's just her, but I'm inclined to give her a little sympathy, too. Was she given any pain relievers? She might be hurting, or it may be just a habit at this point.

Anyway, I'm wishing you the best of luck, and sending (((HUGS))) all around!
 

MeadowRidge Farm

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Hi Bunnylady, lol...I usually try not to jump in and answer immediately, thinking someone else might, and I do know alot of times if I dont answer a post..I get a pm or a email. ...lol... But, I like to hear what others have to say too...
...and of course always hope everyone is learning a little something on this board. I have also been really REALLY busy, we have a house full of friends up, and our annual 4th of July picnic is tomorrow, so I usually just hop on here in the morning and maybe once throughout the day. So PLEASE if you ever need me to try to help you all..just call me (email me for my number) but remember I am no vet and can only tell you things in my opinion.


I do agree with you. I would want to know the reason WHY the jenny is acting "mean" also..and I wouldn't accept just a mean mom attitude. Granted some jennys just will never make a good Mom,...but there usually is a reason for it to start with. I do think that the oxytocin plays a major role in the jenny, not only will it drop down the milk but it also works with the hormone level. So your line of thinking comparing it to human milk production is right on track.

I have also told so many friends of mine with maiden mares or jennys or any large animal that is going to give birth..to make sure that for weeks before they actually do give birth,. to massage and get the animals use to the feel of having someone (foal) down there nudging and nursing, but whatever you do DONT try to expess any amount of milk. Just plain massage the udder and surrounding area until MOM is comfy with it. That has helped so many of my first time mares adjust. Corinne
 

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