Donkeys’ gestation period spans anywhere around 11-14 months, with 12 months being an average. And during the long span of time, the expecting mothers must be taken care of properly, starting with their diet. The nutrition requirements of a pregnant jenny stay the same for up to three-quarters of the pregnancy. But the last three months is the period when the fetus undergoes drastic growth, which requires the mother to have more nutritious foods. Read on and find out what to feed a pregnant donkey.
Do Pregnant Donkeys Require Special Diet?
Pregnant donkeys do not require a special diet during the initial months of pregnancy like most other mammals. After confirming the pregnancy, you can add a forage balancer to their diet to ensure that the donkey is getting all the required nutrients. Other than that, a pregnant donkey’s diet is like that of a normal one, consisting mainly of pastures, grass, and hay. If the donkey is involved in hard labor, you can also add grain to its diet. High-quality hay is the best food you can provide along with nutritious supplements.
During the later part of pregnancy, especially three months before the due date the baby enters a rapid-growing phase. This will require the mother to have changes in her diet plan. Additional hay and grain could be fed during this stage to maintain the mother’s energy and health. But this change should be gradual and not a sudden one, as a quick change can often lead to an obese donkey who could have difficulties with delivery. You can also supplement alfalfa if high-quality hay is unavailable. If the mother does not meet the required energy levels, she could be at risk of developing hyperlipaemia.
What to Include in Your Pregnant Donkey’s Diet?
While it is important to provide your donkey a nutrient-rich diet, you must take care not to overfeed them as they tend to put on weight easily. And being overweight can cause serious difficulties with their delivery. On a regular basis, you can feed your donkeys a diet consisting of straw, hay, grass, and mineral supplements whenever necessary. While following such a diet, make sure that they are low on the sugar side as they do not process sugar well. You can leave your pregnant donkeys for grazing in the pastures as they love to browse and consume the highly nutritious plants and shrubs.
Straw should comprise the main part of their diet as it is rich in fiber at the same being low in sugar content. Your donkey can have their fill without worrying about its health and becoming obese. Different types of straws that are available, can be given to them according to their nutrient needs, such as, oat straw can be fed to donkeys if they are underweight. If they are looking good through the pregnancy and good in health, you can feed them wheat straw and maintain their physique even during this time. Hay is another common feed that you can give your donkey, especially when you cannot find fresh pastures. But care must be given to store the hay properly, and not to feed them moldy hay.
What Not to Feed Your Pregnant Donkey?
As much as donkeys love food and are always curious about exploring food items, you must take caution when it comes to certain edibles that are toxic to them. Stoned fruits and vegetables belonging to the family of cabbages rank first among the lot. You should also refrain from feeding them potatoes, garlic, onions, and meat products. Their digestive systems are made to process plant-based food items only, hence, feeding them otherwise can be harmful to them. You must also not give them chocolates, cakes, and breads, as they contain artificial sweeteners which are bad for them.
Treats for Your Pregnant Donkey
Keeping your donkey happy when they are going through the gestation period is important. And giving them treats is one of the best ways to achieve this easily. Carrots, apples, peppermints, bananas, etc., are some of the most common treats for donkeys that you can give them to make them happy. But since these are foods that contain natural sugar, always give them in moderation. You can provide these treats occasionally or once in two days, and one at a time. If it is warm around the time your donkey is pregnant, you can give them watermelons and raspberries, which will help them get refreshed in the heat.
Caring for Pregnant Donkeys
The most important thing that is involved in caring for pregnant donkeys is obviously their diet. You must ensure that she is getting all the vital nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and high-quality feed throughout the pregnancy. Only a healthy donkey will give birth to a healthy foal. Regular checkups with the donkey’s veterinarian too, are necessary in promoting better health for the expecting mother. Right from the time you suspect a pregnancy, get in touch with the veterinarian and be free of doubt. From then on, follow the required diet plans, medications, and vaccinations as directed by the vet and meet the appointments without fail.
Note that if the donkey has given birth previously, its gestation period will be the same as before. And hence, you can be prepared and schedule the delivery. In the last quarter of pregnancy, when the donkey begins to be reluctant to eat, provide them with the necessary supplements to keep their energies intact. Even if you find your donkey gaining weight, it is good to some extent, as it will lose some after the delivery and during lactation.
Preparing for Your Donkey’s Delivery
As the delivery date approaches, you can find your donkey’s behavior changing. While some become restless, some will try to keep humans away. The pregnant donkey should be relocated to another stall where she will be giving birth at least a month before the due date. This will ensure that the donkey is familiarized with the surroundings and feels safe and relaxed. The stall should also be recently sanitized, and fresh straw bedding is recommended for the newly born foals. Wooden shavings can hurt their sensitive skin at birth.
Pregnancy and diet go hand in hand in ensuring safe and smooth delivery. And in the case of donkeys, you just have to take utmost care during the last three months of their pregnancy. Make sure that they are getting sufficient feed and nutrients to get through their pregnancy without exhausting and over-draining themselves. Feed them their usual diet in addition to high-quality supplements, vitamins, and minerals from time to time, and keep them happy and relaxed.