rejected baby --- what to do

From:  "Jerry Patterson" <donkeys@h...>
Date:  Mon Apr 9, 2001 3:58am
Subject:  Maiden jenny refusing foal

She had her this afternoon while we were gone and when we got home another jennet who we weaned her baby two months ago had claimed  her. We separated the mother and baby but she puts her ears back and kicks her away when she gets close. So we tied her up and twitched  her and are only doing  fair. We have ready access to goat milk if we have to bottle feed her. Jerry Cosgray suggested feeding her every two  hours and the above plan. Any other suggestions?
Jerry & Susie Patterson
Hartsville, IN 

From:  "Debbie McMillan" <deb-mc@t...> 
Date:  Mon Apr 9, 2001 4:37am 
Subject:  re:maiden jenny refusing to nurse

Hi Jerry, I am not Vicki but I suggest you keep working with the jenny for as long as it takes for her to accept her baby. Raising a bottle baby is not fun. I think she will take her if you work at it. Separate her from the others & put her in a stall. If you have to make a safe area for the baby, put a panel across a corner so the only one she can see is her baby. Do what you have to to make her let the baby nurse. Her milk is the best for the baby. I bet it won't take that long for her to accept her baby.

Keep us posted! Good Luck,

Debbie McMillan


From:  Jeanine Rachau <jrachau@o...> 
Date:  Mon Apr 9, 2001 5:02am Subject: 
Re: [DonkeyMuleInfo] Maiden jenny refusing foal

Please don't give up on the jennet yet - fair is actually quite good news!  A little more work and you might turn a corner for the better.   Do you have access to a pipe livestock panel?   If so, tie mom in a corner and place the panel parallel to the wall she is next to.   The goal is that she can't move sideways or backwards - the foal can reach through and nurse when ever it needs to.  Mom and baby then can have a chance to bond without a lot interference. The foal will be safe - and mom should have water and feed in front of her - take her out a couple times a day to get some exercise.  Normally once you get a good nursing pattern established the chances are good the mother will go ahead and accept the foal - usually only takes 24-48 hours.  If she won't by day three then she probably never will - but if she is not outright aggressive to the foal, as in attacking rather than just kicking it away - it sounds like she could be brought around with a little coaxing.  You might also talk with your veterinarian about some tranquilizers and some banimine for pain - for a new mother it can be quite uncomfortable at first - every time the foal nurses - milk let down causes a release of oxytocin - which in turn causes an already sore uterus to cramp.  Sometimes blocking that discomfort for a little while can make a difference with uneasy new mothers.   I tried to draw a diagram of what I was talking about.  The baby gate method is used quite frequently in grafting orphan foals onto nurse mares.


  (illustration copyright Jeanine Rachau, used with permission)

From:  Vicki/ladywife <ladywife@b...> 
Date:  Mon Apr 9, 2001 5:33am Subject: 
Re: [DonkeyMuleInfo] Maiden jenny refusing foal


The other jennet stealing the newborn probably kept the new mother from bonding.  For the first 12-16 hours at least keep tying her up and forcing her to stand for the foal to nurse to make sure the foal get the colostrum. After that when the jennet's milk comes in milk out about 1/4 cup and rub it on the foal's head, along the spine and on the rump.  This should help the jennet recognize her own foal.  Do you still have the placenta?  Sometimes you can squeeze a little amniotic fluid from it and use it to mark the foal. It would be better to milk the jennet and give the foal its own mother's milk than it would be to give it goats' milk.


From:  "Jerry Patterson" <donkeys@h...> 
Date:  Mon Apr 9, 2001 8:26am 
Subject:  Maiden update

Thank you to Debbie, Jeanine, Vicki, & Alana for your suggestions. I read all of them at the 1:00 oclock feeding and am reporting at the 3:00 a.m. feeding. I had rubbed the plancenta over her, so I tried the milk rub now but she doesn't rub or smell her. She puts her ears back whenever baby get close. She will stand with the twitch then after all that and nursing mom she drank 6 oz. of goat milk. Is that too much milk? 
Jerry & Susie Patterson Hartsville, IN

From:  "Jerry Patterson" <donkeys@h...> 
Date:  Mon Apr 9, 2001 3:05pm 
Subject:  Update on rejected foal-9:00 a.m. feeding

Thanks again for all your help last nite. You read all this  then when it is your own you are so afraid you'll do something wrong that someone else saying it makes it so much better -- and comforting. 
The hobbles are off and the twitch only half the time. Slight improvement each feeding though she still doesn't nuzzel her or act motherish. After she eats from mom she drinks 4 oz. of goat milk. She is  spotted 22" maybe 35-40 lbs. but determined to make a friend of mom and keeps nursing her mom. All suggestions welcome like how to get young again on getting up every two hours when we are almost 60 ! 
Jerry & Susie Patterson

From:  "Jerry Patterson" <donkeys@h...> 
Date:  Mon Apr 9, 2001 5:09pm Subject: 
Re: [DonkeyMuleInfo] Maiden update 12:00 p.m.

Yes, I rubbed the placenta all over. We make her nurse mom first before we give her the goats milk--she only drank  2 oz last time after nursing mom a long time. Positive sign and mom sniffed her without putting her ears back. 
I used the rope to keep her from kicking the first coulple times. She hops and is an agressive eater mom or bottle. 
Jerry & Susie Patterson Hartsville, IN

From:  Vicki/ladywife <ladywife@b...> 
Date:  Mon Apr 9, 2001 5:13pm Subject: 
Re: [DonkeyMuleInfo] Update on rejected foal-9:00 a.m. feeding


If you find out how to turn back the clock and feel 20 years old again please let me know.  It sounds like you are making progress with the reluctant mother.  It may take a couple of days before she accepts the foal as hers so just keep doing what you're doing. 
I suggest using Foal Lac or Foal Mate instead of goat's milk to temporarily supplement the dam's milk. Goat's milk has a higher protein and fat level than donkey milk and the goat's milk may upset the foal's digestion and cause her to scour.  So watch her closely for diarrhea.  There is also a possibility the scent of the goat's milk may interfere with the mother accepting the foal. 
The best milk for the foal is its mother's milk.  Is she producing enough yet that you can milk some from her to give the foal after the foal nurses?  The more often her udder is emptied the more it stimulates her milk production.  As her udder gets full and tight the foal relieving the pressure by nursing helps establish the mental connection for the jennet that the foal nursing is good because it relieves the discomfort.


From:  "Jerry Patterson" <donkeys@h...> 
Date:  Tue Apr 10, 2001 5:42am 
Subject:  Rejected/Success & happy

I went out for the 10:00 p.m. & 12:00 (just to make sure) feeding and baby (Ravenwood Magnolia) was eating  and mother was staying between Magnolia and me  !!!! Yea!! Great !!! Happy Days are here again !!! Thanks everyone for your help.

Jerry & Susie Patterson Hartsville, IN

(rejected foal --- what-to-do list:) <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

From:  Vicki/ladywife <ladywife@b...> 
Date:  Tue Apr 10, 2001 4:28pm Subject: 
Re: [DonkeyMuleInfo] Re: Update on rejected foal-


1. Call the vet

*** Right.  This gives the vet a heads up you have a problem.  This gives the vet time to call around and find a colostrum bank or a supply of Equine Immunogam if he doesn't already have some on hand.

2. if you still have the placenta, rub it over the foal

*** Not just on the foal.  Find the placenta and rub any of the amniotic fluid remaining in the placenta on the jennet's nose and LIPS.  In a normal birth the jennet/mare not only smells but she also TASTES the fluid.  The tasting is what implants the foal's identity in her mind, then she seeks that scent to recognize her foal.  DO NOT STEP IN AND TOWEL DRY THE FOAL. The amniotic fluid on the foal's coat is the key link for the jennet/mare to recognize her foal.  She should be allowed to lick the foal and only step in to dry it AFTER she has had an opportunity to taste the amniotic fluid on its coat.

3. Immobilize the jenny

***If she is ticklish or refuses the foal, immobilize her so the foal can nurse the critically important colostrum.  She can be immobilized by holding up a front foot, or by holding up the hind foot on the other side, or penning her against a wall.  It is tricky not to upset her while still keeping her still so the foal can suckle.  Do not attempt to guide the foal's head to the teat.  Most foals will resist and it could injure the little tyke's neck.  It is better to bump him from the rear to point him in the right direction.  Something else is the color of the clothing you are wearing.  Avoid dark colors because that can confuse the foal as to where the breakfast bar is.  They are drawn to the dark underside of their mother by instinct.  In natural circumstances the mother would boost him in the right direction by using her head to nudge his rump to encourage him to suckle.

4.  Milk jenny--rub milk over foal's head

***If amniotic fluid from the placenta isn't available, then the next best thing is the jennet's milk and rub it into the hair on the foal's head AND rump.

>4. Do not feed ____________ first as it contains no colostrum

***Do not feed ANY milk, no matter what kind until after the foal has received colostrum, either from the mother or Equine Immunogram.  Milk contains proteins and the proteins trigger a change in the foal's stomach. Once milk is taken it prevents the absorption of the immunities in colostrum.

5. Feed foal momma's milk out of bowl?

***Right.  A bottle increases the risk of drowning the foal.  Stripping some colostrum from the jennet into a bowl, you can teach the foal to suck the fluid out of the bowl by using your dampened finger to get the foal to slurp.

***The important steps are:

A.  Have someone call the vet while you collect the placenta in a clean container to preserve as much of the amniotic fluid as quickly as possible. Even several hours after the birth there will still be a little amniotic fluid in the placenta if you can find it.

B.  Imprinting the foal's identify on the jennet by smearing the amniotic fluid on her nose and lips so she'll taste it, then getting the foal under her nose so she can taste the fluid on his coat.

C.  Getting the colostrum into the foal.

After those three steps you move to Plan B which is working toward triggering her mothering instinct.  It may take a few hours or a couple of days or even longer to get the jennet to accept the foal, and most do eventually accept it.  The ones who don't then you move to Plan C, which is raising it as an orphan or finding a jennet who will adopt it.  Not all jennets have a strong mothering instinct and usually daughters from standoffish mothers will be standoffish too.


From:  "Jerry Patterson" <donkeys@h...> 
Date:  Wed Apr 11, 2001 3:44pm 
Subject: ***Picture of success***- formerly rejected now loved by mom

Thanks to everyone who helped save her. This is what we wanted to see.

Jerry & Susie Patterson


love it love it love it love it love it love itlove it love itlove itlove it love it



back to home page

(email messages/photo from DonkeyMuleInfo List, used with permission of authors)
copyright 2001 owned by authors

web design and editing: sabine calkins