TO BREED OR NOT?
A mare donkey and her new born foal has to be one of the lovliest sights for an owner. However, whether to breed a mare or more importantly allow her breed needs serious thought well in advance.
During the last few years and particularly with the economic downturn, the amount of unwanted and abandoned donkeys has escalated beyond all expectation. A majority of these were colts and a good percentage quite young. Yet still owners are allowing their mares to get in foal in the hope that they can sell them particularly if they are filly foals.
Everyone loves a foal but owners should perhaps be asking themselves the following questions -
- Why do they wish to breed the mare?
- Is it fair to expect a mare to foal year after year?
- What will happen to the foal if it cannot be kept and doesn't sell?
- Can an additional animal be sustained?
If any of the answers cannot be justified, the solution is simple CASTRATION!
Any stallions retained should be kept entirely separate from mares.
Ideally ALL stallions should be castrated (it also makes them easier to handle), the resulting gelding can then run with mares if necessary.
Colt foals should be weaned by about 6 months and separated immediately from the mare. It is possible for the colt to cover the mare at anything from 7/8 months of age.
Many of the unwanted donkeys taken in by welfare organisations during the lean years will spend the remainder of their lives in sanctuaries, a few lucky ones will be rehomed with families.
There are plenty of donkeys to fulfil the needs of potential owners and those wishing to increase their herd. If no additional donkeys were allowed to breed during the next 20/25 yrs, there would still be enough available for those who wish to own one.