Last Updated on June 27, 2022
Donkey foals are one of the most adorable creatures on the planet! But how long is a donkey pregnant for, and how many foals does she have? Let’s find out!
How Long Is A Donkey Pregnant For?
The length of a donkey’s pregnancy is very variable, and it can be difficult to predict when a donkey is going to give birth. The shortest length of a donkey pregnancy is 11.5 months, and the longest is 14 months. This gives us a period of over two months during which a donkey might have her foal.
If your donkey is pregnant, it is important to learn to recognize the signs that she is going to have her foal soon. The donkey mare will start to isolate herself from other donkeys in the herd, and her udder will become very swollen. She may start to leak milk from the teats, and a build of waxy colostrum on the teats may also be observed.
In the last 2 days before the birth, the hindquarters will lose muscle tone as the pelvic muscles start to slacken. As the birth becomes imminent, she will become restless and her appetite will decrease.
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How Many Foals Can A Donkey Have?
During a normal pregnancy, a donkey will have just one foal. It is possible for a donkey mare to become pregnant with twins, but this will normally lead to early termination of the pregnancy. It is very rare for a donkey to carry twin foals to full term, and if she does the foals may be severely underweight or deformed.
Because of the longer pregnancy of a donkey compared to a horse, they do not always have a foal every year. On average, a donkey could have three foals every four years. Other factors that affect how many foals a donkey can have include her lifespan and how quickly she gets pregnant after foaling.
How Soon Can A Donkey Get Pregnant After Foaling?
Although donkeys come into their fertile period, estrous, relatively quickly after foaling, if they are mated during this time it is unlikely to result in a successful pregnancy. Most donkey breeders wait until the donkey has her second season after foaling to mate her.
Some donkeys will not come into season at all when they have a foal at foot. This is because donkeys are very protective of their foals.
All of these factors reduce the number of foals that a donkey will have during her lifetime.
How Old Does A Donkey Need To Be To Have A Foal?
Female donkeys are fertile from around one year of age and should be kept away from entire male donkeys or horses. It is not a good idea to breed a donkey until she is at least 3 years old, to give her time to fully develop physically. Although a donkey mare could get pregnant at one year old, she is not yet strong enough to carry and nurse a foal and could develop serious problems.
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How Long Does It Take For Donkeys To Mate?
Donkeys are not renowned for their speed, and this also applies to their mating activities! Whilst a pair of horses will successfully mate in just 10 minutes when it comes to donkeys this period may be extended to up to 30 minutes.
The reason for this is that the male donkey takes much longer to become aroused and ready to mate.
When a female donkey is receptive toward a male, she will exhibit a classic set of signs to indicate to him that she is ready to be mated. She will open and close her mouth, and exhibit a chewing action with saliva dribbling. During this time, she may stand with the neck extended.
These signs are accompanied by the classic signs seen in all other equines when they are in season – the tail is held raised, and the mare will wink her vulva and urinate frequently.
When the donkey mare is showing all these signs, she will allow the male donkey to mate with her. If she is not receptive to the donkey stallion, she may bite him or strike him with the forelegs. If he attempts to mount her before she is ready, she may kick out with one or both hind legs.
Summary – How Long Is A Donkey Pregnant For
So, as we have learned, the question of how long is a donkey pregnant for is not an easy one to answer! The gestation period of a donkey can be very variable, and it is often difficult to predict when a donkey will give birth. A donkey pregnancy can range from 11.5 months to a full 14 months.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about how long is a donkey pregnant! Have you ever been lucky enough to see a donkey foal being born? Or maybe you’re considering breeding a foal from your donkey and have some questions you’d like to answer? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
How Often Do Donkeys Have Babies?
Theoretically, a donkey could have a baby every year. However, donkeys have a slightly longer gestation period than horses, which means that they will not always have a foal every year.
How Many Babies Can A Donkey Have?
How many babies a donkey can have will depend on the lifespan of the donkey. During each pregnancy, a donkey will have just one foal. In a normal breeding routine, a donkey will have three foals every four years.
How Long Is A Donkey In Foal?
Donkeys have a very variable gestational period, and can be in foal for as little as 11 1/2 months, or as long as 14 months. This can make it difficult to predict when a donkey is due to give birth, particularly if it is her first foal. If a donkey has had a foal before, it is likely that subsequent pregnancies will be around the same length.
Do Donkeys Give Birth Easily?
Most donkeys manage to give birth easily without any assistance, but like all equines they should be monitored carefully in case of any problems.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE