Bottle feeding baby donkey

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Bottle feeding baby donkey

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    03-17-2012, 10:20 PM
Bottle feeding baby donkey

Long story short, my neighbor bred his jenny. Mom had a very cute baby colt, and on day 5 (early this morning) the jenny passed away. I don't know all the details on why or how the jenny passed away. All I know, is I got a knock on my door asking me to take the baby. My neighbor knows Im a stay at home mom, and figured I would be the best person to take care of the little guy. Now, I do know the foal fed off of mom for the first few days, so we should have plenty of colostrum in his system. Which I am happy about. What I need help with is I can't get the baby to drink from a bottle or a bucket. I keep taking both out every few hours to offer milk replacer. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to get the baby to eat? Ps, I will be posting pictures of the baby in the picture section.
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    03-17-2012, 10:41 PM
Is the milk replacer warmed up? Like you would with your own babies?

I would try squirting some milk into your fingers (clean first) and then put them in it's mouth to get the taste of the milk. Do this a few times and then while putting your fingers in his mouth, stick the nipple in too.

Good luck. I do hope the little baby makes it.

I'd never had an orphan baby so I don't know 100% for sure, but I'd try just about anything to get that baby to drink.
    03-17-2012, 10:52 PM
You can try to put some karo syrup on the nipple it's sweet and he may take the bottle then or put a bit in the milk.
    03-17-2012, 11:06 PM
Hey, Iv had a couple of orphaned foals, I got one at 4days old, same as this one you got, Il say one thing first you'v got a full time job ahead! It can be very exchusting and expensive! ... Is the owner buying the milk replacer for you, over here its 55 a tub, would get about 8days out of that.

You should get your vet out to give him the once over, our boy got a we injection to give him a vitamin boost, I had to sleep in the box for the first few nights as well because he was so lonely and depressed.
We had the same problem with feeding, I know it sounds curel but the best thing you can do is let him go a 10-20mins over the time he should be fed so you know he's hungry, I pierced the hole of the teat on the feeding bottle a bit bigger so it came out easier and I had to squirt a little into his mouth.. wasnt long at catching on! Like the previous post, make sure its nice and warm, a bit on your arm to make sure its not to hot.

It is possible once they have realised its you that bringing the food to switch him onto been bucket fed but to b-able to keep the option of getting a foster mare Id stick to the bottle for the present. Id try looking for a website for oprahned foals/foster mares, even if you (or the owner) have to drive an hour it might be worth it considering 90% of foals feed on the mares milk up until their 6months.. some longer... do you have the time/money/ patience to do this for that long?

I was very lucky that after a month I managed to get a foster mare for this foal.. I suddenley realised what it was like to have a nights sleep again lol! Good luck to you whatever you decide, it is very rewarding work taking in a little orphan, but alot of work. I'd definley make sure the owner is paying any costs.
Keep us posted on what happens!
    03-17-2012, 11:09 PM
Super Moderator
While I have raised an orphaned foal, it was from the start (mom died in labor at a barn where I worked) but I have raised orphaned animals of all kinds (used to be an animal rehabber) and it can be hard to transition over to a bottle with a well started on the udder youngster.

The challenge you have is the milk and the bottle are totally foreign to the baby. At five days old she doesn’t get that the odd stuff in the weird thing in your hand will feed her hunger. The milk smells different, tastes different, and feels different. The nipple also does not feel or smell like mom at all. You will need to be creative and patient.

I’m not sure what formula you are using, as there are many multi species one out there, but see if maybe you can find one for foals. If not, try adding a tiny bit of sugar to the formula. Sometimes the slightly sweeter flavor will help her want to try the milk. Once she has figured out the bottle you can drop the sugar.

Try putting some formula into a small plastic syringe and gently dribble it into the corners of her mouth. Not a lot at once, so she doesn’t aspirate, but maybe just a few ml’s at a time until she can get a taste and feel for the milk. Once she figures out the stuff is good and makes her tummy happy she will be a little bit more accepting of the milk first which will make the bottle a little easier.
Keep trying this and really try to get some down her as she is going to start dehydrating soon if she won’t feed on her own. Hunger doesn’t always help the brain to “kick in” on what you are trying to do for her. Be patient and keep at it.

If you are using a standard human baby bottle, or a calf bottle, try finding one with a nipple designed like horses. Trust me, it can make a big difference! Each momma of a species has a particular teat design, and the replacement teats (nipples) really do make it easier for an orphan.

Anyway, once you have her taking it from a syringe (by all means give her as much as she wants this way for the next few feedings if needed, she needs the fluids!) then you can try getting her to accept the nipple by squirting it into the sides of her mouth, like the syringe. Once she figures out that the milk comes from the bottle and how to latch on to the bottle expect some confusion and dropping off the nipple until she can get her rhythm down, as she needs to re-learn that on the non-udder like bottle.

I would also suggest googling for orphan foal pages. You should be able to find nipple and formula recommendations there as well as good suggestions.
palominolover likes this.
    03-17-2012, 11:15 PM
Super Moderator
The first one has some good nipple suggestions about half way down the page-
RAISING AN ORPHAN FOAL: Bottle feeding, bucket feeding, save an orphan foal

Orphan Foal
armydogs and palominolover like this.
    03-17-2012, 11:17 PM
Thank you all so much. I will definitely be checking out the links, and seeing what I can find in the way of the right stuff for this little guy. I think earlier he might have been trying to relearn the bottle but I can't be positive. Ill keep trying. Im prepared for the lack of sleep, long hours, and everything involved in this process. Besides, this is helping me get ready for long nights here in 7 months myself. ;)
    03-17-2012, 11:21 PM
Am guessing you mean your pregnant lol...congratulations!! ... just watch you don't exchust yourself!
armydogs likes this.
    03-18-2012, 12:19 PM
I want to thank everyone again for the help last night. My husband stayed out in the shed last night with him, to make sure he was going to be ok. At about 4 am the little guy decided to drink 1.5 pints out of the bucket. Then at 730 this morning he drank about the same amount. I think the little guy is going to be just fine.
    03-18-2012, 12:44 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by armydogs    
I want to thank everyone again for the help last night. My husband stayed out in the shed last night with him, to make sure he was going to be ok. At about 4 am the little guy decided to drink 1.5 pints out of the bucket. Then at 730 this morning he drank about the same amount. I think the little guy is going to be just fine.
I'm glad it is working out for you guys.
BTW, Congrats too.

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