My Momma’s an Igloo

by Brenda Short
Short ASSets Ranch|

Early this fall, I got a frantic call from one of my friends. One of her jennets had a foal and just left it in the pasture. The baby was with their horse and "momma donkey" was no where to be found. Immediately they took the foal to the barn then found the jennet that had him and took her to the barn. She was a maiden jennet and wanted nothing to do with the foal plus she didn’t have much milk.

The vet came out and checked out the foal and jennet and gave her Oxytocin and something to calm her down so the baby could nurse, however, it didn’t work. I told her to milk the jennet and give the foal the milk. He needed the colostrum.

They milked her and gave the foal the colostrum and throughout the day and night, they would either milk the jennet or try to restrain her so the foal could nurse and "hopefully" she would accept him. No way Jose’. She didn’t like the foal and continually tried to kick him so they were forced to take the foal out of the stall with his mother.

After about 3 days of bottle feeding the foal with milk replacer, my friend and her husband were just about to collapse from exhaustion. Between taking care of their other animals, feeding the foal, and both working, they were desperate for help.

I remembered a story that our farrier had shared with us and also another friend had used successfully. I immediately got on the internet and emailed it to my friend.

You get an Igloo cooler (or something like it) and remove the spigot. Get a piece of PVC pipe that will screw in where the spigot was. Use a lamb’s nipple over the end of the PVC pipe and secure it with a ty-wrap or a hose clamp. Mix up your milk replacer and put it in the cooler and replace the lid. This not only will keep the milk warm but will also keep the flies out. You can hang it on the fence or on the inside of the stall. Then it’s just teaching the foal to suck from it instead of the bottle.

It wasn’t long until she emailed me back. The foal had latched on to Momma Igloo and was doing great. He would run and play and when he got hungry he would run over to Momma Igloo and fill his tummy and go back to playing. They were able to get some sleep and were doing much better too.

Don’t forget this helpful story. You might need it someday if you have foal rejection, a jennet with no milk or a desperate friend.





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