I received an email from Sarah today asking for advice on whether she can keep a Jack and Jenny together year round, and how to worm and halter train her new donkey.

In short, yes a jack and jenny can be kept together year round, I do this with mine.  However you can’t have two entire (non-castrated) jacks together with a jenny, because they will fight for her affection.  All men are the same!  However a jack and a jenny, or many jennies, or jacks and geldings, will all live together happily.  I take my small son with me and sit him on my jacks, they are all pets to us and are not at all concerned once they’re in separate paddocks with their separate harems of jennies!

The question of putting a jack with your jenny also comes down to her age – I wouldn’t recommend mating her until she is 3 years old.  Any younger than that will put quite a bit of pressure on her as she’ll still be growing as the foal is growing.  Also you need to consider what to do once the foal is born – you may need to separate them from the Jack for some time, and if the foal is a jack then you’ll certainly need to have him castrated.

As for worming and halter training, I worm my donkeys with a horse drench.  I rotate the brands and formulae a bit, to discourage resistance.  Last time I used Equimec liquid, you follow the directions per liveweight on the packaging.  Most of my mature donkeys are about 200-250kg (they are on the smaller side, as far as donkeys go).

As for halter training, I use foal size halters when the donkeys are foals and shetland size halters on the mature donkeys.  However having said that, I don’t halter lead mine very much.  It isn’t difficult to train them for this, you just need to be patient.  Donkeys do not respond to being rushed so the best process i can recommend is following the donkey initially and slowly tempting it to your direction, and reinforcing positive behaviours with treats.  My donkeys follow me around all over the farm so I rarely have need to halter them.

Hope this helps, enjoy your donkeys Sarah!