|Geldings - Mules, Donkeys, and castrating the Jack.|
|A word on Mule Castration :
The office has received some calls from breeders who are interested in raising mini mules, but are not sure about having the horse mules (males) castrated. Please, by all means, set aside whatever arguments you have for keeping the animals entire. A stud mule (entire mule) is NOT a pet, and can be one of the worst animals you will have to deal with. No male equine that will never be a breeding stud needs to be kept entire. They will be much happier, and more manageable as geldings. In addition, no entire male mule could show at any legitimate show. Stud mules are prohibited in almost any environment other than home. They are sterile anyway, and this may least to their frustrated breeding behavior. Please have all of your male mules (hinnies, and zebra hybrids) routinely gelded. If you are looking for a donkey for a pet and want a male, make it a gelding. Entire (stud) males DO think with their "hormones" at times. This is usually when accidents happen. The handler gets relaxed since the animal is laid back, then a flash of hormones, for whatever reason, and someone gets hurt. Prevent this by castrating all mules and hinnies before they are age 2. You can castrate any male equine (especially those you already know are not breeding quality) any time after the testicles are reliably descended. This is usually done just before weaning, (about 5-6 months) so that they can have some of the stress relieved by still having Mamma for comfort. If the colt is not yet dropped by then, it can be done at a later time. (If the testicles have not dropped by age 2, it is likely they will not, since the inguinal ring closes and they may be retained in the body. No jack or stallion have only 1 descended testicle should be used for breeding, as it can be hereditary)
Remember to also discuss with your vet about ligation (tying off) of the blood vessels while he/she has them in hand. This will reduce the risk of heavy bleeding and also reduce stress to animal, owner, and vet! Most vets don't do this routinely, but it is a minor yet important step in surgery for donkeys. 1 out of 100 donkeys will trun out to be a heavy bleeder. Prevent problems before they become problematic by asking your vet to just ligate as a precaution. In these cases, it's better safe than sorry. We stress that 99% of the time, most donkeys and mules have no problem recovering normally from castration, but you may have heard only the other 1%, which are all horror stories. (We at ADMS sympathise on a personal level - we have had one horror story and one perfectly normal castration on a mule).
From: The Mule by Harvey Riley (1867)
"The most disagreeable and unmanageable, and I was going to say useless, animal in the world, is a stud mule. They are no benefit to anybody, and yet they are more troublesome than any other animal. They rarely ever get fat, and are always fretting; and it is next to impossible to keep them from breaking loose and getting at mares. Besides, they are exceedingly dangerous to have amongst horses. They will frequently fly at the horse, like a tiger, and bite, tear, and kick him to pieces. I have known them to shut their eyes, become furious, and dash over both man and beast to get at a mare. It is curious, also, that. a white mare seems to have the greatest attractions for them. I have known a stud mule to take a fancy to a white mare, and it seemed impossible to keep him away from her."
All male equines that are not to be used for breeding should be castrated (gelded). This is espcially true of those who do not have the conformation and temperament to be studs or breeding jacks. Less than 10 % of the equine population probably meet the standards for their breed to be outstanding, quality herdsire and stallion. Those other 90% should be gelded, in a best-case scenario. However, we find that far fewer people are willing to geld their jack colts that horse people. Please, if you are going to sell colts as pets, or a jack does not have outstanding conformation and temperament, have him castrated.
JACKS SHOULD NOT BE PETS. They are intact breeding animals, and at some moment in their life will think with their hormones and not with their brains. PLEASE, do not sell off ungelded colts to first-time owners, or as guard donkeys. Studs can be too roungh on stock, and young children, no matter how experienced with equines, should never be alone around studs or intact jacks.
It is strongly recommended that the new owner or breeder have at least 3 jennets before investing in a jack. A jack must have special housing and fencing, even if he is to live with the jennets. Decisions must be made whether he will stay in with the jennets when foals arrive. Some jacks will be fine - others will not. The jack should always have alternate housing (Complete with shelter and escape-proof fencing) for those times when he is away from the jennets.
If you have a larger breeding operation that can support more than one jack, you will need to have fencing that separates the jacks completely.
Can several jacks run together? Some people have found that younger jacks raised together and NOT USED FOR BREEDING can stay housed together. They may be rougher on each other, and they may have scars to prove it. If you are going to use a jack for breeding and show, he should have a place where he won't fight other animals (jennies included). Yound jacks not having the potential to be a breeding jack should be gelded, and some can then be used as companions (for jacks, other livestock, or weanling foals).
ADMS offers a gelding incentive each October, in which it registers any donkey gelding, regardless of size, breed/type or age, for free. We encourage you to have more happy, healthy geldings!
Calendar of Events
Diseases in Longears
What Can you Do w/Longears?