Gelding a Donkey

Anyone who finds themselves with an intact male donkey needs to understand ‘gelding’. Some people know that jacks can be unpredictable and require this surgery, sadly not all people are informed when they bring one home.

I mean this article to give you some insight to the procedure. Although gelding surgery is a routine procedure, any kind of surgery of any kind is scary and carries risk. I’ve had to many gelding surgeries to count here, so I wanted to write this article to give a little comfort and information to the person new to donkeys that finds themselves considering having it done to their male donkey.

* Please know that I am NOT a veterinarian. I’m just a donkey trainer/rescuer that has a lot of experience with intact male donkeys turned into geldings!

What is gelding a donkey?

Gelding a donkey is just another term used for castration. Its common to refer to a castrated male donkey or horse as a ‘gelding’.

How to Geld a Donkey

First, this is NOT something an untrained person should do! You must have an equine vet or a large animal vet familiar with donkeys to preform this surgery. In my area there are sometimes cowboys or farmers that will castrate a horse themselves and they may offer to castrate donkeys. DO NOT HIRE THEM TO GELD YOUR DONKEY! 

Donkeys have well-developed blood vessels that increase the risk of hemmorage. The testicular arteries must be ligated and the procedure is best done under general anaesthesia. This requires a trained vet!

For farther technical reading about the gelding surgery and any other procedure, I highly recommend the book The Clinical Companion of the Donkey. 

Gelding a Donkey: What to expect

Donkey are best castrated between 12 and 2 years old, but that’s not always possible. I’ve had donkeys castrated as old as 18 without issue.

There will be recovery time, but most donkeys are up and eating within the hour of waking up. I made a video showing to show you what the surgery site will look like and talk about after care. Aftercare tips below too!

3 Things I always do for Aftercare

  1. Plan to take walks with your donkey. This helps encourage drainage from the surgery site. (check with your vet first)
  2. Isolate and give your donkey his own space to recover. Having a shared fence line with a buddy is ideal. 
  3. Plan to spend time gaining trust and building confidence. Some donkeys may become fearful after the surgery. Not all I’ve had gelded, but I have a few I had to start my Level 1 training over with. Have empathy and give him to time he needs to trust again. 

If you need a training program to help you build a solid, trusting foundation, check out my Level 1 Donkey Training Ebook and Course.

For my all my training programs, exclusive videos and new stuff added twice a month check out my subscription based Donkey Training Membership Group. 

Now, enjoy your new Gelding!

Geldings are my favorite! I love the girls too, but oh, a good gelding is such an amazing companion. If you want more training tips, donkey care information and inspiration you might love being on my Donkey Lovers List. I invite you to sign up and start living your best ‘donkey life’!