Could this be the first milk?

We have just returned from the fiestas in Finestrat, and processing the Christo del Remei from the hermitage to San Bartolomeo for Sunday Mass, then lunch with family and friend Ben Carter, visiting from Portugal. I looked at Rubi as soon as we arrived home and it looks like the milk has arrived. There is a dried liquid deposit, muddied through dust-rolling, on her teats and underbelly next to them. Can anyone with experience (Barabara?) comment on what they see? This looks like the start of milk flowing.

The dried liquid seems to have accumulated on her underside while she was lying down in the dust during the day, so that is why it is above the level of her teats. Picture two shows another angle, seeming to show a bulge of the milk sac.

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About Gareth Thomas

A fairly mixed career starting as an aircraft technician and later Franciscan friar eventually led into secondary school teaching. I settled in Spain where I teach Geography part-time and spend the rest of my time looking after the needs of four donkeys in a remote location in the mountains in the Costa Blanca. I have two blogs: a geography blog and a donkey blog.
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10 Responses to Could this be the first milk?

  1. karin says:

    This should prove interesting…I didn’t think that mammals had milk production or even colustrum until post delivery…or did I miss a post that she’s given birth???

  2. Frere Rabit says:

    No, Karin, you didn’t miss a post. There will be photos of the foal as soon as!

    Milk should be there shortly before birth, according to advice already provided. But the question is, is this it? I can’t get close enough to feel it now as Rubi is kicking me when I try to explore… (Sorry, donkey.)

  3. Barbara says:

    I would expect her teats to be more swollen if it was imminent.

  4. JabbaPapa says:

    I didn’t think that mammals had milk production or even colustrum until post delivery

    It varies from one individual to another, but lactation does normally start prior to delivery (in some individuals, who would tend to become wet nurses in the human species, lactation can be pretty much independent of pregnancy itself).

    erm, I *seem* to remember that lactation starts earlier if the fetus is female, as this pours more estrogen into the parent’s system, thus speeding up the milk production.

    I would expect her teats to be more swollen if it was imminent.

    First lactation doesn’t necessarily mean that the birth is absolutely imminent … 🙂

  5. Frere Rabit says:

    Excellent advice, Jabbapapa. Thank you. By the way, even Ben Carter is now fascinated by the donkeys, having met them.

  6. Anonymous says:

    First lactation doesn’t necessarily mean that the birth is absolutely imminent … 🙂
    No, it doesn’t, but if there is no sign of milk there is probably not going to be much happening birthwise. It seems that donkeys have a somewhat variable gestation period and may even have some maternal control over the timing. Certainly they will often wait until they are alone before givibg birth!

  7. JabbaPapa says:

    VERY interesting contribution there Anonymous, and you do make a very good point about the uncertainty of the gestation period – even in humans, it can last for up to 10 months in some cases…

    (Edited the off topic stuff re. DT blog. Sorry, but not here please. – Lapin)

  8. Frere Rabit says:

    Caroline, why do your posts always come up as ‘Anonymous’ ? Can you fix it at your end? I can’t do anything about it here.

  9. Barbara says:

    um, not sure who Caroline is but the anonymous post was from Barbara (that’s me). I don’t know why, though…..

  10. Frere Rabit says:

    Sorry Barbara! Most confusing… Caroline wrote to say her posts were coming up as ‘Anonymous’ but she did not know why.

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