Jenny (donkey)

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This article is about the female donkey. For the small medieval Spanish horse, see Jennet.

A jenny is a female ass or donkey. Occasionally, a female mule is referred to as a jenny, but more often, the term "molly," "mare" or "mule mare" is used. In Ireland, the word jennet is used for a hinny. This usage was carried with immigrants to North America. In western Canada, the term "jennet" is sometimes used instead of "jenny." (The term Jennet usually refers to a type of horse popular in the Middle Ages.) One archaic term for a jenny was "she-ass." An intact male donkey is called a "Jack."

Jennies have a 12-month gestation period, longer than the 11-month gestation period of the horse mare.[1] The gestation can range from 11 to 14 months.[2] They also have a conception rate that is lower than the approximately 60-65% rate for mares. Twins are rare, but occur more frequently among donkeys than horses. They have a seasonal estrus (heat) cycle, which, in the Northern Hemisphere, begins in March and occurs every 21 to 28 days.[1]

A jenny will come back into heat nine to ten days after foaling. Unlike the practice with mares, breeders do not generally breed jennies on this "foal heat" because their rate of conception is then low; likely the reproductive tract has not returned to normal.[1] Jennies are usually very protective of their foals, and some will not come into estrus while they have a foal at side.[3] The time lapse involved in rebreeding, and the length of a jenny's gestation, means that a jenny will have fewer than one foal per year. Breeders plan for three foals in four years.[1]

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