Donkey nursemaids

20 03 2007

Before dairy farms became popular, donkeys were used to provide milk for babies whose mothers couldn’t nurse them:

Doctor Parrot, who ran the nursery at the Hôpital des Enfants Assistés, describes in detail how it was done (from the Bulletin de l’Académie de médecine, 1882) : “The stables where the donkeys are kept are clean, healthy and well-aired; they open onto the nursing infants’ dormitory. Treated gently, the donkey easily lets itself be suckled by the baby presented to it. Its teat is well adapted to the baby’s mouth for latching on and sucking. The nurse sets on a stool to the right of the animal near its hindquarters. She supports the child’s head with her left hand , with his body resting on her lap. With her right hand she presses the udder from time to time to help the milk to flow, especially if the baby is weak. The babies are nursed five times during the day and twice during the night. One donkey can feed 3 infants for 5 months.”

Link (via Neatorama)

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2 responses

21 03 2007
Patricia Barlow-Irick

Can you imagine holding your baby under a donkey to nurse??? Well I would rather do that than make up bottles of cows milk. I wonder if they are still doing this in donkey-abundant cultures. 3 babies on a animal that eats low quality forage….. sounds like a wonderful idea. I doubt if my daughter-in-law is going to let me try it with my new grandson. Sigh…..

28 03 2008
Jenice (gaited horse lover)

I had no idea that this was done, though I have to say that when you think of it, it makes perfect sense. I’ll have to do more research on this topic.

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