Contact was made with the owners of Dudley to find out about the situation. They had sold up and were preparing to move to town in the next few days and leave Dudley behind! The next day, Virginia, who has given a wonderful home to Reuben of Ikaroa, collected Dudley and took him to her place.
Dudley was a jack stallion and Virginia has six donkeys, two of which are jennies and one of the geldings was a recent jack. It was pandemonium at her place! A neighbour rang to find out what the trouble was; the noise was so loud he thought there must be something wrong. No! It was just one very small jack stallion making a huge noise. Dudley was so pleased to see other donkeys!!
Dudley is the cutest little chap, Standing only 9.3 hh, he is a chocolate sweetie. He could have a dream home for the rest of his life with Virginia, but... he could not stay there unless he could be gelded. The problem was, we did not know his age, possibly 23, or even older? How much older? On further investigation with the former owner it turned out they had his registration certificate! What an amazing, wonderful discovery, which shows one of the great benefits of registering one’s donkey, as we now knew his age exactly - 22 years old.
I knew from experience that this was not too old to geld successfully if the donkey was healthy. But the local vet was going to be too expensive at $800 - there had to be two vets on hand for that age, so we took him to Massey University which cost $200. We also left him overnight for a further $75 to be sure he was OK.
It is much cheaper at Massey University for gelding as the students do it, but the experts supervise and I have never had a problem in all the years I have taken jack stallions to Massey. It is good that the students get experience in gelding donkeys; and also learn that a 22 year old donkey can be safely gelded. The hardest part was persuading Dudley to step onto the weigh scale. In the end he went on backwards!
The gelding went well and the next day we collected Dudley who made a great hit with the veterinary staff and had received visits from the small animal vets down the hill! We thought we had better get him home before he got used to all the fawning and petting!
Dudley has not looked back, and is now a happy gelding that will be able to share a paddock with all the other donkeys in a couple of months. He has a great home and his situation, which had looked so dire just a week or so ago, is now rosy and secure with a forever loving and caring home. He is now on a proper donkey diet and Virginia hopes he will lose some of the fat rolls on his neck, caused by eating the dog biscuits.
It is also useful for others to know that a healthy 22 year old jack stallion can be gelded safely. The vet needs to take certain care. Vets can check with Massey if they are unsure of what to do. I have had a 22 year old stud jack gelded at home some years ago, two vets came on that occasion, and he was also perfectly fine afterwards.