Care of the new born foal and the mare.
Early steps to evaluating the health of your foal and mare
> The mare carried the foal for the full gestational period of 320 and 360 days.
> The mare has had a natural, problem free delivery.
> The mare has totally discharged the foetal membranes
> The mare is mothering the foal immediately
> The foal manages to stand and take their first unsteady steps.
> The mare stands quietly while the foal nuzzles her abdomen searching for the udder.
> The foal is suckling well and greedily, and is receiving the most important colostrum from the mare.
It is always advised to arrange a visit from your vet within the first 24 hours of birth to check the mare and foal thoroughly:
The vet will check for:
> No signs of birthing traumas such as broken ribs.
> Treat the umbilical stump with an iodine solution and look for any hernias.
> Anatomy is all correctly formed.
> Passing of urine and the first stool is achieved.
> Alertness and vision is not impaired by eyelids or lashes that are turned inwards.
> A blood test may be taken from the foal to be sure they have received sufficient immunoglobulins from the colostrum, which will protect the foal from infections for the first few months
The mare will also be examined for:
> She has no vaginal problems such as tears.
> Her foetal membranes will be examined and that all the 'after birth' has been totally discharged.
> That she producing sufficient milk with no pain or discomfort around the udder.
> General well being with no evidence of anxiety.
Sweating during the birth and the production of milk drain the mare of fluid, therefore it is essential to provide fresh water regularly. Foals can drown in water buckets and tubs therefore it is advised to secure the water container off the floor. Good quality forage should be fed liberally and as she may find it sore to pass dung a bran mash is recommended in her first hard feed, normal feeding can be resumed after a couple of days providing she is passing dung easily.
Turnout should be no longer than a couple of hours in the first two or three days, gradually extending the time over the following weeks. Cold weather is seldom harmful however wet, damp and windy weather is unsuitable as the foal will struggle to maintain their body heat in the early days.
After foaling some mares will become very protective, becoming slightly aggressive towards humans, respect this and be careful. when approaching the mare initially and when you touch the foal. The sooner you do make a contact with them both the better, however always be aware of the strong motherly bond.
There is no more beautiful site than a foal frolicking around the mare, keep a very close eye on them both through the first few months for any physical, temperament, or condition changes. A healthy foal can become very ill, very quickly, NEVER hesitate to call your vet with any concerns you have with either of them, however small they may be.
Next time, when things unfortunately go wrong...
READ MORE BREEDING RELATED ARTICLES
- Beeding Part 1 - Preparation and gestaion -Take responsibility, choosing the stallion. Read more
- Breeding Part 2 - Care of the Pregnant Mare, how does the foal develop. Read more
- Breeding part 3 - The Big Day Arrives.Read more