getting foals to suckle from a teat (not mothers)

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getting foals to suckle from a teat (not mothers)

This is a discussion on getting foals to suckle from a teat (not mothers) within the Horse Breeding forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category

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    09-27-2010, 10:39 PM
getting foals to suckle from a teat (not mothers)

Long story...will tell it all later but for now im looking for peoples experiences with getting a foal to suckle from a bottle. My foal was born last night and long story short he needs to be bottle fed but he's not taking to it very well. And hints would be great :)
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    09-27-2010, 10:53 PM
First off, you must get colostrum into your foal ASAP if he has not had sufficient, OR you must get a plasma transfer. Otherwise your foal will not have immunity to stay healthy/alive until his own immune system develops.

Next-- I would advise bucket-training him. Hold a dish or small bucket under her head, dip your fingers in the milk, and let him lick your fingers. Lower your fingers into the dish/bucket, keep up the dipping/licking until his nose is touching the milk, and eventually he will (hopefully) try the milk.

It takes time and patience. But getting a foal to drink from a bucket can make it waaaay easier to raise, since as they get older, you can leave 1/4 to 1/2 day's milk in front of them all the time, meaning way less times you have to wake up to feed, and also baby will drink as much as they want to any time they want to.

Sorry for your complications with mama, whatever they might be-- been there done that-- the first week or 2 is a blur, but it usually settles into a routine pretty quickly.
    09-27-2010, 10:55 PM
I know about the colostrum and milking mum and have bought some colostrum from the local uni.

He's too weak to lift his head to drink and he can't stand yet cause he was undercooked and his front legs need to fuse. Hence why he needs the bottle :( he's had about 100ml of colostrum all up which I know is nowhere near enough. Have mixed colostrum from mum with a foal starter milk and he's had about 20ml of that but obviously that isnt enough either

He's just not getting the sucking thing. He will suck on a finger but not the teat
    09-27-2010, 11:03 PM
Does he have a suck reflex? Is he swallowing well? If not, its too soon to start trying a bottle, and he may need a vet to install a nasogastric tube so he can have milk go right into his tummy. A good meal thru a stomach tube is sometimes enough for baby to feel strong enough to think about sucking and swallowing.

If he IS swallowing well, you can try a human baby bottle with the hole cut a bit larger, so when you squeeze the bottle gently, it will squirt a bit into the baby's mouth. Once the baby swallows, and feels the nipple, it sometimes starts his latch on and suck reflex.

I had a "dummy foal" born this year which I had to feed via a large syringe for the first 1 1/2 days-- he could swallow and wanted to suck, but his tongue was swollen and got in the way of him getting a good enough seal on any type of nipple to be able to suck. Days 1 1/2 to day 4 I did the baby bottle as described above. The evening of day 4 he started to nurse on his own.
    09-27-2010, 11:46 PM
He does have a suck but its not super is there though. I have a foal teat that I have attached to an old juice bottle.

We did however just realise his suck wasnt enough so I got him sucking on my finger and hubby squeezed milk on it and he got a bunch that way but then refused the teat normally lol BUT he did have a fair size drink and to me, at the moment that's the main thing ;)
    09-28-2010, 02:43 AM
Poor little guy!

My colt was strong and stood up right away and he still had trouble finding the nipples on the mare. He would suck, suck, suck, all over her body and right between her hind legs, but she had had a lot of foals so her nipples hung low and he could never seem to find them. For about the first 24 hours I would help him get the nipple in his mouth when he was in the right vicinity, because otherwise he would suck as high as he could reach and never find the right spot. I actually tried a baby bottle too but he never got the hang of it. Luckily after a day or so of assistance he learned where the milk came from. I think it was about 4-5 hours before I actually got a good meal of colostrum into him.

I hope your little guy gets strong in no-time and can stand and nurse soon. Hugs and well-wishes!

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