Help please! First EVER foal... and it's winter....

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Help please! First EVER foal... and it's winter....

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  • When to call the vet for donkey foal
  • My first ever foal

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    11-14-2013, 10:49 AM
Exclamation Help please! First EVER foal... and it's winter....

So... we rescued a horse... and it turns out she's pregnant. And it's winter... most likely will be a very cold one. AND I have no clue when exactly she was bred or to what stallion.

When we first got her, she was a ribby rail; no muscle in the chest, a ewe neck, and extremely thin hindquarters. Now she's well rounded and well muscle-toned, and we're certain in foal.

Star has been used as a broodmare in the past, so I've no doubt she knows what to do, but I have no clue what to do myself. I've seen and been around donkeys foaling (easy peasy, never needed any help on our part), but never horses. Normally I wouldn't be so worried, but it's my first horse foal, and it is winter. She's also rather old... at least 17.

We have a shelter that we can close off and fill with hay for her (it does leak), and I do know how to rig a small blanket for the little baby if it is freezing cold (or did know... but I think I can figure it out again), not to mention we can build a fire nearby to warm up the area.

Anyone have any pointers on what I can/should do? (Other than call a vet... we really can't afford that right now. One of our horses has just healed from a nasty head injury in which he ripped a 3x4" flap of skin halfway off his face... over an inch square section of skull could be seen. He's healed now, but the huge scar left on our critter budget is still very visible.) We do have a mammoth donkey/quarter horse/mule breeder we can call over at a moment's notice in emergencies though.

I would greatly appreciate any and all suggestions and helpful hints. Thank you so much in advance.

(One other thing; another one of our mares is due this next spring.... also unexpected. She broke though our pasture fence and into the neighbor's... he keeps a stallion - a gorgeous one at that. So she's bred too... and that one will be her very first. Will she need help?)
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    11-14-2013, 01:14 PM
Have you had the mare checked to see if she is indeed in foal?
If not then that is the first thing you need to do.
That mare is not too old to have a foal so her age is not a problem.
In the last trimester of her pregnancy she needs to be fed more a good feed is essential during this time as the foal will gain a pound a day.
I give mine their annual shots and worm them 30-60 days before foaling to ensure they pass on immunity to the foal.
My mares foal outside in pastures but if you get severe cold weather then the shed will do.
No need to call the vet unless there are complications. If you can find the afterbirth you may have it checked to ensure she passed it all.
There are plenty of threads here with good advice . Read up on them and good luck. Shalom
    11-14-2013, 01:53 PM
The horse/donkey breeder took a look at her and told me she definitely was in foal. I cannot as of yet call a vet over to check as the nearest one lives a good ways away and his house calls are extremely expensive. :/

She's gaining weight even with the foal, so I think she's good there, but I'll be sure to up her feeding a little more anyway - just not too much. I'm so glad to her her age isn't going to be a problem. The exact timing of the worming though might be a little difficult... I don't know if she's a week away or two months away, though my friend seems to think she's in the last few weeks/months. Would it harm the foal to give it at the wrong time? (Many wormers I've seen have the 'don't give to pregnant mares' warning on them...) I've been using DE - diatomacious earth - as a natural wormer in her feed as well.

I'm thinking about penning her up in the shed at night... as weather here at this time of year is unpredictable at best. (And the back pasture is full of prickly pear.... I do NOT want her having it back there. We have been trying to get rid of it but... it's a loosing battle. X_x)

Thank you so much for the information and the good luck wishes! Now I'm off to read more.
    11-14-2013, 02:20 PM
Streamertail 2 years ago I bought a mare that at the time the Vet the owner and I all swore she was in foal during the PPE. 10 days later after not moving her as advised by the Vet I took her in to be palpated.
Guess what? She was not in foal.
The vet had been praticing for over 20 years, the owner and I both have been breeding for decades.
Only a vet can be certain if she is in foal.
Glad your reading up on the different things people do for their mares and foals. Shalom
NdAppy likes this.
    11-14-2013, 02:44 PM
I'll... see what I can do. Even if I was able to convince my dad to get a vet out here, there's no way we can afford it after our earlier equine fiasco. We're living off of less than $10,000 a year for three - my dad, myself, and my brother, not to mention over 100 other animals ranging from goats to dogs - with no help from anywhere.

Needless to say, a foal was not on our list of things to deal with at this time... if there even is one to deal with. A part of me hopes 'no', but the other is screaming 'yes'.

I've recently read that one of the ways to tell is if they're lop-sided; one side of the belly lower or different than the other side when looking directly at them from the front or back. And our girl definitely is that. From what I remember about the donkeys we used to breed, they were the same way. There were a few other 'old wives tales' about how to tell too... and I've tried every one of them. Star came up positive for each one. Dunno if that means much though. XD

Maybe I can contact my friend and see if she'll have the vet out at her place anytime soon... our house is very near hers...
    11-14-2013, 03:05 PM
If you cannot afford the vet visit now then plan and feed like she is in foal.
Better safe than sorry.
That is a lot of animals for you to care for .
Sounds like a full time job to me.
I hope your financial situation changes for the better soon. Shalom
KigerQueen likes this.
    11-14-2013, 04:29 PM
How on God's green earth is someone who earns $10,000/year with over 100 animals in a position to rescue a pregnant mare?
    11-14-2013, 04:38 PM
She was a trade... we traded a buck goat for her because she had the best temperament I've ever seen in a horse, and nothing scared her... not even little kids hanging off her tail or crawling under her. She was also an amazing trail horse. Definitely worth more than a buck goat that we needed to sell anyway.

And, as I mentioned before, we had no idea she was pregnant. That's the major reason I'm here - because this was so unexpected that I needed help.
    11-14-2013, 04:39 PM
Don't be rude Sahara they weren't aware the mare was pregnant.

I have no advice, but good luck! I hope all goes well if she is indeed pregnant(:
    11-14-2013, 04:39 PM
If you are in such a poor financial situation that you cannot get your mare a vet when she is pregnant, why do you A) Have over 100 animals and B) rescue MORE animals? I'm having a hard time believing that 10K per year is enough to keep those animals safe, happy, properly vetted and well cared for, let alone the people. Forgive me for being harsh, you didn't know she was pregnant but if you're so low on money you should probably have re-thought rescuing her.

foaling, mare, winter

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