First Foal. Advice & Tips Needed :)
I bred and birthed my first foal this year and he's come out a cracker! Big strong Anglo Arab. I'm so happy with him and mummy as it was her first foal too, she made it look easy and has taken to motherhood perfectly. He's nearly 2 weeks old. I turn mummy and baby out everyday (weather depending obviously) for a good few hours in a good, secure paddock, and bring them in at night with plenty of food for mummy, they are happy and settled in their routine, my colt is suckling easily and lots so I have no concerns at all (so far! lol!)
I was wondering if there are any hints or tips more experienced breeders could give me? I have a few people around me that I ask but I don't want to feel like I'm pestering them with stupid questions all the time as they are busy people with their own foals to worry about lol.
I have a few little niggling questions that I have googled but I don't trust everything I read on the internet.
My colt is showing great interest in my mare's hard food, I often see him attempting to eat it when I feed her. I know foals mimic their mothers and that's how I learn but is it normal for them to actually eat it? cos he does! lol! How old should baby be before I start introducing hard feed and what should I feed him?
I have a head collar for him, when is best to start putting it on him?
When should I start teaching him to pick up his feet and basic things like that?
I noticed yesterday that my colts dung is quite runny, is this normal?
I have read lots of books on foaling, and young stock, but I am getting mixed instructions from them. To be honest I'm getting mixed instructions from everyone! lol! I'm open to any kinds of hints or tips, I'm new to this and just want to make sure I do everything right.
Thank You :-)
Welcome to the forum. Your post is a bit hard to read due to the text color you chose - just as an aside.
Your mention of mixed instruction caught my eye - the saying goes, "Ask ten horse people how to do something, you'll likely get eleven different answers" - unfortunately, you will find that will likely be true here as it has been in the books and other resources you have been using thus far as everyone has their own approach to how they do things (including in working with horses). The key is to decide for yourself which approach YOU want to use with YOUR horse(s) and go from there.
The runny dung at two weeks of age is likely the "normal" foal scours - do a quick bit of research on it and you'll find it is actually quite typical for foals at his age. The old school of thought was that it was caused by the mare's hormones of her foal heat, but that has been disproved as even orphan foals of this age will show the foal scours.
I would be working with the foal now to get him accustomed to having the halter/head collar put on and taken off. I would also be accustoming him to having his body touched, handled and manipulated (ie handing his legs and feet). The more you can make "normal" for him from day one the less you will have to struggle to get him to accept later on when you decide to start doing things with him.
What hard feed are you giving your mare? It may or may not be appropriate for a foal. If it is appropriate for a foal, allow him to continue doing what he is doing - and, yes, it is normal for him to be exploring and consuming that feed (which is why it is important to make sure that what is accessible to him is appropriate feed).
Arr yes I see my colour of font is awful -_- apologies for the pink! :-)
thank you for your response thats helped a lot already! :-D
I have already put the head collar on him and led him in it, that was fun! lol! I have also been picking his feet up and touching him everywhere, hes a very easy going little boy for such hot bloodlines lol, he comes up to me no problems and is so easy to handle, so far...I will continue with this :-) glad I'm actually doing the right thing!! LOL! Its a relief :-)
My mare is on youngstock mix, sugarbeet, molley chaff original and Rowan Barbary ready mash. 1 scoop of each.
Thanks again :D x
Proboitic's may help with the scours, if it get really bad I've used anti diarrhea medication like keopectate (sp) at the advice of my vet.
BTW, I completely forgot - congratulations on your foal.....pictures are a must :-)
Hahaha! thank you very much :D http://www.facebook.com/ajax/messagi...D8HtzP1man3XZn - if that didnt work its gunna look like random numbers and I shall try again! LOL! I've called him Royal Trooper
Hello, my own colt Aldis is just about a month and a half old. He's an Irish Sporthorse (Irish Draught sire and Swedish Warmblood Dam)
I know foals mimic their mothers and that's how I learn but is it normal for them to actually eat it?
Yup but don't worry typically when it hits the gums of their back teeth it hurts their gums and they'll drop it after a few minutes. If they do swallow it it's not a big deal.
>How old should baby be before I start introducing hard feed and what should I feed him?
I find it depends on the foal, but typically around 3 weeks. Aldis is huge and giant already and sucking the life out of his momma, so he doesn't get a whole lot, quiet literally two handfuls of pelleted grain. I feed Purine Ultium Growth, as it's specially formulated for pregnant and lactating horses and foals. I just enough to mix his little foal supplements in to.
>I have a head collar for him, when is best to start putting it on him?
After you've tied up the placenta. Lots of schools of thought on imprinting, and while I don't like that term "imprinting" I do believe in schooling and experiences from the start. Aldis had his halter on and off within minutes of being born, and started to learn how to lead, yield to pressure, back, turn and stop all in less than 12 hours after hitting the ground.
He also was blanketed, clipped (just a little bridle path to experience clippers), fingers poking in ears, noses mouths and manly bits, sprayed with warm water, had a fly mask on and learned to pick up each hoof.
>When should I start teaching him to pick up his feet and basic things like that?
See above. You want to set reasonable goals, but you also need to have some expectations. If you raise him to succeed he will. I expect that Aldis will not have an attention span longer than a minute or two, and that he needs a ton of positive reinforcement in order to learn things. I didn't expect he would know how to balance himself on three legs just after being born 8 hours before, BUT after 8 hours he learned how to walk and run on his own, so in my opinion, learning to stand on three legs, with someone is helping supporting your body weight is achievable. Little baby steps. First I run my hands up and down and tell him how handsome he is. Then I lean in a little with my shoulder while running my hands down and he balances on me and moves his leg. I tell him how smart he is. Then I will go clean something or pet on momma, then I can come back and this time when he moves his leg I catch the hoof and hold it for one second. Usually me holding him surprises him but the one second is so fast he doesn't have time to fight or stomp. We do one second again and again and we work on either him balancing himself, OR him keeping it up until I put it down (one or the other heís still a baby and can't do both right?) and then slowly we put the picture together. pick it up stand, balance on his own and then we add in touching the hoof, then brushing the hoofs out with just the brush and then on to soft picking, not to clean them but to give him a new experience. but the time he was 4 days old I had the farrier out and she could check his hooves picking them up without a problem.
>I noticed yesterday that my colts dung is quite runny, is this normal?
Yup, he's on a milk based diet; my poops would be gross too. Once he starts to transition to moms hay and grain, they'll firm up. I also agree that some probiotics help as well. They will always be a little goopy until he's off of the milk.
Again there are many schools of thought, I'm friends with a lovely lady who believes that foals should have a childhood and not even see a person until a month before its time to wean.
I believe that whatever your life is like, is what you assume is "normal." When you're little you don't know you're rich or poor until you compare it to other people. You do what you do as it's comfortable for you, and thatís what's normal.
To my boy Aldis, we have twice daily lessons where:
∑ We cuddle (to him he gets love, for me, I am teaching him how to be touched all over and how to move with and way from pressure).
∑ We get happy scratches time (he gets scratches in all the best spots and I'm teaching him how to accept being groomed by rubber curries and assorted brushes and combs.
∑ We take walks with mom (My husband leads mom and I lead baby, and we work ground work)
∑ We play with toys (I have a 42" Equispirit ball he loves to kick around with his knees like a soccer ball or attack and wrestle with, I'll post pictures at the end of this. We also have the EquiSpirit horse jack, it looks like big plastic rubber jack and he can pick it up with his mouth, He also has a has a jolly-ball and a big rubber squeaky chicken, it was a dog toy, he likes to punt and chew on)
∑ We like to go visit auntie Christel, at the farm I used to board at before I had my own farm.
o She has covered arena, and trail obstacles we can play with. We know how to walk over tarps, and through puddles, and around cones and barrels and over poles and over wood bridges. I turned mom and baby loose in the arena and they just went exploring for an hour wandering around the arena, and then after that I lead just mom around the course and baby followed, over and around everything.
o Going to Auntie Christels means we have to get in the trailer, but its super close so itís not a scary or long ride.
The best thing about foals being SO young is that they are glued to their mommaís side, and you can use that as a training benefit. Aldis trained himself to trailer. I have a 2 horse slant, step up trailer. I put a calm, happy momma in the trailer and closed the divider. I turned around and Aldis was standing inside of the trailer, ready to go. What was more scary a trailer or being away from momma. For my boy, the trailer has NEVER been scary because that is his "normal". To him it's normal to jump in and go someplace new.
I am a firm believer that in many ways horses are like dogs, you NEED to get them educated and out and socialized in the world, otherwise you end up with nervous adult who hasn't been anywhere or seen anything.
Again Aldis was born JUST under a month and a half ago, and he already has started on a bunch of skills. In fact 2 days before he was 1 month old, he was in his first show. We took him down to a Schooling Show to be show in a couple halter classes. I got permission for mom to accompany him in the ring but not be shown herself, and he did awesome! He got a first place in Halter, horses not of riding age (only one in the class) a 3rd out of 5 people in Halter, Horses non-color and 5th out of 7 in Halter, Open. He was even eligible for the Champion Halter class, and while he didn't win in one day before he was even a month old, he has shown in 4 classes and legitimately placed in two.
Not because I'm magic or he's brilliant, but because for the 5-10 minutes after I grain mom in the morning and evening, we have super special baby and me time where we play new games, get fun rewards and always end on a happy note.
I hope this helps!
I'm still working on my site but you can see picutres of newarly everything I talked about:
That is some amazing advice :-) thank you so so much everyone! I will defo put your words into action now :D thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed response :-) much love! I will have a nosey through your site :D I will upload a photo of my little rock-star when I work out how to do it :-S haha! xx
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