Mare seems to HATE her foal...running out of ideas...
Hello everybody! Before I begin, this is my inaugural post on this site and I hope to learn quite a bit about these wonderful things we call horses during my tenure on these boards! And on that note: please please please do not hesitate to correct me if I am wrong
Okay, now that the cheerful introduction is out of the way, it's time to get to a more unhappy issue...
Late last night, I got a text from my dad saying that he was making the four hour drive from just outside of San Antonio to pick me up at Texas Christian University because of a rather disconcerting situation regarding a mare and her newly born foal on our property. I don't have classes on Fridays, so this was no problem at all in terms of academics.
Anyway, this mare (about ten years old) has had three foals in previous years without issue. In fact, she was the caring (but properly disciplinarian) mother that a horse mother should be.
Two and a half weeks ago, she gave birth to a BEAUTIFUL jet-black foal (a male) with a white "question mark" on his forehead.
The birth itself was a rather difficult process for the mare; not only was the birth a breech birth, but the foal was quite large. I was not present for the birth itself, but my mom mentioned that it took a little over an hour for the whole process to occur.
The problem? From the moment that the birth was over, the mare seemed to ABSOLUTELY HATE this thing that came out of her. She won't let him nurse, forcefully bumping him away when he comes near her (my parents have been busy tending to him). On numerous occasions in the last two weeks, she has kicked or bitten him. She wants absolutely nothing to do with him and I've been told that it's not terribly uncommon for her to just leave him by himself or chase him away, ears pinned, baring (sp?) her teeth. Today was the first day that I actually saw the new baby and, simply put, it's heartbreaking. He's such a beautiful little guy and sweet as anything. Not to sound corny, but he just wants his mommy but mom does not share the same sentiments. If more information is needed, I will be happy to provide it, but the point is that we have raised many a foal from birth to adulthood on our farm and neither of my parents have ever seen a mare this brutally vindictive towards her baby.
I'm so sorry that this has happened. It does occure occasionally, though it is fairly rare, especially with a healthy foal...is she letting him drink?
Some mares do reject their babies. She might sense that there is something wrong with him physically or something. He might be perfectly healthy and she still feels the need to reject him. If worse comes to worse it might be safer to bottle/bucket feed him instead of letting the mare hurt him. Ive seen mares that hated their foals but would still let them nurse. Also seen mares who kicked the babies they loved through fences over feed. If she is becoming a danger to this poor guy i say see about hand rearing him. Just be SURE to watch his manners and hand reared babies tend to get SUPER spoiled if not. I would also consider putting him in with a babysitter horse. An older gelding or mare who would be willing to show him the "ropes" of being a horse. Either that or see if you can find a nursemare who will take him in as her own.
I know you can rent "nurse" mares and also nursing goats! There are farms out there that specialize in sending nurse mares to people who have rejected foals.
Get foal away from her if haven't already.
And have seen mares that will savage foal although had had no trouble with another foal.
Mare's Match is good, we raised one on that, and others on Foal Lac.
And there are some lines of Arabians that I understand this type of thing is fairly common in and that was first time I had heard of linage contributing?
How is your foal getting its nutrients? Did the mare let it nurse within the first couple hours? Im worried about it getting the colostrum. A mares' milk is vital to a new born foal. So many things can go wrong in this situation.
Aww poor little guy. :(
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