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Question for Past or Present Breeders
Ok, This is going to be my first foaling experience. I usually bed my stalls with shavings, but was told not to for her to have the foal because if a piece of the shavings gets in the foals eye, it could cause it to be blinded. I bedded a stall in straw that the BO had. I went to buy more straw, and it is $4 more on the bale than the grass hay that I feed! I told the BO that I would rather just bed the stall in the grass hay since it doesn't have any weeds and seems much softer than the straw. He said that I could, just to make sure that it didn't have any fescue in it.
Now for my questions:
Is there any reason I shouldn't do this? I could bed the stall with 5 - 6 bales of hay, which would give her plenty to pick at too. Instead of the recommended 3 bales of straw.
What would be the problem if the hay had fescue in it?
For all the babies that have been born where I board here, they used regular grass hay and piled it thick. I have heard fescue is a no-no.
Tall fescue has an endophyte fungus on it which can cause many problems in the foal and mare.
-Lower Reproductive effieciency later on
-Agalactia(no milk production)
-Thickened Placenta(foal couldn't bust the sac on its own and would smother)
Just to name some. As for if you could use hay instead, I honestly don't know. Bacteria can't stay on straw as it's round(thats what I've heard anyway). Make sure you dip the umbilical stump in iodine/betadine a few times a day to keep it from getting infected once the foal is born. Let the mare alone unless you see something wrong. Do not cut the umbilical stump. It should break on its own, but if not, snap it with your fingers, as scissors and a cut invite more germs.
I know some of that had nothing to do with your post, but just a few tips. Also, inform the vet your mare is due to foal soon and put them on speed dial if something does happen to go wrong. But usually they get on just fine. Congrats on the soon to be foal. Pics once its born is an absolute must!!!
Many mini breeders bed in grass hay successfully :)
GREAT!!!!!!!! Thanks guys!
And Southerncowgirl...thanks for all the information on the tall fescue. Now I understand why he told me to make sure it wasn't in there.
The only problem you would have with fescue is if you fed it to the mare DURING her pregnancy. It may cause a thickened placenta among other things. After the mare has foaled she can eat fescue.
Thanks Kevinshorses. I'm almost positive that there isn't any fescue at all in the hay that I've been feeding her. I'm going to call the guy I get it from tomorrow though...just to be on the safe side. If there is, looks like I'm going to be spending a few nights at the barn.
He's right. I didn't even think to mention that. lol
I have always kept straw on hand when I foal a mare in a stall, but since I attend the births (sometimes some long sleepless nights LOL) I continue to bed with shavings (actually the last 2 I have used bedding pellets) and wait to over-bed the shavings with straw when the mare is very very close, or sometimes right after her water breaks. Leaving a layer of shavings under the straw improves absorbency and traction, keeps the stall cleaner and drier, and as long as the straw is plentiful enough, should not pose a problem for shavings sticking to the orifices of the newborn.
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