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Really dumb question from a newbie to foals...
How old are foals when they normally start trying to eat solid foods? I've noticed Rain sticking her nose in Dancer's feed bucket. She only turned a week old Monday. Do I need to separate her from momma while momma eats? Is it okay to let her try momma's feed? Is there something in particular she should be fed at a certain age?
This is our little sweetie, Dances with Rain:
As far as my limited experience goes, it is pretty normal. Rafe was munching on hay within a few days of being born. I don't think they can really get much nutrition from it and I honestly don't think she would eat enough to cause any problems. That is how they learn, just like humans, by emulating mom. I would just leave her be.
The BO where I board puts out a creep feeder once they really start showing interest. This way the baby can get some without mama trying to hog it or push them out of the way. At a week old she is just experimenting but she should be starting to get teeth very soon and will start to nibble on grass, hay, grain, and she'll start to drink water too. Make sure there is a bucket or trough in reach for her. There is a month old colt at the farm right now and he was starting to graze last week.(Which was pretty comical to watch with those looong legs)
She's getting teeth, trust me. She showed them to me yesterday. She didn't offer to bite, but she loves to give us a "horsey smile." She did give me kisses, too. I've had several horses, but have never had one that gave kisses and hugs like my mare, Dancer, does. Looks like Rain is going to be just as affectionate.
Don't mares come into "birth heat" at about 9-10 days? I'd heard that it can cause diahrea (sp?) in foals, but haven't seen any sign of heat in Dancer or problems with Rain...so far. (but I may have just jinxed myself) Then again, you never could tell when Dancer was in heat before she got pregnant, anyway...
Foals will always start eating (or nibbling) bits of food when a week old. i would not seperate them at the moment, but in the future when mum may start to get a bit possesive over her feed bucket, i would perhaps take action!
Actually no one is really sure what causes scours(diarrhea all foals have normally coinciding with a mares foal heat). Orphaned foals fed supplements go through scours too, so I don't think foal heat actually causes the scours. You should keep an eye out for it. Sometimes you can't hardly tell they have it though. If she gets a bad case you'll need to wash her bum off daily and put some vaseline on the area to keep it from irritating the area too much. It can cause a bald patch if you're not careful.
Thanks, guys. I'm just a worry wort. She's just so darn cute, and I'm scared to death I'm going to do something wrong or miss something and she'll suffer for it.
Gee - for someone who was soooo PO'd to find out my mare was preggers, I sure have changed my tune! (NOT that I want it to happen again:evil:)
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