Foaling - what do you do?
I have a foal due next month and would like to hear other peoples routines. This is my question?
So, what is your routine when you are foaling? Do you get up regularly though the night or leave them to it and see what you get in the morning?
My mare delivered a bit early an completely complication free so we weren't quite as prepared as we wouldlve liked, but usually I:
Make sure momma is in a clean box stall (if you don't have a box stall at least give her some sort of shelter and warmth for the foal), lots and lots of clean bedding (I've always seen straw be used) and as for keeping watch my friends and I would take shifts. Someone was always there watching the mare (yes, even through the night) in case she needed help.
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Hi, has she foaled before? When my last mare foaled she foaled unaided and on her own. When we bought her the owner didn't know she was in foal so we didn't have an exact date. We kept overnight vigil once she started bagging up and waxing but the one night we didn't do this (not sure the reason why now) she foaled. She had a really thick clean bed of straw and her foaling box door was left open so she could go out with the foal if she wanted (just personal choice). When we arrived in the morning the mare was out in the field and the foal was laid down and by the looks of things had just been born as afterbirth still on stable floor. Most mares tend to foal when no-one is there. I would just see how things progress and go with your instinct.
I am really curious about this too. My brother's mare is due in June and I am so excited! I have herd that Mares' prefer to foal alone, but I would love to see it!
I put my mare on camera the last month and sleep on the couch so I could watch her at night.......and bascially go no where the last two weeks and hope and pray she is not overdue.....other wise you become very sleep deprived.
Good point by the other posters, when I send keep watch at all hours, I didn't mean stand there and stare at her haha. We hung out in the barn aisle and would walk by and offer pets to mom once in awhile. Being close enough to hear her movig around is fine. A camera is a great option if you can rig it.
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Son in law had all kinds of plans so his kids could watch Dancer foal. I was a bit worried, but shouldn't have been. (I didn't want them screaming and laughing and disturbing her.) She foaled outside her shelter on a rainy, muddy morning in the middle of her pen. Go figure. I checked her before I left for work at 6:00 and she was up eating hay - absolutely no signs of labor. At 7:00 my hubby calls me and says there is a strange brown horse in the lot. She foaled that quick!
Is she a mini or a full-size horse? Minis often have complications from being bred down in size, which is why I ask.
Both times my mini foaled, I happened to be there. Both times I was feeding at night and she started pawing, laying down, breathing heavy. I really believe she waited on purpose for me to be there both times.
If it's a large horse, it's best to just stand aside and watch, not get in her way unless she's having visible signs of distress. If you want, call a vet up and have them talk you through what to do on the phone. You have a very small window of when the mare foals, it usually takes between 10 and 30 minutes. Don't get in the way of bonding, this is very important. Let the mother lick the sack off and the foal, this is imprinting and is how they bond. Make sure the foal eats within the first 12 hours, the colostrum is needed so they get the necessary nutrients. SAVE THE PLACENTA and take it to a vet within a day after foaling, so they can make sure it's all there and nothing is still in the horse that could kill her.
Find some books and internet sites, watch some foalings on YouTube, become accustomed to how everything goes. Stay calm, and remember to call a vet for support if you need :)
When I worked at a Curly breeder they brought their mares into a pen beside their house. The mares foaled without an option of shelter (ugh). When I boarded at a Quarter Horse breeders they always used straw as bedding because the foals can breath in the sawdust. If the mare was a maiden they had somebody on watch at night. If not then she was checked throughout the night.
I really like the idea of marestare.com. I watched a lot of live births and saw some emergencies. Mares should start popping up on there soon.
We use foaling cameras that connect to our (mine and my boss's) computers and take shifts watching for 2 weeks before due date. When the mare starts showing signs I watch on my laptop from the office or barn appartment. If all is going well I leave mum and babe alone, but someone is always at hand in case something goes awry. Oh, and we have large foaling stalls bedded with a layer of sawdust with a large quantity of straw on top. We also milk and bucket feed colostrum.
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