Expenses that go into breeding??
So, I'm of a curious nature, and although I have never done any breeding of my own and don't intend to in the near future, I was wondering, what kinds of expenses need to be considered when you are deciding whether or not to breed your mare? I'm sure it's tons more than the initial stud fee... and of course the no brainer of a couple vet visits and the fact that you have an entire second horse (big fat duh) when the baby is born. But... what other expenses do you take into account? How does it all add up?
Initial costs (not sure of the prices though, and I'm sure it varies by area and vet), are getting a breeding soundness exam done on the mare. You need to make sure that the horse doesn't have any uterine infections, I believe that they will also flush the mare, make sure that everything is in order with her ovaries, and that there's nothing visible that may prevent a successful pregnancy. Next comes deciding whether or not you want to do live cover or AI. Live cover you generally leave the mare at the stallions facility, and they'll tease her, and when the time is right, either decided by her actually being receptive to the stallion, or a vet checking to see where she is in her heat cycle, she's then covered. Each place is a bit different. Some will cover a couple of times, some will cover until she's definitely taken. If you are doing AI, then you have to decide either fresh or frozen, fresh is more expensive than frozen, and if doing fresh, you have to have a vet check her several times, see where she is in the heat cycle, and when the optimal time is to do AI, then you have to get a hold of the farm, and get the straws sent. Doing fresh semen, you have a small window within which to get the straws, and inseminate the mare. Doing frozen, you have to find a vet that has the facility to keep frozen straws, and unfreeze them the correct way, and inseminate her at the appropriate time. After she's been inseminated, you then have to do ultrasounds, and make sure that she actually is pregnant, then start the process of regular visits to make sure that everything is going fine. One person I talked to said that she spent I think it was $7,000 total JUST to get her mare pregnant, as her mare kept twinning, so they had to keep retrying, then after she took finally and had just one, it was another 2 or 3k in regular vet visits, feed, care of the mare ect.
^^On top of everything that was mentioned above, you also have to take into account (and prepare for) the risk if something goes badly during the pregnancy or birth. Some mares need special feeding or additional special care during pregnancy to maintain their health that would be an added cost.
In the best case scenario, the cost is as little as a few hundred dollars, worst case scenario (short of losing one of them, or both) is that it could potentially cost thousands. Which, in this market, would be a completely irreconcilable monetary loss for anything less than a high end show horse.
Stallion breeding fee---- $500--$1000 and up
Mare breeding soundness exam, culture, biopsy---$150
Palpation/ultrasound during heat cycle to determine stage of heat--$75
Mare care at stallion's facility for 14-30 days--$100-$300
14 day ultrasound for detecting pregnancy--$75
Transport costs to and from stallion facility/vet-- $50 and up
Rhino vaccs at 5-7-9 months (add one at 3 months depending on vet recommendation/your area/past history)---$75
Fall preg check--$75
Increase in feed for the last trimester of pregnancy--$50 and up.
Accomodations for foaling and new foal-- variable
Supplies for foaling--$50
Well foal check including IGg--$150
*Minimum* (using lowest figures in each category) $1650-- including $500 stud fee and $100 mare care, if there are no additional costs for foaling accomodations.
The above list would be a bare minimum of needs for a normal pregnancy and foaling. Even if the pregnancy/foaling was relatively uneventful, there could very easliy be additional costs for additional palpations/ultrasounds, uterine treatments, Casliks sutures and removal of Casliks, additional mare care, etc.
I have inserted the estimated costs per what it would cost me with my own vet clinic. My vet clinic charges a $50 farm call, or a $25 office visit charge on top of the actual charge for the procedure, so that cost is figured in as well, but I suspect I am still figuring a little low for some things. I give my own Rhino shots. I have my own stallion, so I don't pay a breeding fee or mare care specifically, but I do feed and house a stallion year round just to breed my own mares so I am probably paying more per mare than I would if I used an outside stallion.
We recently had this survey on our Gypsy Horse forum. With stud fees usually between $1,500 and $2,500, I think most of us had at least $4,000-$5,500 in a breeding. Some a great deal more. Then of course, there is the raising of the foal to sale age or beyond if it doesn't sell immediately.
If something goes wrong which includes heavy vet bills, cost of bring up any foal properly, can become very expensive. And 'properly' is the operative word here.
Any idiot can find a cheap stallion, or breed free to the stallion down the road, do little in the way of care for the mare and just hope for the best.
Responsible breeding takes research, thought, extra mare care, foal care and money. And of course, being willing to keep that foal until the perfect home is found and if not, keep it for life. Dumping last year's foals by whatever means, because a breeder is expecting a new spring crop, is not the way to go.
Fantastic info guys, I really think this should be stickied. I'm favoriting it anyways as reference anytime someone wants to claim it's cheaper to breed then buy a $500 registered weanling at auction!
East, thanks for the breakdown of costs. My client had just given me a final sum, but its so much better to see the monetary value of EACH procedure not just the final cost when all is said and done. And I agree Macabre, it should be stickied. I think its valuable information, great for reference down the road for other people with the same question.
There's also genetic testing for HYPP, HERDA, and OLWS, which don't cost much, but could completely stop your decision to breed (the first two) or if your mare is positive for OLWS, your market for stallions (and stud fees) could change.
Very interesting info, everyone -- thanks! My mare is APHA registered (sorrel w/a star) and has been bred before by her previous owner and threw a filly that came out almost all white with a brown patch on her eye. She was really pretty.
I heard a term once that refers to whether or not a mare has been bred before. Can someone clarify for me what it is and why people say it?
Do you mean "maiden"? A maiden mare would be having her first foal.
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