Will mares feed foals other than theirs? Now Im curious! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-09-2013, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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Will mares feed foals other than theirs? Now Im curious!

I know, curiousity killed the cat, but mine is pretty much unending.

In another thread a poster mentioned other foals following a mare other than mom to the food.

Cats, dogs, mice, wolves, and other animals will often nurse ANOTHER animals offspring in addition to theirs. I am not sure if its product of colony living or hormones, or what.

So Im wondering how mares react to the foals of others? Mares seem to be a bit testy lol. So do foals approach another milk source? If so, do the mares allow it?

Examples would be great!

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post #2 of 14 Old 08-09-2013, 02:17 AM
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I'm not an expert but there are nurse mares for foals of race horses. Lets see if I can explain this 😜... High dollar race horses have a high dollar foal, nurse mare has a foal, high dollar foal is given to mare to raise/nurse, nurse mare foal is adopted out.
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-09-2013, 02:19 AM
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Yes. There are 'nursing mares' out in the world that will adopt a foal that was abandoned from its previous mom so it can get the milk it needs.

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post #4 of 14 Old 08-09-2013, 02:26 AM Thread Starter
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What I meant is, will a mare with its own foal get approached by another foal in the field, and nurse that one in addition to its own?

I thought nurse mares had their own foals pulled?

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post #5 of 14 Old 08-09-2013, 03:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demonwolfmoon View Post
What I meant is, will a mare with its own foal get approached by another foal in the field, and nurse that one in addition to its own?

I thought nurse mares had their own foals pulled?
I've seen it happen before. Sometimes, if lucky, when a mare has twins and she doesn't abandon one they will both nurse. But of course, thats rare. Even with the nursing mares they will nurse both foals. I've even seen a mare nurse her foal along with a fawn, or something like that.
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-09-2013, 03:12 AM
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Yes, a mare will sometimes nurse another mares foal. I've seen it happen.
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post #7 of 14 Old 08-09-2013, 02:53 PM
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I have two mares right now that will let another foal nurse them. I have had to separate one of these mares because her foal was getting thin (is still thin).

One of my mares that does this is really good to have around because she will take an orphan foal if I have one. About 5 years ago she raised 2 foals. Her mother and she foaled on the same day. Her mother (23 years old then) died 10 days later. She raised both foals and both were fat and healthy.
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-09-2013, 04:15 PM
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We weaned 2 foals and still had one mare/foal combination to wean, but had not done that yet.

Dixie let the other 2 nurse in addition to her own foal, pretty funny to see them lined up taking turns.

Some will do it and some won't.

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post #9 of 14 Old 08-09-2013, 04:21 PM
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It depends on the mare. A number of nurse mares have their foals taken away. They have the foals wear coats with the mares foals scent on it. so, when the mare is taken from her biological foal they will put the coat from the biological foal on to the new adopted foal to get the mare to nurse. As a general rule, its an exceptional mare that will nurse another mares foal for an extended period of time.
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-09-2013, 04:36 PM
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Not many mares will nurse a foal other than their own. Even with the milk mares there is often a problem for the first few days getting the mare to accept the foal.
My mare was one that would allow any foal to suckle and when we had a mare die, leaving her foal aged 3 months, she adopted it although she never had a foal at foot. She couldn't suckle it but in all other ways she was its mother.
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