New To Foals - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By UnwindingDream
  • 1 Post By Foxhunter
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-12-2015, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: MI
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New To Foals

I'm familiar with older horse care, and have gotten comfortable there. However, I am not quite comfortable or familiar with any type of horse care. Let me elaborate. My mare is due anywhere between a week and three weeks yet (I'm figuring a week by her behavior and everything), and although I'm excited, I'm pretty nervous. My main problem is the weather. See, we live in Michigan. Right by lake Huron. At the moment, the temperature here is -5°, and feels like -12°. Apparently it's only supposed to get colder. I have two blankets for the baby, so if one gets too nasty it can be washed without an issue, but I'm not sure that's enough. We also have LOTS of straw on hand. Any advice or tips for dealing with the temperature being so low, or in just general care, would be greatly appreciated! Anything to calm my nerves a bit lol I've done lots of research, but I'm not really finding any results for this kind of stuff. And, personal experience from others is generally more helpful than researched information.
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post #2 of 8 Old 02-12-2015, 11:17 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Southern Indiana
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Lots of old towels to dry them off with after they are born is the most important thing you can do in cold weather. You don't want to bed them too deep with straw because it will hinder them in getting up and walking around. If the cold is extreme when baby decides to come you might consider a heat lamp until dry but I would not leave it on unattended. Really once they are dry, moving around and out of the wind they should be ok.

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
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post #3 of 8 Old 02-13-2015, 04:05 AM
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I always bed deeply with foals, on straw. Never had any problems with them standing or moving around.

As said, you can dry the foal somewhat with towels but I would not blanket a foal unless it was sick.
As soon as it is feeding it will be fine.

Many years ago I was out walking the dogs in N. wales, it was bitterly cold with rain and a cutting wind straight from the Arctic. I saw a mare foaling. I went to the farm and told the farmer, we walked back out to find the foal born and just tripping to stand, I asked him if he wanted to bring them in. He watched the foal suckle and said "they'll be fine, he's feeding."
They were.
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post #4 of 8 Old 02-22-2015, 08:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Indiana
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I'm going to have to follow this thread! My mare is due in September and Indiana has unpredictable weather!
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-05-2015, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: MI
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Update: When my mare foaled, it was a little after midnight and my vet was away on vacation. Well, the colt hadn't gotten up within an hour though he was trying. He'd gotten close, but couldn't really do it. So, I called the replacement vet to ask what she thought and she had no clue what to do. She didn't handle horses. Great, right? So, I called another vet. They wanted $800 just to come and check out the baby and mom for "emergency" check up rather than to give me any tips. Who has $800+ on hand after midnight? Not me. So, I tried another vet and finally at least got some advice on how to handle it. He said where it was so cold (-28°) to ensure he was dry, which we did well before this point. If he couldn't quite get it, help him up. If he didn't eat after six hours, he'd be more concerned, but to just monitor. So, we got him up. He was wobbly, but he eventually got it. He started trying to nurse on everything, but the teat. It took until 5pm to get him to actually nurse. We tried crosstieing my mare, because she was antsy due to her bag being so full. She relaxed, and he still wouldn't latch on. Tried bottling feeding him to ensure he'd get the colostrum. Nothing. He would start to suckle, and then just stop. He'd lick it off our fingers though. So, I milked my mare, and fed him a bit that way to keep him going. In between those feedings, we would take him up to the teat, milk her by his muzzle, and try to get him to latch. Finally, he latched three times in a row and got the hint. During this time, everyone had different tips, and kept telling me he was going to die within 2 hours if he didn't eat, not realizing he'd been going at least eight before any of them showed up! He's now two weeks old, and healthy as can be. We kept the straw thick enough to keep it padded, and shallow enough for him to walk comfortably in. And, if he started shivering (the temperatures went down to -35° the next two days!), the blanket was put on him. We monitored him for the first three days, roughly every hour on the hour after he was nursing to ensure he was fine in those temperatures. He was a lot of work, but well worth it. Thanks for the tips, guys :)
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post #6 of 8 Old 03-05-2015, 01:00 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Southern Indiana
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Glad to hear things turned out ok.

R.I.P. JC 5/19/85 - 12/9/14. You made my life better.
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post #7 of 8 Old 03-06-2015, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Happy to hear good things. i am glad non of mine had to deal with weather that cold. Here's to him having a long, healthy and happy life!
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-07-2015, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
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So glad it worked out!! Common sense wins out. :)

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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