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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many of you have heard about our OTTB mare Sierra and her little filly, Kenzie. Well very sadly, the mare died unexpectedly last night, presumably of a stroke. Its strange really. She seemed to actually be doing a little better the night before, then this morning we came out she was dead in her shed, and she took an entire wall down. Thats why we think she had a stroke, because she was in a large 3 sided shed with a connected paddock, but she had thrown herself against the wall and slid down, bringing it with her. Poor gal. The vet says she probably felt no pain though, and since we were going to euthenize her next week anyways due to health problems and lameness/bad teeth- we're glad she was able to pass naturally, even though it was unexpected.

But now we have a 3 month old filly to care for, and we have no experience with orphans. We tried to get her to take a bottle, but its not working. However, she's already grazing a bit and was creep feeding before her dam died, so my question is: is it safe to just feed her omleen 400 (what she's creep feeding) at this age? What else should we do? Should she have a buddy? She's very skittish because her dam was, so I will be working with her as soon as I recover from my surgery. Are there any suppliments we should get, or vitamins that can keep her immune system up? and suggestions or advice is taken gratefully. Thanks!
 

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If you want to use a milk replacer, she is more likely to take to a bucket than a bottle at this point. She isn't *too* far off from the age some would consider weaning (early weaning at 4 months, for example). Did the vet not advise you as to her care and feeding now that her dam is gone?
Yes, she should have a companion of some sort - does not *have* to be a horse, though.
 

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By 3 months of age, foals can easily be removed from any milk and placed on a regular hay and concentrate diet. I wouldn't waste any time and money trying to get her to take a bottle. She doesn't need it. Think of all the PMU foals that do just fine being weaned at 3+ months of age. Why the 400? I'd want something with a better protein profile for foals not a forage replacement feed. She absolutely needs someone to keep her company. Another horse or pony is best because it will teach her some social skills and herd behaviors that will shape her her entire life. I'd limit your contact with her so she doesn't become a pocket pest. Borrow a friend's horse if you don't have anyone to put with her.

She will be depressed and probably won't eat much the next few days. Don't get too worked up about it.
 

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She should be just fine on hay and some type of grain. You could mix in milk replacer with the grain if your really concerned. We had to wean a foal at 3-1/2 months before and she turned out fine. She was already eating hay though so that was a big help. She never dropped weight and our other horses took care of her and acted as surrogates (without the milk) Just ask my gelding... ;-)

That's sad to hear about the dam. But at least she knew some kindness the past few weeks of her life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thankyou guys

TheMacPack- Its quite the situation actually. You see, we dont actually 'own' these horses. We are 'fostering' them as well as three others for a local placement home for OTTBs. This mare is a bit of a rescue piece, as she and the others were brought to our farm directly from the track, where all six were crammed into 3 stalls in order to cut costs. Their trainer was a backyard breeder at best and so had all of these scraggly guys cooped up for who knows how long, two of them with young foals.

For that reason, we actually are only paying for feed and shavings/pasture, etc. The shelter has their vet come out to care for the animals. I personally dont like him, but he hasnt really done anything wrong persay, so I cant say anything. He told us to just stall her, get her used to people, and to feed her a milk replacer (which he gave us) and some feed. We have omleen for some of our other, older foals that are 10-19 months old, and mentioned it. He said that would be fine so we believed him. I'm TOTALLY open to suggestions though! :)



She definately is depressed though. Very lethargic and unresponsive. I'm worried about her.

I have a little coming four year old miniature horse that I might be able to put in with her. Our 'uncle' gelding is actually over with the other foal from the rescue situation, because we just weaned him (7 months old) a month ago. And being so frail and young, Im not putting her in with that rowdy colt. Especially because he isn't gelded.

I'm not 100% sure putting Sour in with her would be a good idea though, because Sour is antisocial with humans, at best. I'd hate for Kenzie to learn from her! xD my other option is a 7 year old lesson horse. She can be a bit grumpy but is generally easy going. Which would be best?

What do you mean about not spending too much time with her though? At 3 months old and completely shy of humans, shouldn't I be working to gain her trust? As of right now I really cant even touch her.


And yes, it is very sad that Sierra died. We really tried to get her healthy, but her past neglect, her prior racing life and poor care while pregnant and nursing, coupled with bad feet from the beginning and horrendous teeth, there just wasnt anything we could really do for her. Poor thing.
 

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Many people who raise a foal who has been regected or loose their dam tend to overcompenasate and smother the foal with human interaction. Get her broke to lead, stand for the farrier, stand tied but don't become her new best friend.

The problem I see with the lesson horse is everytime she gets pulled out for a lesson, is the foal going to freak? She sounds like the type of foal who will latch on to whomever you put with her because she doesn't have a confident personality. Try it. I'd even try both the mini and the lesson horse. Let them figure it out. They'll cut the foal some slack while she's still a baby but the sooner she starts learning to take care of herself and read other horse's body language the better off she will be. If she's never been locked up on a stall, I wouldn't do that. You're really stressing her out. Are there other horses next to her?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I see. I'll make sure not to baby her then. The last thing we need is a bratty foal. I dont think it will be a huge problem though, since I barely have time for my other jobs, let alone an orphaned foal. But I know that if I dont do it, she'll turn into a monster who can't be touched because no one else will mess with her, and we dont need that either. I can spare about an hour of time every week to work with her, and thats about it.

you're right about the lesson horse. I didnt think about that. She works for about 8 hours a week, so I can definately see either her or even Xcia (she's a rather clingy mare herself) putting up a fuss. Good idea about putting both of them in there though. Sour (the mini) works almost as much as Xcia, since Im training her to pull a cart, so without both of them she'd be alone for part of the day either way. I'll just have to make sure that Xcia and Sour get along with eachother first, since I have Sour in a different pasture than Xcia. If they do though, I'll definately do that.

As for stalling the foal, she was stalled for the first month or so of her life but it wasnt a good experience for her. She was crammed in with her mother and another huge bay mare who stole their food into one 12x10 stall. Poor thing has had quite a traumatic life. She's currently alone in our quarentine area, because we ran out of room. With the destroyed shed, her old paddock is unusabe until we get the funding and time to fix it. Her paddock is 40x40 with another shed thats probably about 10x15. Will it be alright to put her and the two others in there until we fix the other area? Im not hugely worried about space since the other two get a lot of exercise otherwise.

There arent any horses near her since its our quarentine area. She can see a few of our geldings from where she is, but cant really interact with them at all. Theyre about 30 feet away from eachother.
 

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You will need to offer her free choice hay & offer her a Feed designed for foals.It may take her a bit to get on to eating the grain ration.Finding her a good buddy will help alot.I found the mares better than geldings for this.
I just raised an orphan foal this summer,lost her mother just days after birth:-(.She was bucket fed milk replacer & weaned from bucket at 3 mths.She was eating hay & a grain supplement from just over 1mth. I brought in my one mare to be with her as a surrogate mom.They were stalled next to each other for a week or 2 then gradually introduced them to same stall & paddock.She looks at that mare as her mom & she has taken her on as her own. Lucky that she was boss mare in my herd so integrating the baby to the pasture with the rest of herd went pretty smoothly.They now all watch for her:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thats great! I'm so glad you were able to give her a second chance.

We're giving her free choice high quality hay- 2/3 timothy 1/3 alfalfa. We're also allowing her to graze on whatever sparse grass she can find in her pen. I still have her eating the omleen but I really would like suggestions from anyone on what to change her to!

I introduced Xcia and Sour to eachother today, and they don't seem to like eachother but neither are acting agressively. If all goes well I'll bring them into Kenzie's pen tomorrow or Monday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks so much! That looks very helpful.
 

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That's good that you've added some alfalfa to the diet. It will add extra protein, minerals, vitamins and calories as well as increase the yummy factor.

I don't like the 400 for a foal because it is a high fiber feed designed for adult horses. You can feed it as a complete feed so the nutrients are diluted with BP and other forage replacement feeds. You're probably only getting her to eat 1# at a meal so you've got to make it count. If you stick with the Purina products, you've got 3 designed for foals. Omelene 300, Equine Jr and Ultium Jr. I would stay away from the Equine Jr because once again it's a forage relacement feed so she has to eat alot of it to meet her daily needs. It's way more expensive than hay and the hay is so much healthier for her. The 300 or UJr are both going to fit her needs. They both have a good protein souce (good lysine levels), 2 Ca:1P, moderate fiber and fat, good Cu and a decent Vit blend. Take your pick. I would even look at putting her on Strategy or Enrich 32 to get the nutrients in her instead of the 400.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Oh good. I wasn't sure if I ought to give her just the timothy or the mixture, but since the mixture was higher quality (we've been having to settle for lower, lately because of the drought x.x) I opted for that. She eats a lot more of that than she does of the feed right now. I'm getting about a flake and a half of it, plus the grass, and 1.3 lbs of feed. As of right now she's staying about the same weight, but I really do want her to gain some. Her dam's milk was weak and there wasn't much of it to begin with, due to her overall health- so she was thin from the get-go.

We're making a feed run this Tuesday, I think. I'll compare the two and talking with the BO about which to put her on. Thanks for the information!

some pictures of the little sweetheart: (no longer in the muddy soupy mess xD just having a bit of playtime in our riding arena slash swamp.) she's definately in a fugly stage, shedding out and all- and she has less than stellar conformation with those crazy long pasterns and cannons, but she's one of those 'new' thoroughbreds with pretty much no bone ._. I'll be amazed if she stays sound.




 

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one of my really good friends had an issue where she took in a neglected foal. The mare had not produced any milk, so from the beginning this foal was trying to eat hay. His conformation is still an eyesore, but it is coming around.

To put weight on him, she mixed soaked beet pulp, milk replacer, oats, and strategy DAILY. This has helped straighten out his legs a teensy bit, and he has put on lots of weight and generally looks better.

I would suggest getting baby to understand her basic manners, and then take her on a few walks so she remembers those manners and gets some extra exercise.

Also, try getting her feet done. If her feet get some trimming she will stand better and straighter, which will positively affect her entire conformation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
cmarie- she's eating the feed pretty well so I'll probably just keep her on that. And we're working on the companions ^^ they're being brought in this afternoon when I go out to work with Sour.

cowgirl88- poor little guy! Sounds like a very similar situation to Kenzie. I might be able to mix in some beet pulp if it will make a difference, it just takes a very long time to fix. But we feet it to two of our other TBs so I may be able to just get some of that. But how much am I supposed to feed her?

Are her feet looking like they need done? Its hard for me to tell because she's so small. I'd probably have to have her sedated in order to do them at this point.
 

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I wouldn't waste your time trying to add BP to her diet. It doesn't offer anything better than the hay does at twice the cost. It might also throw her off her feed and if she takes forever to eat, it might not be the freshest by the time she finishes.
 

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My friend weighed her baby, then spoke to a vet about how much to feed him. She added it just as a forage to gain weight, and he was offered free choice hay as well.

Get a vet to check her for worms too, it's worth a shot to make sure she is getting the food not the parasites.

If you have a good farrier in the area, try calling him/her. Maybe you can send photos to the farrier and ask for an opinion on it changing her legs. Her front ankles are bending funny, and I'm guessing it's because her toes are to long.

This is my opinion of course, and since I'm not a vet or a farrier I would suggest finding one you feel you can trust and emailing photos and detailed reports of baby so they can help guide you through this process a bit. It might cost money for the advice, but to give this filly the opportunity at a great life, it could be worth it.

I wish you all the best dear :)
 

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Well for the naysayers of beet pulp:?.This is my orphan filly at almost 3mths.After loosing her mother, She spent the 2nd week of her life in the vet hospital & lost a bunch of weight & was quite frail.Getting her back eating & finding the best milk replacer for her was a challenge:-(.
She was fed free choice hay ,twice a day: Grain,pellet supplement & beet pulp all in a mix. in addition to her milk bucket feedings.Also don't forget Deworming every mth.:D

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, I'm really worried about how she's looking. The angle of her legs aren't good at all, and her hips looks strange to me. I don't see her as anything more than a light trail horse or something, which is bad news for her. With as many thoroughbreds as we have circulating around needing homes that are healthy and strong, chances for the weaklings are slim on finding homes. And I doubt that we could permanently take on a ill built horse with iffy legs.

She's already on a good wormer and although she had some at the beginning (from her mothers milk, I'm sure. Sierra was infested with worms when we got her.) she is worm free now and being wormed monthly ^^

I'll see how she does on just the free choice hay and omleen 300, and if we feel like she needs something else, we'll explore BP or possibly rice bran as she gets older. We were feeding that to one of the other TBs and my personally trained OTTB and they did well on it.

Like I said, I don't 100% trust the vet, so I'll be going off of our BO and your advice whenever I can, and when our farm vet comes out in early march for health checks we'll probably just pay for him to check her as well.

Cowgirl88- our BO does all of our farrier work except with those that are shoed and those needing corrective training since we have 52 horses at the moment. But I'll see if either of those farriers can give me some information and advice ^^

PaintedPastures- She's beautiful. Sorry to hear she had a rough start. I'm really scared for little Kenzie because she's so thin and weak looking. She looks NOTHING like any other 3 month old foal that I've seen. The colt that came from the same breeder as her came to us at about 3 month old, but he was vastly different. Muscular, high energy, thick, and HUGE. I realize that he was big for a 3 month old since his sire and his dam are tall, but he was almost twice as her and actually looked healthy. She just looks terrible.

I really do hope that I can get her on her feet and give her a shot at life though. The poor little thing sure deserves it.
 
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