Editor's Note: The USSHBA recommends that all breeders consult first with their veterinarian and/or experienced foaling manager to develop their specific foaling plan. The following are recommendations from breeders, but is not a complete list and all supplies/drugs or techniques should be discussed in advance with your veterinarian and used under veterinary supervision.
The Well-Stocked Foaling Kit
Tips, Suggestions, and Experiences
“...We have mats in our stalls and the foals can have a hard time getting up on them with just straw as bedding, so we put shavings down first then straw on top. This works well as the shavings do a great job of absorbing all the fluids. 15-20 minutes after the foal is out we change the soiled part of the bedding to keep everything clean and dry.” - Dr. Rachel Kane, DVM
“Milk testing: You want to test the pH and the calcium, low pH (around 6) and high calcium (500+) usually means foaling is imminent. Use a ratio of 6:1 with water and use spa test strips or aquarium test strips just make sure the pH goes low enough and calcium goes high enough.” - Kimmy Risser, Hickory Manor
“When the front legs first start to appear, I always follow the legs up into the birth canal to make sure I can feel the head in the right position. That way if there is an issue with position I can detect it right away instead of waiting until the problem becomes obvious.” - Jennifer DesRoche, Signature Sporthorses
'Milk out the mare shortly after foaling and feed the foal the colostrum from a bottle before he stands. That way he will get the much needed colostrum in his system to build immunity right away and to give him the energy he’ll need to stand and eventually nurse. It can help the mare pass the afterbirth quicker as well and prevent meconium impaction in the foal' - Several breeders
1/31/2015 12:18:02 pm
In my lifetime I have probably attended over 200 foalings of different breeds. A lot of things that are recommended in the "foaling kit" I feel should only be used by a veterinarian, not a layman. Someone who has not foaled out numerous mares could easily get into trouble with some of the suggestions or items recommended in the foaling kit. Unless you have a lot of experience, it would be very easy to get milk/colostrum into a baby's lungs. Bottle feeding a foal also interferes with a mare and foal bonding by trying to get a baby to nurse a bottle. Sometimes letting nature take it course, ie stand back and give the mare and foal some privacy, it your best option. Foaling is not at all like calving. If a mare hasn't presented a foal within an hour of her water breaking you are in danger of losing the mare and or foal, or both. That is not a lot of time to get a vet to your farm if you are in trouble. If you are not experienced in foaling, consider locating someone who is or talk to your veterinarian for a recommendation of someone who can help you.
2/5/2015 10:42:06 am
We appreciate you taking the time to read our blog and submit a comment. Everyone has their own way of foaling out a mare and our blog is a basic list of what multiple breeders feel is important to have on hand. As our disclaimer states, we encourage anyone inexperienced to reach out to their vet. It is important for any horse owner to know their limitations when treating a horse. A future blog post will address sending a mare to an experienced person for foaling.
Leave a Reply.
A collaborative effort produced by the USSHBA Education Committee, USSHBA members, and our partners.