13 SOMETIMES FORGOTTEN FOALING TIPS
WE all know or have read or found on the Internet, the Basics of foaling out your mare. Here are some that you may not have found or thought about yet.
- Deworming your mare about four weeks before foaling. Newborns can be actually born with worms transferred from their mother to them while still unborn. And newborn foals just love to nibble on their Mom’s and other horse’s manure, picking up mega worms in the process of nibbling. Deworming Mom sure helps put a stop to infesting the foal with worms right from birth.
- As her due date draws closer, line up a knowledgeable friend or neighbour who will be willing to come at any time, day or night, should you need help with the mare during birth or afterwards. Make sure you have your Vet’s emergency number on hand in case of problems. Problems foaling are no time to start desperately looking for a number to call a Vet. Especially after hours or middle of the night.
- Have a Foaling Kit ready to go with all the things you need or might need. The middle of the night is no time to go looking and searching for these items.
- Know where you want your mare to foal. Not everyone has a foaling stall in a nice barn to foal in. Get the mare used to this area a week before foaling, not after she is all set to give birth. Mares do not like to be moved at the last minute. Stall or pen or wherever. Make sure she is there and settled in, in advance.
- Never allow a mare to foal in with geldings even if they are best friends and she is normally the boss. That is a big NO NO. Even worse can sometimes be another dominant mare, aggressive mare or barren mare that may steal the foal or injure it.
- Do not put her in a small, foaling area where stallions, aggressive geldings or mares are right smack there on the other side of her fence. She instinctively knows she must not foal near them. If the area is not large enough for her to get a preferred distance away from them, she may delay foaling or be a nervous wreck once she does foal.
- Get her used to barn lights or a flashlight in advance. The night she is foaling is no time to be startling her with an unaccustomed light.
- Tie up or contain your large dog(s) until that baby is up and running easily beside his Mom. This is no time to discover your dog may attack a newborn or harass a foaling mare.
- Foals may drown in large watering troughs if they get knocked into one OR a mare foals standing up with her rear-end at that trough. Foals also drown in sloughs and large deep puddles if that is where their Mom pushes them out into this big world. Small or else partially covered watering troughs are safest.
- Foals can get knocked into tall, deep hay mangers. If they land on their backs and are unable to rise, they will die quickly. Small hay mangers are best or ones with bars spaced across the tops to prevent horses/foals from getting knocked upside down into them.
- "There should never be junk in or fencing a horses pasture or pen". If there is, now is the time to get it out of there before the new baby finds it. Sharp Metal, boards with nails sticking out of them (whether on the ground or on the fence itself), tin, rolls or twisted heaps of wire, loose sagging wire considered a fence line, bared wire not tight or spaced appropriately to contain a baby, anything that a baby can injure itself on. Get it out of there.
- Any solid fence line or barn door that is only 1 to 6 inches off the ground is another threat to the baby. The foal lies down, sticks his long legs under this narrow gap. Then when he goes to get up, he can’t because his legs are trapped. He may just get skinned up bad or he may break a leg struggling. Doors, board and pipe fences, solid walls, etc. should be either right tight to the ground or at least a foot off the ground to prevent this.
- And last but not least. Fence’s that will hold a foal in with their Mother. Foals that end up on the wrong side of the fence can be injured or killed by other horses, dogs, etc. Plus the Mother will injure herself attempting to get to her baby. Think of the size of the newborn. Just because your adult horses don’t duck under or through your fences, doesn’t mean a tiny foal won’t.