Some Additional Tips For Raising Orphans Foals

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(1) Do not spoil Orphan foals. Without their own Momma's to discipline them, you must. Do not allow them to kick at you, strike at you, bite at you or rear up in play at you. Some day, that little foal is going to grow up into a full sized horse!!! One who thinks it is okay to push you around and may injure you.

(2) When no Colostrum is available, Blood Plasma can now be purchased and given orally. It used to be far to expensive for most people when it was purchased and given Intravenously.
I realize many Vet's do not keep it on hand but all should know the closest place to get it. If not, keep phoning Vet's that specialize in Equines until you find one as close as possible to your location. The following is a Guideline only about purchasing and giving Plasma when no Colostrum can be found and time is running out for the newborn foal. Of course, Colostrum is and will remain the far preferred choice for the newborn.

2 bottles (1/2 litre) for approx. $75
It is always best for a Vet to tube it down into the foals stomach but if no Vet, then using a Lamb's nipple, give orally.
As always, needs to be given in those first crucial 12 hours after birth.
Can be kept frozen for 1 to 2 years.
Thaw the same as Colostrum at room temperature or in cold water, not warm water, NO microwave. Do not refreeze.
At all times have a Vet give you precise Instructions. This is a must!!!

(3) Many people out there are still feeding orphans straight cows milk or household milk, etc. without realizing that most Vet Clinics and many Livestock Product stores, carry not only calf but FOAL milk replacer. Once again, this powder (due to the high fat content) should be kept in the freezer to prevent spoilage. Will last a year if container is kept tightly closed and frozen. It contains antibiotics to prevent Intestinal Upsets such as Diarrhea.

(4) You should know when milking a mare with a healthy foal to save Colostrum for future need: That it is far safer if you keep the foal between yourself and the mare, positioned as if it is nursing. A normal mare will never kick at or even fidget much if she thinks that is her baby nursing.

(5) You need to know that a Lamb's nipple is far preferable to a Calf nipple??? Especially since many orphans may be or soon will be weakened at birth. They simply cannot suck the bigger, heavier rubber calf nipple as easy as the smaller, softer Lamb's nipple. Once an orphan is older, you can switch to a bucket.

Too many foals are starving and/or dying because the owner tries and tries but the foal isn't able to drain the bottle with some calf nipples. Or it quits trying before it gets the necessary amount of milk replacer. I usually hear that it was to weak to nurse and died? Or worse they enlarge the hole to much and the foal ends up with milk in it's lungs and gets Pneumonia. Lambs nipples fit easily onto ordinary pop bottles. Feedings at first must be every -2 hours maximum, in fact less than every 2 hours!!! Yes, you will be tired and your friends and family who are helping you will be tired but the reward of a healthy baby is worth it!!!

(5) Cows Colostrum is not sufficient. Sure, it maybe can't hurt but it is NON viable in the antibodies department. It will not save the foal.

(6) A lot of mares will not happily take a strange foal after the loss of their own. They are guided by Maternal Instinct and have instantly bonded with their own foals smell at birth. For those that won't, restraints and careful supervision are a must to protect the foal from being seriously injured. Vicks Vapor Rub smeared inside the mares nostrils works wonders in such situations.

In extreme cases, if you have access to the mares own maximum 4 day long, dead foal, carefully skinning it (must include tail and anus), tying the skin on the orphan foal works. (Looks just like an ordinary horse blanket on the foal) I have never had a mare, no matter how agitated refuse the orphan then. In fact basically immediately she wants it as the mare is so happy that her dead foal is now up and nursing her. Skin can be discarded in 1 to 2 days. Until fully bonded, close supervision is a must!!! NOTE: This requires a knowledgeable horse/country person, who knows how to do it correctly.

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