.. you would rather have one to be ready as much as possible.
Whether you prefer to assist at the birth or rather not, having a foal kit seems to be already a must more than recommendation. After 11 months of waiting, you don’t really wanna find yourself in a situation on the day D, where you would lack something or hesitate about some moves. Rather be safe than sorry right?
Gestation and its problems
Usual length of gestation is something between 320 days and 365 days with an average of 333 days. These days I tend to hear more and more that someone’s mare’s gestation has been prolonged, so don’t be scared if your mare and especially a maiden one, is a bit late on delivery. Usually this tends to happen when the foal is expected early in a foaling season, because mares have this ability to somehow “stop” the delivery process, when it is too cold outside as it lacks the safety feeling for her. However, be cautious with the late delivery, it can be covering a lot of problems and do a sonographic vet check at least two weeks after the due date. In other cases, it just allows the mare to “bake” a baby a bit more, before serving it to the world 🙂
A different thing comes up with the early delivery, which is undesirable as well. Swelling or filling of a mare’s udder before 310days can be a signal of placentitis, an inflammatory illness caused by bacterial or fungal infection. If anything seems odd, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible, mare can either lose the foal or give birth to a premature one which requires intensive neonatal care for a long time period.
Something else is just the birth itself. A lot can happen but a lot you can affluence too. Aside from uncommon cases, you should have a “foal kit” ready, to simply ease giving birth to your mare and maybe to diminish the effect of overthinking on you. Let’s have a look at what it should include!
One of the uncommon problems that I got to read about not a long time ago and has maybe a bit of a surprising way to deal with was Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome. To those who want to catch on the topic I recommend this article.
Possible kit structure:
- Clean towels- to dry the foal if mare is tired
- Palpation gloves- if your mare seems to have problems with the delivery
- Water, soap, sanitizer- to ensure a sterile environment
- Tail bandage- good to keep the tail clean and the mane aside. I recommend using a multipurpose cohesive VetBandage, which is elastic, durable and easily applicable. Don’t leave on for too long, apply when your observations and PH papers are giving you a hint towards a foal soon to be delivered
- PH papers- rather a prep kit, however, nice to have around. Used to predict an exact day of the birth by putting a drop of milk dripping of udders
- Navel cord cleaner- Iodine and string should be just alright
- Sterile lubricant
- Flash light if your stable might have a problem with proper lighting
- An enema for the foal- could help to start the intake reflex
- Clean halter and leads- in case you need to position your mare somehow or transfer somewhere
- Paper and a pen- write the delivery times, placenta expulsion time etc.
- Phone contact to veterinarians nearby with an information whether they are willing to come at any time, what is their commuting time and specialization
- Charged power bank- to assure your phone is charged in case of emergency
- Dry colostrum- in case of any deficiency or mare refusing to nurse, available to buy at specialized equestrian/vet provider
Pro breeders tip– save a bit of a colostrum from any of this year’s births for some of the next year’s ones in a freezer. Pay attention to any power outages to make sure the quality isn’t anyhow disrupted.
Curious what is happening with foal after the birth? How to work with them? Check out blog of my colleague, written in German.
Hope this summary has been helpful and will give you a calmer sleep when the day D is about to come! See you soon with some of the next topics!
PSST we are on Instagram as well! Follow @equi_note and never miss an article again!
If you have missed any of previous articles..:
1.You want that foal halter, don’t you? Part 1
2.You want that foal halter, don’t you? Part 2
Will be happy to hear what you think via the comment section with your feedbacks 🙂