Foaling Out Mares - By Robin - ROKO Miniature Horses

I hope I can remember everything! Many people do this differently, but I thought I would share what I do.

First, mini mares do not do the same things as big horses. And they are all different in the way they "set up" to foal. But each mare has her own way of doing it and will mostly set up the same way and have gestations pretty much the same from year to year. So it is VERY important that you write down each change she does on what day of her gestation from year to year. You think you'll remember, but trust me, you won't. You'll be glad you wrote it all down in the years to come. Plus, if you sell the mare, it's nice to give the new owner her charts so they know her particular signs too.

My kit has in it:

A big plastic box with lid-to keep everything clean and handy.
A little plastic dose cup from Pepto Bismal or whatever- to dip the foal's stump.
Bottles of 2% Iodine- for dipping the stump.
A baby bottle- just in case.
At least 3 clean old towels- for drying off baby.
Baling twine- for tying up the placenta.
Scissors- many uses, but especially in case of red bag delivery.
A Fleet enema CHILD sized, but with the store bought stuff poured out and warm water in it.
Vaseline- for the enema
Some kind of lube- just in case
Cell phone with vet's # fixed in there
Two very skinny dog leashes with slip loops on the ends.
Wormer for the mare.

I'm going to hope that you know the signs of a mare getting ready to foal. If not, just ask me and I'll help you, ok? And mostly, I hope that you will be watching your mare. A mare can foal in 5-10 min. It's not hours and hours. This is to tell some of what to expect. I'd have to write a book to cover everything that you should know.

"Bubbles" and the type you see are very important!
A bubble is the sac that starts coming out.
IF YOU SEE A RED ONE OPEN IT NOW AND PULL THAT FOAL OUT!!!!

As soon as you see the white bubble, look and you should be able to see a foot in it. Right behind the first foot, should be the other foot.
If you see the bubble and no foot, the foal and mare is in trouble. It could be a breech, or not aligned right and not coming out. When I see the bubble, I ALWAYS break it and reach inside the sac and feel what is there, foot, foot, nose (if all is right)
If there is only one foot, or a breech, that is the time to call the vet! Then push the foal back in and try to fix the problem. See, the placenta is how the foal breathes, but it is detaching the whole time she is foaling. Things must be fixed before the foal runs out of placental support. I recommend the book BLESSED ARE THE BROODMARES.
It with teach you about how to know all the signs of good foaling, and bad, and what to do to fix them.

If you only see one foot, break the sac and reach in. There have been 4 times when there was only one front foot and the mare was straining. The foal's other leg had the elbow caught on her pelvic bone. Once I gently pulled that leg forward a little and popped the elbow free, the foals slid right out.

You see your mare is in labor. She may be walking around, pawing, eating, walking, has her tail raised a little, lays down, gets up, turns and lays again. She may roll a little. This is if the foal is not in the right place to come out and she's trying to fix it. Let her roll. Once she lays and pushes about 4-5 times, you should see the bubble. If you don't, call the vet! Then stay with her and help. I'd rather pay a farm call and have a safe foaling, than wait too long and have no help coming for an emergency.

White bubble is there. You see one foot. You break the bubble, reach in and feel the 2nd foot. Don't pull the 2nd foot forward, that's so the shoulders can get through.

Feel further for the nose. If all is there, I grab the legs and hold them. When the mare pushes, I very gently pull. When she stops pushing, I hold the foal there. When a mare foals alone, she must push many, many times, as the foal sucks back in part way after every push. This is very tiring for the mare. But if you pull with her push, and hold the foal where she pushed it to, the foal is out and your mare isn't so tired.

The foal is out. Be quiet & still! Don't let the mare jump right up! Blood is still passing from the mare to the foal through the cord. The cord will turn white when it's done.

I like to lay a towel down under the foal's head so it does not get straw up it's nose or get dirt up the nose.
The foal is slid out, pull the sac off the face, KEEP THE HEAD-NOSE DOWN! And set the foal propped up on it's brisket. (Girth area) Laying on it's side is harder for it's lungs to expand and the heart to beat. Keep the head down the let the water run out it's nose.
I swipe my finger through the mouth to make sure it's clear. Then I grip it's nose under the eyes and "squeegee" downward towards the nostrils to "milk" out any fluid.
Now just sit there. Maybe let momma smell your hand or the baby so she knows it's smell. Then let her jump up to break the cord. BEFORE the stump touches the ground or anything, dip it totally in the 2% Iodine! I fill the dose cup to the brim and immerse the stump in it. Then you can dry off the baby. It will shiver, but they are supposed to.

The mare is up. And the afterbirth is hanging. I tie it back up to her tail so the weight of it hangs down, but she can't step on it and rip it and leave a piece of it in her. It will shed out on it's own.
Give the mare wormer. Foals are born with worms that mom has passed to the foal inutero. The med. will worm the baby through her milk.

The enema. If you let the foal strain, it can get a hernia. When I get one, I take off the cap and take out that white rubber thing out of the cap. Pour out the contents (it's too harsh for a foal) and fill with warm water instead. I dip the nozzle in Vaseline.
I put my fingers around the foal's pucker and GENTLY guide it in. Don't put it all the way in! I keep my hand between the rump and the bottle in case he jumps, so he can't ram it up himself and make it go in too far. I firmly, but slowly & gently put in some water into him. Some foals need help going for several days. Newborns can colic if they don't have help going potty.

We help the foal to stand when he's ready. Just lend support. I don't let them crash around and hurt themselves.

FEED THAT BABY! He only has so many hours in which his stomach will absorb the all important colostrum. Hopefully, you'll have gotten your mare used to having her bag being handled before hand. Help guide the foal to nurse & hold him steady. Many people say "It looked like he was nursing, so we left them alone." Then they wonder why the foal some times doesn't make it! Some times they'll be sucking on the side of the bag and not getting milk at all! Yes, get on the ground and watch! I watch the new foals way harder than I watched the mare!
The first several days of the foal are critical! Help them poop, and make SURE they get that milk!

If a mare is to foal in the Spring when she's shedding, it's a good idea to clip her flank and belly area. A foal with sticky milk on it's muzzle that bumps around to nurse can and DOES get the mare's hair in it's mouth. There have been 1000's of foals lost, and or had colic surgery due to hair balls from ingesting all that shed hair from their mom.

If there are any questions, or help you need, please write to me! This is what I do. I'm here for you if you need me. ROKOminis@msn.com

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