From the Foaling Barn

rss


Raising Orphan Foals

Colin and Viktor

After the death of our two mares in less than a week, we were left with the difficult task of raising two beautiful orphans, Colin (Jerry Lees Surprise X Jodies Jac Tari) and Viktor (Colonels Smoking Gun X BH Song and Dance). Colin lost his mother at three days, and Viktor lost his at less than 24 hours. Fortunately, both foals nursed long enough to get adequate levels of passive antibodies through their dams' colostrum.

But once we got them home we were left with many decisions about the best way to proceed. We certainly didn't have a shortage of advice. Many people urged us to use nurse mares, but that was easier said than done. There's no doubt that what is best for a foal is receiving nutrition from its dam or another lactating mare. That means we needed to find a mare that has recently lost its foal. We were given many leads, but most of these mares were too far away to make it practical. Or if I got a tip about a local mare, invariably when I called the mare owners they were reluctant to turn their mares over to me, and I completely understand their feelings.

I was also given the names of several people who provide nurse mares on demand. However, once I read about these services, I had ethical qualms about what happens to the foals of these mares. Also, many of these mares are draft horses, and my vet warned me that draft mares provide too much milk for a little quarter or arab foal, with the result that the foals grow too fast and may have issues with bone development. Similarly, I was contacted by people who told me how I could cause any mare who had foaled within the last year to begin lactating. Actually, sometimes if a mare will accept a foal, she will begin to lactate on her own. However, in these cases, the quality and richness of the milk usually does not match the needs of a growing foal.

While I was considering all these factors, I contacted Travis Lempke, who is my Assurance feed rep. He was invaluable in advising me and locating a good source of milk replacement. He had dealt with an orphan foal two years before, so he new from experience what we were facing.
Eventually, I decided to forget the idea of nurse mares and use milk replacement exclusively.

This meant that we would be slave to a rigid feeding schedule for the next three months. Fortunately the vets at Stillwater Equine had trained both foals to the bucket before we brought them home, so I didn't have to worry about hourly bottle feeding. Instead, we started with a four hour feeding schedule. We made three quarts of formula every four hours, poured it into two gallon buckets and hung them in each foal's stall. Within a week or two the foals were drinking four gallons of milk a day. After a month, we began to feed the foals a gallon of milk replacer every six hours, which gave us quite a bit more freedom.

Both foals are now healthy and growing rapidly. But how to feed them has been only one of the many factors we are dealing with. The most difficult part of feeding foals with milk replacement formula is how to socialize them as horses. I'll take this issue up in future posts.


Tags

Big Chex To Cash breeding breeding problems in mares broodmare death Chatsberry Farm dams with insufficient milk discounted breedings erhlichiosis foaling Gunner horse breeding infertility in mares laser surgery to remove ovarian cysts in mares milking out the mare NRHA Futurity nurse mares older mares orphan ovarian cysts pre-foaling vacinations recipient mares Reining Horses reining stallions south farm stallion selection Tickborne horse disease uterine infection varicose veins Air Ride Boots allogrooming Americasnextgunmodel Anaplasma phagocytophila angiosis BH Song and Dance bottle feeding foal breeding breeding decisions Breeding mares breeding older mares breeding problems breeding problems in mares breeding program Breeding Season Broodmare broodmares chatsberry farm death deciding of stallions to breed to Diet dripping milk dystophia embryo transfer Equine Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis extra expenses feeding the foal foal alert Foal Alert System foal heat Foal heat breeding foal rejection foal socialization foaling foals foals in cold weather Founder Gunner horse behavior horse breeding Infertile mares laminitis laminitus late term bleeding lost colostrum low IGG test maiden mare update Maiden mares mare death mare gestational length mare intertility mare loss mares mares of questionable fertility milk replacer minnesota Nursing nursing problems Ocytocin old mare older broodmares orphan foal orphan foals ovarian cysts ovarian cysts in mares pinching twins Placentitis proper maintenance Recipient Mares retained placenta rhino vacinations in mares rotavirus bacines in mares rotavirus in foals Royal Vista Scott Mccutcheon sinking of the coffin bone sire and dam auctions social grooming Soft Ride Boots stallion auctions treating breeding problem in mares treatment for rotavirus treatment for uterine infection uterine infections uterine inflamation weaning weaning foals winter young mares


 
Login

Home About Us Mares Stallions Prospects News Contact Us News Mares Stallions Chatsberry Facebook