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Foal loss

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Range

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First, let me say how sorry I am for all of you who lost foals this year. It's horribly sad to lose any life, let alone a baby.

Now, I'm an owner of big horses, thinking about switching to minis. For those of you who have had both, do the minis seem to have more foaling problems than big horses? I've read posts about defects and death and it just seems more prevalent with these cutie pies?
 

Jean_B

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Personally, I don't think the percentages are any higher than in any other breed. It's just that Minis tend to attract folks who often don't have a lot of experience in any sort of animal husbandry because they are little and easy to handle. The number of folks breeding mares "because they are so doggone cute and I want a little bundle of joy to play with" is proportionately a lot higher in this breed than in others.....and therefore because of inexperience, lack of monitoring equipment, etc etc etc they might be experiencing higher than normal rates of stillborns, etc.

Also, because these little guys tend to tear at everyone's heart strings, folks will post their losses because the Forum allows them the opportunity to vent their sadness and frustration and receive support and encouragement from their forum friends.
 

bob r

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I WOULD GUESS FOAL LOSSES ARE HIGHER IN MINI'S BUT THE LARGER BREEDS BUT THATS JUST MY OPINION. I HEAR OF PEOPLE ALL THE TIME LOSING FOALS.

WE HAVE HAD 25 OUT OF 25 BORN THIS YEAR, NO LOSSES, BUT WE USUALLY DO LOSE 1 OR 2 DUE TO NOT BEING PRESENT WHEN IT IS BORN AND IT DOESN'T GET OUT OF THE BAG. I THINK OUR RATIO IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST BUT I ALSO THINK IT IS DUE TO OUR PROCEDURES AND MY WIFE'S KNOWLEDGE.
 

stormy

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After having worked on Standardbred breeding farms for years I would say the incidence of dystocia in minis is much higher also I have never heard of or experianced a full size horse foal drowning in the sack. The dystocias are mostly simple and with some experiance can be repositioned but unsupervised are deadly.
 

Magic

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In my opinion, the greatest cause of losses of mini foals is because they weren't able to get out of the birth sack. And it's true that with big horses, that just doesn't happen-- the sack breaks immediately and easily. Tony once explained it this way on the forum-- imagine a balloon filled with water near to the breaking point; it breaks very easily. now imagine a balloon filled only half way or less (the mini foal) -- it takes a lot more to break the balloon, AND the mini foal is much smaller and weaker than a big horse foal.

I thought that was a terrific way to visualize why the sacks of minis don't break on their own so easily.
 
L

Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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I pretty much agree with Jean.. I think another thing that adds to it is that most people breed lots of mini mares per season where as many first time "breeders" or those wanting a foal only breed one large mare per year due to size and space issues.
 

delia

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Well if we are talking stats- I have lost 1 large horse foal and 1 mini foal in 20+ years of breeding. I think husbandary has alot to do with it. Plus I sleep in the barn. I average 2-3 foals a year.
 

wcr

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I have been breeding horses for 35+ years and have seen far more foaling problems with the minis. I have been there for just about every mini birth and have had to intercede in some way on most of them. Usually it is just cutting the cord but have had some nasty presentations that resulted in dead foals. I never had these statistics with the big uns and have only had to help pull a little in all the years dealing with them.
 

rabbitsfizz

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I have been breeding horses since I was 17- which is far too long
I have bred Arabs , Welsh and Miniatures (plus a few years sidetracked into Native Shetlands) Losses in those years?? I Arab foal, 3 Shetland foals, 2 stillborn Mini Foals, 5 aborted Mini foals ( I do not know how many Arab foals were reabsorbed- I have had Minis abort well into the time that big horses reabsorb) I lost one foal this year to termination, full term and one foal last year to termination, full term. I have lost three foals to maiden mares that I missed the signs on and am pretty sure I would have got if I had been there. % seem high?? I cannot remember how many Arab and Welsh I bred but it was no more than one of each a year. Shetlands I bred 10-15 foals a year, Miniatures I have bred up to 15 a year but am now thankfully down to 8-10!! In all the time I bred the Arabs ( and we stood the stallions at stud) I do not think I ever met anyone who was breeding without any sort of experience of horses whatsoever, not ONCE!!! There were first time breeders, of course, but not first time mare owners going straight into breeding. And the first timers were hungry for any help, info or advice they could get- they did not buy a mare and a stallion and bung them in a field so they would get a cute foal!! So, before we leap on the "Minis have more problems" bandwagon, I think we need to look carefully at all the facts. Oh I've been breeding Minis now for just over 25 years and I've never had a dystocia (AND I am hanging onto a huge hunk of wood whilst I say that
)
 

Minimor

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I also agree with Jean.

In the Morgan breed, as one example, there are a lot of owners that do NOT raise foals--or they may raise one foal every year or two. So, out of a large group of Morgan owners, only a handful will be raising foals. In an equal group of Mini owners, nearly every one of them will be raising foals--just on the law of averages, there are going to be many more foaling problems in the Mini group than in the Morgan group.

The percentage of bred mares that actually produce a live foal is something like 50% in the big horse world--at least that's the figure that I've always heard. Of the people I know of raising foals, the average seems to be much higher than that, but who am I to argue with the stats. Likewise, of all the Mini breeders I know, the live foal rate seems to be well above 50% too.

Besides the sac problem (and breeders around here that have lost foals in the sac--usually multiple foals in one season--have pretty much all started giving their mares a better mineral supplement --PMU mineral is the mineral of choice--and every one of them says that mineral has eliminated their problem with thick sacs/weak foals.)--but besides the sac problem, I think one major issue with Minis is exercise, or lack of. Big horse mares more often get out on pasture--they're out moving around; Minis tend to be dry lotted, and are more likely to be stalled every night, all year round. They get less exercise. I firmly believe that pregnant mares need to be getting their exercise, not necessarily forced exercise, but they must be out moving around & have room to run if they want to. This gives them better muscle tone, and makes foaling easier.
 

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