Foaling Mares Out

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Cowboy905

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We are in a unique situation this year. We are unable to have any foaling cameras up and unless we are sure a mare is going to foal we can't really check on them through the night.

So for those that foal out a lot of mares or are in a similar situation do you think it is better to have a mare stalled inside with no way to monitor them or is it better to leave them outside with a group of mares? And why? Are there certain mares that you would bring inside over others (maiden, older mares etc) I'm not really sure what the best plan is and I would apreciate anny feedback.
 

Mona

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There are 2 trains of thought that I've heard over the years. I didn;t have cameras the first couple of years, but after I got them, I would not be without! I always preferred my mares to foal in the barn, a nice dry stall away from the others. I accidentally had two mares foal in the pasture with the others, and some say it may be better, as the mare will be more likely to jump up and try to get her foal all cleaned off, thus helping to ensure the bag comes away from the foal's face. BUT, the problem can be that another mare may steal the baby, especially if a maiden mare's first foal. Of course there is also the chance that it is dirtier, and may cause infection. Other foal in pastures all the time and prefer it that way. I guess it's whatever works best for you, but for me, I was not willing to take chances. Too many things can go wroong as it is, without adding more complications to the mix. I prefer foaling my mares inside a stall of their own, no matter what.
 

Riverrose28

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This is a very tough situation for you. I've had too many dystocias to chance a mare foaling in the field unattended, so maybe I'm not the best person to ask. I do have a 35" mare that has foaled in the field without any problems, only because she doesn't show me any signs at all, and only twice. If you live near the barn you can buy a baby monitoring system from Wal Mart that has a camera you can mount in the stall, and a small TV receiver to take in the house. It is analog and wireless but can be used up to 300 feet from the camera, it also has sound. I prefer to stall my mares and watch them, I don't even go to the store when they are close. Mini mares are a whole new ball game when it comes to foaling. I realize not everyone has the money for marestare, or like me live so far out in the boonies high speed is still in the future. Still, if you can't get some kind of monitoring system installed then don't leave the mare. I have too many horror stories from friends that left their mares to deliver on their own. 12 months is a long time to wait for foal only to lose it, or lose it and the mare, it does happen. So sorry for the scare!
 
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StarRidgeAcres

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I don't know you but I'm sure you're a nice person and are trying to be a good caretaker for your animals. But...in my opinion you have an obligation to do what you need to ensure the safety of the animals you chose to buy/breed. If you can't have cameras and don't want to/or have some strange reason why it's impossible for you to check on your mares regularly, then you should send them to a foaling facility or a neighbor that does have cameras, etc. How about at least a baby monitor and a halter buzzer? When we have animals, myself included, we have a certain responsibility to them.

As for outside/inside...I'd pick inside any day of the week. Away from a crowd and in a clean environment.

Best of luck to your horses and you!
 
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Sandy B

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Last year was our first year expecting mini foals, two of them. I am an experienced full sized horse breeder and knew there were greater risks involved in minis. I do have cameras and check the mares several times a days for any signs. We certainly did not expect problems our first year of foaling, right? Well wrong. We lost a mare & foal to severe dystocia (even with vet assistance) and we lost the second foal from failure to get out of the sac, 30 minutes after we have just checked her and there were no labor signs and it was in the middle of the afternoon. These mares had foaled before and were experienced mares. The dystocia was thought to at first be colic as the mare was early, we are lucky we saw her out on the field laying down right after we fed the night. It was not colic but labor and she had a red bag as well. She would have suffered and ended up dieting a long slow painful death had we not been aware. Mini's do not read the foaling manuals, and you as the horses' keeper need to provide the best care you can whether you are sleeping in sleeping bags in the foaling stall or you send the mares out to foal. We now have foaling alarms as a back up to the cameras. With that said, if I had a nice grass paddock with appropriate shelter if needed, I would foal the mares in that. I don't, so I foal them out in a stall in the barn filled with big flake shavings.
 

albahurst

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We just had a foal four nights ago. No particular signs during the day, except that I was checking milk for ph and Calcium and had noted the ph had dropped significantly. We had an alarm system on her plus video cam. She started showing signs of imminent foaling (yawning, frequent stools, etc) after she had been put in her night stall. Luckily we were watching on cam. Within an hour she was down pushing. The foal's front leg was stuck - an easy fix - and a very active, healthy live foal. The story would probably have had a much different ending had we not been watching. Checking from time to time just isn't enough, IMO.

I would highly recommend you find a foaling facility or vet's office willing to foal your mares out. Last spring we foaled a mare out at a college with an equine program. The students had my alarm system and sat next to the stall for a solid three days and nights until the mare foaled. A barn manager with much experience with foaling and foaling problems was only yards away, if needed. An excellent experience, very reasonably priced, and great piece of mind. I had to be gone at the time and was not willing to leave the mare unattended.

Good luck to you.
 
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Windhaven

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I don't know your reason why you can't check them through the night, but you must understand that MOST horses foal from 10 pm to 6 am.

I also agree with the majority of people. I like my horses in a stall for many of reasons. First and foremost is that a herd of mares, if you have youngersters and maiden mares, they very excited by the birth and can get in the way and complicate things for the mare foaling. Or you can have a mare try and steal the foal. Which can result in a dead foal because it does not get to nurse. Or this is very rare but one might try and harm or kill it.

If complications arise then it is easier to work with if she is in the barn.

And if you keep the stall clean it can be a cleaner environment for the foal. Also easier to iodine the cord when they are confined to a stall and make sure the foal is alright and gets up and nurses properly.

Also if in a stall you can see if the foal is pooping like they should.

I have known someone who let her pony mare foal outside. The mare foaled right next to the fence and the foal ended up being on the otherside.

I think you should really consider getting to know ALL THE SIGNS of impending birth and how to do a milk test strip. For me they have been VERY acturate and will tell you when the mare will foal within 12 hours. On those nights you could just camp out in the barn.

If the mare is close you should at least check on her every couple of hours through the night if you don't camp out there.

I have foaled mares out without a camera and then with a camera (love, love, love this) and then one foaling, no camera, and was back to the endless trips to the barn, every 2 hours (Barn is 350 yards away and very uneven ground). But now I have my camera back and would not recommend to anyone to try it with out! Minis need supervision as best as you can give to them. They are known for more problems then the big horses and it is just better and safer to be there if possible.

I wish you the best of luck with your foaling and can't wait to see pictures!
 

HGFarm

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Yes, yes, yes!! I so agree with everyone here! I was also experienced with full sized horses- and never dreamed that foaling out Minis would be such a nightmare sometimes! And without an alert and camera, would have lost a mare or two and have had my share of dystocias- some with good outcome with help, and some with not a good outcome.

I too would seriously think of sending your mares to a foaling facility to make sure you dont lose the foal and/or the mare too. It can happen!
 

kaykay

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I agree with Nathan inside in a stall especially if you cannot be there. We had a mare a few years ago accidentally foal in the pasture with the mare herd and one mare stole the foal. Of course that mare had no milk so he was going down by the time we found him. Then we had to get his dam to accept him etc. It was a nightmare for about 48 hours until we got it all straightened out. Also if you have coyotes around they will smell the birth and come hunting. We had a horrible time with them in Illinois as they would circle the barn everytime we had a mare foal. For sure if they had foaled in the pasture at night I have no doubt a coyote would have got the foal.
 

lucky

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OH MY, Now I am really nervous! I'm not a breeder. I'm fairly new to minis. I purchased a gelding in September of 2011. Now I have purchased a 3 year old Maiden Mare, as I have learned from reading posts. I am trying to learn what I need to do to be ready for this experience and to make it a success. First of all, I don't even know when it's due. Will a vet be able to tell me? She's not very big, so I am assuming I have time.... time for a crash course. I have been watching Mare Stare. I can't stop watching... I am amazed! Okay, so far. I need a Halter Buzzer, Baby Monitor if I can't get on Mare Stare, Milk test strips, a place where she can be pinned in and what else please???? I have a question about pinning her up... When do you start putting her in a stall by herself and do you keep her in the stall 24/7? Right now the mare and the gelding graze on about 3 acres from 8a.m. to 3p.m. and I put them in a pen together late afternoon. The pen that they spend night in is about 1/4 acre with a run-in. On the 1/4 acre pen there is just a little grass in that there are a lot of trees with shade. I feed them purina mini food 1/2c in morning and 1/2c when I put them in pen. I have some hay in one of those slow feeders in the run-in. We are going to add-on to run-in to try to make it two stall that can be closed off or open and divide the pen in half. Can the gelding be around her and the baby after birth? Do I have to keep baby and mom in stall also after they give birth? and if soo, how long do they need to be by themselves? My husband was told that a normal birth is two front legs coming out first and if one leg comes out only you push it back in and get both legs to come out at once? He was told that if the back legs come out first to pull fast and hard as u can to get foal out so it won't drown in sack. Is that all correct?? If there is any other things I need or info. I really would appreciate any help. OH yes, pray for us!!!!!!!
 

Sandy B

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OH MY, Now I am really nervous! I'm not a breeder. I'm fairly new to minis. I purchased a gelding in September of 2011. Now I have purchased a 3 year old Maiden Mare, as I have learned from reading posts. I am trying to learn what I need to do to be ready for this experience and to make it a success. First of all, I don't even know when it's due. Will a vet be able to tell me? She's not very big, so I am assuming I have time.... time for a crash course. I have been watching Mare Stare. I can't stop watching... I am amazed! Okay, so far. I need a Halter Buzzer, Baby Monitor if I can't get on Mare Stare, Milk test strips, a place where she can be pinned in and what else please???? I have a question about pinning her up... When do you start putting her in a stall by herself and do you keep her in the stall 24/7? Right now the mare and the gelding graze on about 3 acres from 8a.m. to 3p.m. and I put them in a pen together late afternoon. The pen that they spend night in is about 1/4 acre with a run-in. On the 1/4 acre pen there is just a little grass in that there are a lot of trees with shade. I feed them purina mini food 1/2c in morning and 1/2c when I put them in pen. I have some hay in one of those slow feeders in the run-in. We are going to add-on to run-in to try to make it two stall that can be closed off or open and divide the pen in half. Can the gelding be around her and the baby after birth? Do I have to keep baby and mom in stall also after they give birth? and if soo, how long do they need to be by themselves? My husband was told that a normal birth is two front legs coming out first and if one leg comes out only you push it back in and get both legs to come out at once? He was told that if the back legs come out first to pull fast and hard as u can to get foal out so it won't drown in sack. Is that all correct?? If there is any other things I need or info. I really would appreciate any help. OH yes, pray for us!!!!!!!
You sounds like a great mini horse owner who is willing to learn and that is a great big step for you. Kudos! I would go to Youtube and try to pull up as many foaling videos as you can to watch. There is also a video called Foaling Fundamentals you can buy that is basic and good, but relates to full sized horses. Books like Blessed Are The Broodmares is a valuable tool. The thing to remember is that mares have a very short time to deliver a live foal. From the time their water breaks to delivery of a foal should not be much more than 30 minutes max. If the water breaks and after several pushes you do not see anything, you need to call a vet. Since you are not aware of when the mare is due and have not down this before, I would call your vet and have him or her out to ultrasound your mare to first make sure she is pregnant and they might be able to give you an idea of how far along your mare is. At that time you can ask the vet to come up with a foaling plan for you and give you advise. If your vet is not familiar with minis they might not be as cautious as the rest of us mini breeders are and know the realities of complications that minis experience. Your mini mare also needs certain vaccinations such as Pneumabort at 5, 7 & 9 months and her Annual booster vaccinations approx 4 weeks before foaling. You also need to familiarize yourself with "red bag" deliveries and dystocias.

I would periodically check her udder. When you start seeing her udder swelling you know you are getting close, usually within a month on average. As her udder increases I would start stabling her by herself. Maybe put her in the large grass area during the day and the gelding in the small area, and then at night put the gelding out there and she gets the smaller area.

You will need to put together a foaling kit with things like towels, OB gloves, Lube, Naval dip & syringe casing to use to do the dip, plastic bag for the placenta, shoe string or dental floss to tie cord if needed, scissors to cut through a red bag or "saw" cord if needed, vet wrap or gauze to wrap tail of mare prior to foaling, mild soap to wash mares perineal area before and after foaling as well as her udder before the foal nurses, Fleet Enema to give foal after it nurses to help with passing of meconium, a baby bottle in case foal is to weak to stand and nurse, Banamine to ease pain of mare after foaling, especially for maiden mares, a watch ( to time from the time her water breaks), your vets phone number and a working phone. This is just some of the things you need to get by.

I wish the best of luck to you and I would definitely start off by having your vet out and coming up with a good plan of action and get the foaling vaccinations started if you have not yet started them.
 

kaykay

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Can the gelding be around her and the baby after birth? Do I have to keep baby and mom in stall also after they give birth? and if soo, how long do they need to be by themselves? My husband was told that a normal birth is two front legs coming out first and if one leg comes out only you push it back in and get both legs to come out at once? He was told that if the back legs come out first to pull fast and hard as u can to get foal out so it won't drown in sack. Is that all correct?? If there is any other things I need or info. I really would appreciate any help. OH yes, pray for us!!!!!!!
I usually keep the mare and foal in the first 8 hours or so (depending on what time of day she foaled) It is not good to leave them in a stall too long or the foal gets bored and nurses non stop and drives the mare crazy. I try to make the first time early morning or early evening so that its not hot and the sun isn't too bright.

I normally put them in a pen where the other horses can see the foal but not touch it. We do that for about the first 4 to 5 days.

First you should see the nose followed by one leg and another leg slightly behind the first leg.

Never ever just pull!! You can only pull WITH the contractions. If you are yanking and pulling and the mare is not contracting you can cause great damage to the mare. Always pull down toward the ground (never out in a straight line)

Here is a good video of us helping to get a foal out that was very large (the mare was very big pony but still had trouble delivering this foal) **there is some bad language in this video! Do not watch if cusswords are offensive to you!

 

Sandy B

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Great video to post Kaykay or a pretty normal foaling with assistance. 5 minutes from the time you see the grey membrane to delivery of a foal is very fast. Most mares will get up and down several times to adjust themselves. What a good girl your pony mare was.

The only time to PULL or for a better term "yank" a foal out regardless of contractions is when you have a red bag delivery. During a red bag delivery the placenta separates prematurely from the uterine wall and is presented prior to the foal. At this time, the foal is deprived of oxygen and chances are if you do not intervene and act quick, you will have a dead foal. Google "red Bag" delivery and there is a good video of a mini horse with a red bag delivery and how the owners resounded to it and got a live foal out. The rest of the time if foaling is proceeding normally, you just "help" your mini mare by gently pulling down towards the hocks during a contraction.
 

lucky

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Thank you soo much for all your help. That was a really good video. I'm gonna try to be ready. I think I will be a nervous wreck to tell you the truth! Sandy, I saw a post yesterday that you have a couple in foal and are waiting anxiously. Good Luck and I look forward to seeing your pictures! Thank you again.
 

Jean A

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...wish you guys had been there when I had my 6 natural births..

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Sandy B

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Thank you soo much for all your help. That was a really good video. I'm gonna try to be ready. I think I will be a nervous wreck to tell you the truth! Sandy, I saw a post yesterday that you have a couple in foal and are waiting anxiously. Good Luck and I look forward to seeing your pictures! Thank you again.
Yes, after last years disasters I am a nervous Nelly. I have foaled out AQHA & APHA mares for years and years but these minis are a whole different ballgame. I wish us both luck as well as everyone else. Just read and watch as much as you can and get a foaling kit together. That is about all you can do unless you take her to foal out at a breeding farm. Keep us posted as she gets closer.
 

Riverrose28

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Something else you guys can do is google dystocia and when Scott Creek comes up they have a whole page you can print out explaining what to do to fix a birthing problem, I have one in my barn in my foal kit.
 

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