Orphan filly

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Oct 13, 2003
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First the background information...My mare was sick for over a week, and being treated by my vet, but was not producing alot of milk, and baby started eating from her food pan quite well. Long story short, my mare didn't make it, and now I have a 5 week old orphan filly. In the interest of doing everything right for this little girl, I asked for reccomendations from the Progressive Feed horse nutritionist. She told me to feed her foal milk pellets exclusively for the next 3-4 weeks, then introduce some hay, and foal starter. Problem is, the filly won't eat the milk replacer pellets. The mare died on Monday, and filly has refused to touch the pellets. Last night I mixed in a little of the Senior pellets that her dam was eating, and this morning The Senior feed was all gone out of the pan, and milk pellets pretty much all still left. My question is although I know the Senior feed doesn't have enough nutrition for a growing foal, is it better to get her to eat something, or try to force her to eat the milk pellets by withholding all other choices? She is drinking water really well, and I am adding electrolytes to the water.

Also wanted to add that I am pretty sure I should have consulted you gals and guys first...probably would have saved myself some worry time!



My girl Mia
I would keep mixing the milk pellets in there. Even if she isnt eatting them she might eventually.

I would also mix up some powdered milk and put it in a bucket in there as well as electrolight water. She really needs some form of milk where she is that young.
First of all, let me say how sorry I am for your loss, what a heart breaking experience.

MiniV orphaned a foal at just 2 weeks and he is doing very well and I hope she will jump in her and give her insight on this.

But, here is my 2 cents worth.

The FoalLac also comes in a powder and you can bucket feed it when you add water. I too think she needs some form of this nutrition at such a young age.

Several have said that the Equine Jr/Sr feeds, are more for 6 months and older but if she is eating the senior I would try to wean her on to the Jr or myself would start adding Strategy into the Senior.

I know my 5 week old foals are grazing and eating hay and grain with their mommas so allow this as well, just make sure it is not stemmy hay so it is easy to digest.

I would suggest a PM to MaryAnn or I think KayKay had an orphan as well. Products are constantly changing on the market and their may be something out their that is the latest and greatest that I dont know about.

Best wishes and will keep you in my thoughts. Keep us posted.
Annette is correct. Our little guy started out on a bottle which isn't necessary for your little filly. But I do recommend that you offer her the Foal Lac powder mixed with water in a pan or bucket. You can mix up a batch of it according to the directions on the container and refridgerate part of it for a few hours before it goes bad. It's similar to human milk formula but for horses. At 5 weeks your filly should be offered food every 4 hours and eat about 12+ ounces per feeding, plus whatever else you put infront of her.

In addition to the Foal Lac liquid, we also offered our little guy a grain mix of Foal Lac Pellets and Mare&Foal grain (a cup of each at each feeding.) And hay was available too. Oh, and fresh water! She probably won't eat all of it, but at least it's there. We gave him about an hour to eat what he wanted in his own stall away from other horses. Then we turned him back out. It got so he would come when he was called for his regular feedings.

By the time Jeffie was almost 3 months old he was off the Foal Lac liquid (he told us he didn't want it any more) and was eating just the Foal Lac pellets mixed with grain. He is now over 4 months old and is eating a mix of Mare&Foal with the adult horse grain 3 times a day (a total of 6 cups spread out over the day) plus hay, grazing time, and water. He still comes when he's called for his grain.

One thing we've noticed that was different with Jeffie from other foals who were nursing was his poop! It's a different shape and consistancy that the other's. If your filly does the same thing, don't panic. As long as she poops regularly - it's okay. As I recall we only had to give Jeffie an enema once when he was on the Foal Lac. He's been fine ever since.

Good luck with your baby. And feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

ABSOLUTELY you need milk on this filly and FAST!! You also, forgive me for being so blunt, need to get hold of someone who knows what they are talking about. No way can a foal this young survive without liquid replacer. Oh sure I've had orphaned at birth foals almost completely weaned at this age, but i was sure they were drinking enough water (ie I measured it
) and they were eating a lot (AND I MEAN A LOT) of feed by this time too. Do a Google for orphaned foals, or wait a while a a few more people will come by with amounts to feed- I've only done big horses I'm afraid. Short answer- she needs MILK, not pellets, and she needs ad lob Hay , NOW and she needs to be offered a foal starter pellet, also ad lib. She also needs company, if you can arrange it.
You have already received plenty of good advice, but I just wanted to say I am so sorry for the loss of your mare, and I hope your beautiful little girls does well.

I am sorry to hear about your mare, however, your baby needs lots - Our orphan girl is getting 6-8 cups advantage complete, 4 cups foal lac pellets, all the foal lac milk (in a bucket) she will drink, plus free choice grass and hay daily (divided into 3-4 feedings). She is a couple weeks older than yours.

If your baby wont eat your milk pellets, try another brand. Add equine jr, strategy, complete, or other mare/foal food. Some will drink goat milk well.

Weigh her daily to ensure she is getting enough....

These guys will look fine then crash and die in a matter of hours if they are not getting enough!

Best wishes!
Rabbitsfizz...I am not at all offended by what you call blunt...I fully expected to get alittle flamed for (1) Not following my gut reaction, and (2) for not coming here instead of a glorified feed salesman.

The company part of this equation I have asked MiniV in a PM, but just as well let everyone else know what I have available to keep her company, and my concern about putting her with them.

I have a yearling filly about 30-31 inches, and a 2 year old 28" gelding that she was with before her dam got sick, but we had them separated while we were treating the mare. I wasn't sure I should put her back in with them because although both are very laid back, I wasn't sure how they would react to her nursing attempts. I can imagine how irritating it could be to them
She is just seperated by a fence from them, and can touch noses, but not have full body contact.

So sorry for your loss. The filly is adorable, best of luck with her.
Teresa you are already providing company, in that case. When she is a little older, and has been on the bucket long enough to stop sucking everything that hangs down(
) she can probably be reintroduced to the gelding, that way she can learn her manners- bucket foals can be brats- adorable but brats, nonetheless. I would actually put in a complaint to the feed merchants boss- go to the company and ask them if they know this person is giving this sort of advice- yo could have lost your lovely foal thanks to them.It's bad enough that you lost the mare without losing a healthy foal!!

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