Placenta Eating

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valshingle

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One of my experienced mares foaled early this morning. When I found momma and baby, the filly was still damp and just beginning to nurse. There was no sign of the placenta in the stall and the mare appeared comfortable and happy. I checked mom and filly 2 hours later, and still no placenta. Mom and baby still appear to be fine. Nothing is protruding from the mare. I did call my vet and he confirmed my suspicion that the mare probably ate the placenta. I've not had this happen before, and was wondering how common this behavior is among mares. So, what has been your experience?
 

Mona

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Yes, some will eat it. I never allowed it as there really is no need for it, and it worries me that they cannot chew it well enough and choke or even colic. Probably worrying about nothing, but I just hate the idea of them eating it. So no need, but yes, some will do it if given the opportunity.
 
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chandab

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I haven't had a mare do it, but many of our cows have, and sometimes cows will eat another's placenta.
Nature at its best; hiding the evidence and it does provide nutrition.
 

Tremor

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Our first foaling took place in a pasture on a cold March morning. (We were new to horses and did not expect her to foal)

The herd was made up of maiden mares who were either pregnant or open for that year

The placenta miraculously was missing, but now that I think back to it, it is astounding since this was a herd of bewildered young maiden mares (ages 2-5) and they were cunning enough to rid the evidence.
 
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HGFarm

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Ok so yes, I did have a mare start doing this right in front of me. After getting past the shock, gagging and trying to refrain from throwing up, LOL, I did remove what was left of it. She's the only one I've ever had do that, but once in a while, I guess they do.
 

valshingle

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This year had a maiden mare start to eat the placenta, but I was able to remove it without distressing her too much. She was very protective about her baby, and I wanted to be careful to not interfere too much. So I think it can be a strong instinct in some mares.

Maybe it's just my year for placenta eating mares
 
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shorthorsemom

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cows try to eat it if they can reach it. I thought it was an old instinct to protect the baby from predators. We have coyotes around here and have had them follow the spreader if there is any trace of birth cleanings in the spreader load. Predators cue in on the birth smells which is why coyotes are so successful at nabbing the new born fawns.

I have also had a calf born and mommy had a placenta retained and so you need to watch for that too. Sounds like you are doing everything you are supposed to do and that it is fairly common in horses. I know first hand that cows will try it if they calve in an open stall or outside and can get to the cleanings.

Interesting topic.

Those little characters that are throwing up that folks have put into their post just crack me up.
 
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amysue

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I have never had a mare try but most of my Hereford cows eat theirs. Not so much the Holstein cows tho. My father in law (a lifetime dairy farmer) claims it helps momma cow "clean" as it triggers some hormonal changes. Ive often wondered if it werent a defense mechanism to hide evidence of birth from predators. I always take the placenta to inspect it and make sure none of it was retained. But I do know its natural for mommas to do it (as gross as it is).
 

Tony

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It is very common and nothing that I know of to worry or even be concerned about.
 

Lucky-C-Acres-Minis

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This subject came up in a facebook foal group. And as I told them, yes mares will eat or hide the placenta once they lose it, as others have said it's a natural defense mechanism, by eating and/or hiding it, it would not lure in predators.

If you do not see the placenta hanging from the mare or visibly in the stall, then more than likely she passed it and either ate or hid it in the straw..

It's impossible for a mare to retain her entire placenta without it being visible. As the foal is born the placenta and amniotic membranes are passed with the foal. The non-pregnant horn remains attached because it is thicker and the attachments are deeper, hence why the placenta hangs from the mare after delivery until later contractions/weight/oxytocin helps break the attachments.

There's only two types of retained placenta.
Entire, where the attachments do not break allowing the full placenta to drop (so it remains hanging from the vulva) and

Partial, where the placenta tears during delivery or passing of placenta and pieces are retained within the mare.
 

Marty

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Ewwwwwwww


Keep digging! I hope you find it!!!

So if you don't, you gonna get her some Listerine and make her wash her mouth out or what?
 

valshingle

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Marty - you were right! The next day as I was cleaning the stall, I found the placenta buried by the stall wall beneath a lot of bedding. That's a relief! Mom and filly are doing well


Thank you everyone for your replies and the information shared. I'm always learning more
 

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