Question about Colostrum - Need help.

Miniature Horse Talk Forums

Help Support Miniature Horse Talk Forums:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Well-Known Member
Nov 30, 2002
Reaction score
Larry is trying to figure out if there is any way to tell when a mare's colostrum turns into milk. Is there a test that can be done???

The RH Factor Colt I mentioned in another thread is now 56 hours old. The owner has been milking out the mare to keep things flowing and to get rid of the colostrum. She is seeing a definite change in the color and texture happening, but isn't sure if there might be some colostrum still mixed in with the milk.

As soon as she knows that the mare is no longer producing colostrum in her milk, she wants to allow the baby to nurse on his mom. Right now they are together, but the foal has to wear a muzzle.

Thanks for any advice you can give.
I don't remember the exact time that it is said to be okay to nurse... I want to say 48 or 72 hours, but don't quote me on that!

Colostrum becomes useless to the foal about 24 hours after birth. I'd suspect that it'd be safe to allow him to nurse at that point even though it may still be colostrum, because he can't absorb the antibodies that are causing the problem.

But in this matter due to the dangers of an incorrect recommendation, I defer to your vet. I suspect that everything would be fine, but I don't have malpractice insurance!
Thanks Nathan. You just made a very valid point. After a certain period of time, the foal's stomach DOES stop absorbing! That was DUH moment on MY part! :DOH!

This is for a friend's horse, as I mentioned.......... We personally have only had one RH Factor baby over the years and dredging in my memory, we milked out the mare for 48 hours before allowing the foal to nurse. For us at that time, all worked out fine. But we just want to play it safe for this situation.......of course.

Thanks again..........and don't worry, I won't sue you.
Thanks Mona. That's what I thought too.......

As an update, our vet called back just a little bit ago and recommended the owner wait the full 72 hours - just to be on the safe side. He also mentioned that there is a blood test that can be done, but it would cost $150. So, I'm sure our friend is going to just wait until tomorrow morning before allowing the foal to nurse off mom.

What's fortunate is that the little guy can smell EXACTLY where the groceries come from on his mommy, so I don't think it'll take long for him to find the faucets when the time FINALLY happens!
I think the "only" way is to test it... my friend here has a "Equine Colostrum Refractometer" that was a couple hundred dollars but SOOOOOOOO cool. You put three drops of milk/fluid on the microscope screen, and look through the viewfinder (it's small, like a kaleidoscope) and it has a chart that shows the level.

She has a mare due to foal.... we watched the amount of colostrum start (Good, 19) and then peak the second day (Very Good, 28) but now that she is dripping milk like crazy it has gone down to 15 (not sure what the numbers are, but it's a scale that has the words "Fair, Good, Very Good, etc." on them...

If I foaled out a bunch of mares I would consider investing in one. They are so easy to use.


Here is a picture of the screen thing:


Purchase colostrum refractometer

Okay hey! I found it, it's only like $75!!! These things are soooo nifty! If you foal out more than just a very occasional foal I would definitely recommend one!

Last edited by a moderator:
Just wanted to say THANK YOU to DISNEYHORSE! What a GREAT idea!

Latest posts