Raising an orphan foal

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Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2004
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Ontario, Canada
We've decided to separate my mare anf oal because of my mare's agressive behaviour towards her colt. He is 3 weeks old, he's been stepped on too many time to count, pushed through the fence by his momma, and the last straw was when she kicked him in the face, breaking his nose. He will have a surrogate mom, and he is already eating a bit of grain, some hay, grass, and drinks water out of the buckets. My vet is coming out this afternoon to help me prepare for this undertaking, but I'l like to get a few suggestions. I know he will have to go on Foal-Lac, but for how long? And what about grain? What type of grain should he be getting? He's a big boy (TB/Hanoverian cross), and I find him to be on the thin side, which I absolutely hate. Right now he picks out of his (real) mom's feed tub, she gets a 16% broodmare pellet by Purina. His surrogate mom eats very little, a bit of sweetfeed and thats it. Where do I start? Will I have to bottle feed him, or can he drink his milk out of a bucket? What if he tries to nurse off his new mom (she is currently in foal for a 2006 baby, but hasnt had a foal of her own in a few years) is that a bad idea? I appreciate any advice/tips that a vet may overlook...

Here is a picture of my foal when he was about 12 hours old. He has a typical warmblood head (which he got from his dad). He's not pretty, but I love him anyways!! His dam showed upi to the 4' jumpers, and his dad is just getting his start under saddle, but already free jump over 4'. His grandad is the famous, Rio Grande, who qualified for the Olympics and Pan Am Games. We started calling him Spider because his legs are so long, but he has no registered name yet. We are still thinking on that one...


I cant help ethier, but would like it if you could keep me updated!

The colt is adorable, and in no ways is he not pretty! He is a gorgeous litte boy, I love his snip!
You're going to be OK, just believe it and everything should go smoothly!! Get him on to a bucket ASAP- it is unlikely he will take a bottle as he has nursed off Mama for three weeks, and I really do not like "bottle babies"- a personal opinion, only- and IME they do far better on a bucket, it's much easier!! Stick to the amounts on the bag- it's like human babies, don't be tempted to up the amounts!! If I have a foal orphaned from birth I have it pretty well weaned by four weeks, but your boy has been pretty much on his own by the sound of it- my foals are eating a good feed of their own by three weeks and by now, when the youngest is ten weeks old they are coming in to the round pen each day to eat it and staying there for two hours. Anyway, I think you are doing the right thing, but remember he may be as scared of the Surrogate as he is of his real Mama so don't assume that will go smoothly- it may take a while!! If possible set up a creep that he can go into and leave him ad lib grain- a starter foal pellet would be ideal- and just let him pick, put a few dry foal lac pellets in it as well so he likes the taste. I would also start offering him a very small "proper" feed, wet, and weigh it, then weigh what he leaves so you know what he is eating. Keep a chart of milk and feed consumed, so you can watch him grow! I would also start offering him some soft hay, something with a good "nose" to it. The very best of luck with this- if you have specific problems PLEASE ask away, everyone will help all they can, I know, and many others have raised orphans. One thing to take int account is he will lose all immunity his Mamas milk was giving so he will need some shots ASAP.. Good Luck, keep us posted.
If THAT is "not pretty," send me every ugly horse you've got!
What a drop dead gorgeous color on that colt, oh my gosh. And the bone structure! He's lovely, and that's so unfortunate about his mother breaking his nose. I'm assuming (since you said he's eating solid foods) that the injury did no permanent damage?

Since already knows about grain and buckets, you shouldn't have any problem feeding your beautiful colt Foal Lac in a bucket or pan. You could offer him both the liquid AND the pellets in different dishes or buckets and see what he prefers.

You can also offer him some grain and hay. But he needs the Foal Lac since he's not getting mom's milk. Just follow the directions on the Foal Lac container.

You should also consult your vet for all of this as well.


PS: Sorry for being so abrupt. I'm babysitting two toddlers right now, so my mind is not focussed just on the computer. I forgot to add that your foal should be fed about every 3 or 4 hours at this point.
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I'm not sure about the feeding or anything like that but I just wanted to wish you luck with the little guy and say how GORGEOUS he is
Goodness I love him Lol....I really like the facial markings on his mom in the picture too. Prayers that all goes well.

I have been raising a full size colt. He was born on July 5th and his mother died on the 8th. Right now he is drinking Foal Lac Milk replacer from a bucket, he drinks 3 pints every 4 hours. He also is getting 1/2 lb of Omolene 300 with 1 cup of Foal Lac pellets mixed in per day. He also gets free choice of hay.

The instructions are on the Foal Lac containers and this is what I have been following per the vet's advice also. His grain and pellet amounts will be increasing over this next week.

Good Luck with your colt! The people on here are wonderful at helping whenever I run into a problem - they always have wonderful and good advice! Thanks again to all who have helped me. Will be posting some pics of Lucas soon!

Edited to say - Foal Lac pellets are mixed in with his grain - not with the milk
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