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~Karen~

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What determines the size of a foal (at least at birth), the mare or the stud?

I am asking in reguards to a mini mare who someone had bred to a full size donkey.

Would this be aconcern during birth due to size? We had purchased her, and the previous owner was suppose to have given her an abort shot, but either it didn't work, or he actually didn't have one administered to her, so, it looks as though we will be having a donkey foal.... soon.
 
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Magic

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Everything I've heard and read says that the mare determines the size of the foal at birth. But, I also know of some foals that were just too big for the mares to give birth to easily.

I have a friend who bought a mini mare that was in foal to a full size horse (yikes!) and she foaled all right. I don't know what people are THINKING when they do that sort of thing though, sheesh.

All you can do is try your best to be there in case she needs assistance. Good luck!!!
 

sedeh

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Just wanted to say that I hope everything goes well for your mare. I'd be worried too! I've heard also that the mare determines the size of the foal......and have seen some outrageous crosses that have worked. However, there's also a percentage that ends up with a foal too large to deliver. Keeping you and your mares in my prayers.
 

Maxi'sMinis

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Maybe you should have her vet checked. I would definetly have a vet on call and it might be good if they were familiar with her. I would consider having an ultrasound done to maybe see how large the fetus is. Do you know how many days in foal she is? Good luck. Prayers everything goes ok for your girl.
 

~Karen~

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Thank you all for your thoughts and concerns. I appreciate them all.

It is good to know that the mare determines the foal size.

It's a wonder that studs that are so big in comparison doesn't wind up breaking the poor little mares backs or at least wind up damaging their legs.

I do have a vet on call in case I am around during the foaling (I hope I am but have no sure wayof knowing when she will foal), but that is all I have arranged. Thank you for prayers and thoughts.
 

Rocky1

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There was a study done on this topic. They(I don;'t know who) bred a bunch of pony mares( I think Shetlands) to a large size horse(s). All the babies were in proportion to the mare. No further study was done on how big the babies grew up though. I do remember seeing a pic of a Draft x Shetland once. It was the UGLIEST pony I have ever seen. Had a big ol draft head on a pony body with huge hooves..very nasty looking, I felt sorry for it, even way back when I saw this picture.
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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Our very first mini was a rescue mini from an auction and she had a 1 month old colt at her side that was out of a paint stallion. He was already nearly as big as her and by weaning towered over her. I'm pretty sure he was smaller like her at birth tho. He just kept growing and growing afterwards. I was horrified that someone could be so thoughtless as to breed this tiny (35") mare to a 14.2 stallion but apparently they thought he was too big and would never successfully breed her. IMO that speaks to what kind of people they were that they would leave the poor thing in with a stallion who wanted to breed her and was unable to as well. It is a wonder he didn't do her real harm. Anyway I just though it might comfort you to know that mini mares have given birth to offspring from standard sized stallions with no lasting damage. Oh and he was a lovely well proportioned little guy who finished close to 13 hands.
 

Bunnylady

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The standard donkeys I've seen are about 10-12hh, that's not a horrible mismatch.

I've also heard of a Shetland x Draft experiment, about 30 years ago. The cross was done both ways. The foals born to the Shetland mares were just slightly larger than Shetland foals typically are, and the foals born to the Draft mares were slightly smaller than is average for the breed. When the foals grew up, they were all pretty much the same size, regardless of which parent was the horse, and which the pony.

Betsy (my favorite longear) wants me to point out that the baby you are waiting on is a MULE, like her. Has this mare had mule foals before? I'm told that mule foals smell "different," and a mare is more likely to reject one, than a foal that is all horse.

Hopefully all will be well, and you will be posting pics of a cute lil longear foal. Wait til you hear the noises they make!
 

~Karen~

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That is some comforting words about size. thank you!

This is her very 1st. I really hope the foal won't be rejected. I am not sure what licensing (or parents) would have to say about a little orphane stalled up in my preschool! I knowwww what the children would think though, lol.

Let's say I do have a problem, what would I need to do to help ensure this foal to have a chance? I am a total novice with very little time to prepare. I am not one who has ever bred breed any of my horses I've owned. So I apologize for my ignorance in this.

My biggest worry has been that she will go into labor while I am away and there will be complications, and I won't be there to know.... and even if I was there, to call a vet, it would take about an hour for one to get to me. And I am clueless. I don't have a computer there to be able to come here for help, and all I keep thinking about is my dads goat and her baby who died on the day of my dads funeral because of labor complications she had. I was clueless how to help her with her breech kid, and it took an hour for someoe to get there to help and it was too late. I will never forget that sad experience.

So, if you all could give me some advice that may help if there is trouble, I will certainly take it to heart.
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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Best advice i can think of right now is get a good book on foaling and read it. Hilight the parts about what to do in different instances of trouble and then pick up a bottle (baby bottle cut the hole a bit larger in the nipple , what worked for me was a hole that just allowed a drip of milk) and a small bag of milk replacer in case she rejects it. Be sure she has a good halter and you can always tie her to let the foal nurse at first. A large syringe can be made into a breast pump if you need to milk the mare to be sure the foal gets that all important colostrum. When you bottle feed keep the foals nose below whither height so you don't cause him to aspirate any milk. I prefer bottle feeding to syringing but if you are careful you can get the colostrum into baby that way.

If you have the option try to find someone who has some experience with foaling and ask them for help, either by actually foaling out the mare for you or just to be on call in case of trouble. I would not like to risk her foaling unsupervised with her first (and a mule baby to boot) if there were ANY choice.

Good Luck (and kudos for caring enough to try to find out what you need to know BEFORE trouble actually happens
((((hugs)))) )
 

~Karen~

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Thank you, thank you.

I have 2 bottles gathered, and will pick up some milk replacer after work. If there are different types or brands, is there any I need to stay away from or one that is best to use?

How often do I feed? Every 2 hours? And do I feed as much as the baby wants in one setting?

I wish I knew someone that would be helpful. The remote possibilities, I have already talked to. They didn't even know by looking at her if she was even pregnant.

I am all set with your other advice.
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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According to my vet all the brands are pretty well balanced so it doesn't really make much difference but try to choose one you can stick with (you don't want to have to switch to another brand in the middle) some do mix easier tho and I use one called Wetnurse but you may not be able to get it there. Oh and feed it just slightly warm (like you would a baby's bottle) Yes feed every 2 hours and you can feed as much as baby wants, to start that will likely be 1/2 cup but my filly went to a cup pretty quickly (of course she was already 10 days old and now at just over a month she is taking 16 cups a day broken into 3 feedings) By the time that little one is 3 days old you can switch to a bucket or dish and teach them to drink from that so you can leave them to self feed. I feed 3 times daily so the milk doesn't sit out too long. But it is a real bonus when you can leave all nights feed and not have to get up in the middle of the night. ;) With any luck you won't need to know any of that and your mare will deliver fine and happily mother her unusual looking baby.
 

Reijel's Mom

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As mentioned, that baby absolutely needs that colustrum, which foal milk replacer can't supply.

I'm expecting my first foal, too, but I've had months to prepare. I've read everything I can get my hands on about foaling, asked every question I can think of, and alerted all my vets that we are expecting. One was nice enough to give me her personal cell just in case the less experienced of the 3 on call vets was on call. Even so, if I run into problems, it will take at LEAST a 1/2 hour for a vet to get to my place (and really that is probably too long to save the baby if there is trouble, but at least they will be able to help my mare), so I have a foaling kit ready and have tried to prepare myself and my husband as best as I can.

I do not have a monitor or foaling system like so many here have but I am fortunate that hubby and I work opposite shifts so our mare has very little time to be completely unattended.
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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Reijel's Mom, you are absolutely right. That foal MUST have colostrum first and if it were me I would do absolutely everything I could to make sure that mare and her baby bonded. Hand feeding is a sorry second best to having the mare mother her own foal. I may not have stressed enough how important that is. If you have to tie up that mare and hold one leg (or even tie it up) to let that baby nurse and try try try to get momma to accept her own foal. The chances are good that she will never have an issue with it but it does help not to have to rush out trying to find things if the worst case scenario happens. Sometimes luck is just good planning
 

~Karen~

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Thank you Reijel's mom and Reignmaker (love that name by the way)... I am excited for you on your 1st experience Reijel's mom.

I bought a foaling book Saturday, although it was somewhat hlpful, I wasn't fully satisfied when I finally got through it, as it mostly said "if things dont seem right, call your vet." To me, that's a given. There is only one vet that is anywhere near my vacinity and We have spoken and she welcomed my call should I need her. As for a foaling kit, there was a list, and I have it partially together, but really, no important information was there for emergency situations. I still don't know if I would know what to do, even if there was written info. I don't have a clue how to fix a breach, if it was necessary, don't even know if I could feel inside and tell. I know I tried to dislodge the breach baby goat that one time, and you have to do it with hard contractions only. I guess that experience is what shakes me. :-(

I am praying that everything will be normal and I can put all these concerns to rest.

I have read as much information as I can find on the net and you all have been a tremendous source of information. I give my heart of thanks to everyone who has been giving me advice and support here.

I definatly understand the importance of the colostrum. And if I have to, My husband is able to hold the mare still while I do what I must... can't be that much different than helping newborn pups get started nursing... right? ;-)
 
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wildoak

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You might consider leaving her with the vet when she gets close to foaling, and letting her foal out there if you vet has the facilities for that. It would ease your mind knowing she was where someone was able to watch her and give her immediate help. Odds are she will be fine at home, but since it's her first - and yours - it's worth considering. Good luck with her, whatever you opt to do.


Jan
 

Maxi'sMinis

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Look on the internet like Youtube for some foaling videos they are really helpful. Lots of them show how to assist the mare to deliver the foal. Also there are lots of web sites that give foaling tips that are really helpful. I'm glad to see you got some good advice some of the forum members have a great deal of experience with foaling the mules. God bless and prayers everything turns out well for your little mule. Sounds so cute and they are just dear looking little long ears!
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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Thank you Reijel's mom and Reignmaker (love that name by the way)...

Thank you, it took awhile to find a farm name I liked that hadn't already been used ;)



... can't be that much different than helping newborn pups get started nursing... right? ;-)



Well I expect it is somewhat different but then I've never had a puppy not want to grab hold and suck once he was held in the right spot.
 
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