Foaling season

Exciting times if your mare is about to foal this season!

A couple of days before parturition the udder of the mare will develop wax tips on the end of the teats.

A normal birth usually takes about 30 minutes without any help. Directly after the foal is born the umbilicus is still attached. It is important to leave the mare and foal attached for as long as possible. The umbilicus will break at the right time and place, there is no need to cut it. The first couple of hours are important for the foal to drink enough colostrum. Colostrum is full of antibodies necessary for the immunity of the foal.

Within 8 hours the foals should drink approximately 2-3 litres of colostrum to get a sufficient enough antibodies.

The foal is only able to take up any antibodies in the first 24hours. If there are any concerns about the uptake of colostrum, a blood sample can be taken to test for IgG levels.

The placenta should be detached from the mare within 4 hours after parturition, it is important to check if the placenta is complete (needs to look like a pair of trousers). If the placenta has not come out within 4 hours, or is not complete it is important to contact the vet.

Did you know that a healthy foal should:

  • Lift its head < 5 min

  • Stand < 2 hours

  • Drink < 2 hours

  • Urinate < 6-10 hours

  • Pass yellow feces < 24 hours (after dark meconium)

It is advisable to have your mare and foal checked 24 hours after foaling, even if everything went smoothly. Foals are very good at fooling us! If the foal is a bit dull and quiet, not drinking enough or any other concerns you should ring your vet immediately. In these cases the earlier the foal is seen the better.