I need some jingles for a foal who was born on Saturday at my barn. From the start everything seemed to go wrong for him. His dam is just a little thing, an Arab and only 4 years old, and she was bred to a large warmblood, so it was a tough birth for her. She managed to give birth out in the middle of the muddy pasture among all the other horses with no warning, and he was born nearly dead, with purple lips and eyes rolled back in his head.
He was revived and mother and baby were brought up to the barn, where the mother was not able to birth the placenta for almost 3 hours. Luckily she finally did, and everything seemed ok, but now the mother doesn't seem to have any interest in him at all. She grudgingly accepts him in the stall with her and doesn't try to attack him or anything, but pins her ears and walks away when he tries to nurse. She has to be held so he can feed, and she doesn't talk to him or appear to have any interest in bonding.
My BO has tried to introduce another broodmare to him in order for her to possibly adopt him, and the first time they were introduced she seemed to really accept him. But the owner of the mother and foal wanted to give her mare another try, and now that it seems the mother is never going to care for her baby, the other broodmare doesn't want him either.
This poor baby has had no luck so far in his short little life. He's such a sweetheart... at two hours old he was already friendly and sociable, sniffing our hands in the stall and investigating everything. It seems so unfair that he's just a sweet little baby and nobody wants him.
Last edited by ellemayo; Mar. 24, 2009 at 09:06 PM.
This happened 5 years ago at my barn. The owner of the mare and foal refused to try a nursemare because of the expense (then went back to party at her vacation house in the Hamptons ). The mare flat-out rejected the baby, who fell asleep with her head in my lap the night she was born...just craving contact. We wound up caring for the baby as an orphan, complete with round-the-clock formula feedings. Socialite owner never lifted a finger.
The mare and foal were able to stay together in the large foaling stall, but had no relationship whatsoever. It was so sad. The baby would curl up by the stall door at night, and nicker/whinny to us when she heard the barn door open. If you stayed in the stall after feeding her, she'd lay down by your feet and go to sleep.
They were moved to a large breeding facility a few months later, so I never found out how the baby did after she left our care.
Definitely look into a nursemare, or find a non-lactating companion (goat, elderly horse, pony) and raise the foal on formula. The companionship is so important, and it will help prevent the foal from thinking he's a human.
jingling from NY. We are currently raising a now 17 day old colt who was born with Scoliosis. He's from a TB breeding farm and although his dam did not reject him the owners pulled the mare from him so she could be bred back.
We have had him about a week and despite his issues, he's a happy and healthy boy. He's on replacer and we are using our most veteran broodmare, whom we retired in 08 after her last foal, to raise him. This will be her third orphan she will have raised and she's a fabulous mom.
Keep us updated on his progress. I've raised a number of orphans, including my now nearly 7 year old stallion-he was orphaned at 10 hours old so I am more than happy to help.
PA, where the State motto is: "If it makes sense, we don't do it!".
I have an idea! Take something yummy, like molasses, and smear some (not a lot, in case the experiment fails) on the foal. The mare will be tempted to lick it off and then the foal will smell like her--she might take it back! Hey, she's a new mom and she thought the foal was already dead, so this might take her a while to catch on..... It's pretty hard to have to hand raise a foal so I'd try my suggestion. If you still have a problem post back here but it's best to try and get mom to do her job....
This has happened once or twice with newborn kittens and once we put something on the baby and the mother put her scent on the baby (by licking off what we put on) the moms accepted the babies again.
"Marriage is like a deck of cards--it starts with two hearts and a diamond and after a while you wish you had a club and a spade." ~seen on an anniversary card~
How old is this foal??? Foals nurse up to 20 times an hour in the first 12 hours of life. Holding the mare every once in a while isn't going to cut it. Has this foal had an Igg pulled?
FWIW - if the mare will allow the foal to nurse without kicking or biting, it doesn't matter if she licks and loves all over him or any other of that fairy tale crap. She has milk. He needs milk. Tie her to the wall. Sedate her. Hobble her. If this is her first foal she will quickly find out that this is how it is going to be. I wouldn't take a foal away from its mother unless she was downright dangerous to the foal or had no milk. When he gets a few meals in him and gets strong enough, he will chase her.
We have a mare who acts like that everytime she has a baby. Her problem is
that her udder gets so full and hurts the first few times the baby nurses. Once the
foal releaves a little pressure off her bag she may be ok with him. You will have to hold the mare until she gets ok with the foal nursing. If this is a maiden mare it very well could be that she needs to just get use to the way it feels to be nursed. Try getting the mom to accept her baby. I had an orphan almost two years ago, and though I love my sweetie dearly I would never want to go through that again.
Iron Horse Farm has some excellent points! In my scenario, we tried restraining the mare but she wouldn't have it. Sedation only worked as long as she was sedated; when she came out of it, she went back to being a grouch. The crazy owner even got it in her head to try a remote-shock dog collar, to "zap" the mare to make her let the baby nurse! *headdesk* Luckily the BO put a stop to that.
Hobbles, sedation, holding/tying, even hormone injections are all good things to try, but they have a better chance of working the earlier they are tried. At this point it may be too late as the mare in question has had several days of thinking the baby isn't hers.
ETA: Ditto the IgG test. It's the only way to know if the foal nursed enough to get adequate antibodies from the mare.
Part of the problem in this situation is that my BO has to do what the owner wants, even if it's not necessarily in the best interest of the foal. He's now 3 days old, and has been officially declared an orphan.
At first the mare just avoided him and looked irritated when she was held as he nursed, but the behavior escalated until she was becoming violent and it wasn't safe anymore, to the point where the baby wouldn't even lay down until he was so tired that he fell.
There is one more broodmare they are trying to introduce him to, and it seems that she'll be his last chance for a horse "mother". As of right now, I've been appointed his surrogate. He's doing really well, starting to have a lot more energy, running around with me and playing. He's a real sweetheart... I hope he's able to tough it out.
His sire is Sinatra Song, so we've started calling him Frankie.
Here are a few pictures of him that I took today... he's wearing his sweater because it's a little bit cold
I really appreciate all of the jingles and advice. I'll tell my BO and the vet everything. I guess my only job right now is to keep him company, which I'm ok with; I've just fallen in love with him already