Calling all milk test experts.... To sleep or not to sleep...
So I have these two mares and I'm wondering how much sleep (or lack there of) I should go for tonight?
Valentine - Around 315 days today. Last two days she has developed a large bag that hasn't gone down during the day today, no wax, mushy butt, and her shape has def changed from very "round" to "oval". She has been rubbing tail the last two days and "sitting" on things (trees, fences, etc). She also has that dreamy "I don't care about anything but love" look that she gets prior to foaling. Bag is firm/hard not hot.
Did a milk test on her today for the first time this season. "Milk" is pee yellow/sticky. PH read fast at an 8.4 and CA read at a 100.
Cory - Also around 315 days today (she was bred the day before Val). Her shape has also changed (within last day) to the "oval" shape, mushy butt, medium bag, has rolled a few times today, no wax, bag is medium after being out all day today. Bag is not firm and not hot.
Did a milk test on her today for the first time.. Milk was VERY white and only slightly sticky and easy to express. Readings were odd... PH read fast at 8.4 and slowly got closer to a 7.8 but didn't get all the way there. CA was fast at a 100 and also slowly changed to very close to a 250. I did the test 3 times with different strips and got same results each time.
I am using Aqua Chem strips which I've used the last 2 years with good results.
Both mares are working on their 4th foals. Both mares have had foals at different "cooking" times (Cory ranges from 330, 342, 353 Val around same sort of dates).
Before doing the milk strip test tonight I would have bet money on Val going sometime in the next 2 weeks (still kind of going with that) and Cory within 3 - 4 weeks. Shocked me to see the white milk out of her tonight....
SOOOOO if this was you, how much would you stay up tonight?
Normally I have the mare in the foaling stall and watch her on camera, but my electricity is out in the barn and the electrician isn't due till next week. I "could" run extension cords out to the barn for the cameras but would still have the issue of no lights out there (and don't want to put up the portable lights all night long). So I will have to be up and down all night going outside.
I swear these mares like to keep us on our toes!!!
My house is only 300 feet from the barn and I can leave my windows open - normally I hear anything "odd" going on in the barn. It is just that walk out at 3 am that gets me and why I love the cameras so much!
Once pH gets to 6.2 you are good to go, before then, go to bed LOL We've had many foals using this method and it's never missed except on one that had placentitis and delivered almost completely out of the blue with a 120 cal and 8.4ph reading and half full udder the night before.
With true 250 cal and 7.8 pH with not that sticky milk, even though white, I would say you have another 4-6 days. The fact that it didn't turn quickly makes me thing longer though. Usually when it turns QUICK you are truly at that mark. At 100 and 8.4 ours go usually 10 days to 2 weeks. We have a mare who is at ~50 cal and 8.4 pH with slight white tinged "milk" and she at day 319, so technically 3 weeks to go, and that's probably about right. Like someone else said, were she mine, I'd be in bed. Once you get in the 6's on pH, then you are getting reasonably close.
What does her udder look like? Is the milk all the way down to the end of the teats? Fully filled out like a glove with air in the fingers? That usually is a great sign it will be soon. Also will get super sticky and dry to a crispy film. I am sure you know all this. LOL I am bit obsessed and probably overkill on the testing! Hah! Good luck, it would be good if they held on longer!
Honestly if it wasn't for the fact that Cory's milk was so white and she wasn't keen on her grain (she did hoover her hay up though LOL) I'd not even be thinking this... in fact I only checked her on a lark to get an idea of where she was at. Val looked much further along than she did.
I would like them to wait till next weekend, it would make me feel much better (and I'll have electric by then!).
I figure I'll check her a couple of times tonight and see how it goes from there.
Glad to know that it is prob a fluke the strips took a few mins to get that level!
No problemo!! But yeah, you just never, ever know, go with your gut also. Better safe than sorry of course. As we know, they occasionally don't follow the book... LOL!!
The mare I mentioned that had placentitis (unknown) went from 50 cal day 316 to 120 overnight day 317 (a Sunday) and was acting funny about eating that night. Her bag went from about 25% to 50-60% at the same time. I thought she would go "early", but maybe 10 days, not 3 weeks on day 318, when I found 8 legs in the pasture when I got home from work!!! SHOCK!!!! Not trying to scare you but just saying, I had a weird feeling and had called the vet that Sunday evening saying something wasn't quite right and to come check her that next evening, and instead she came anyway and did a newborn foal check, it was nuts! Luckily he was ok, just a bit small.
So, it never hurts to check a couple times, for peace of mind if anything, if you are getting a gut feeling or something is just a little off.
I didn't stay up all night, just checked before bed around 11 and woke up around 3:30. I have two fat mares very pleased with themselves for the extra attention and pats in the middle of the night though LOL.
Val physically still looks closer than Cory does (and her udder is that glove filled with liquid look) so who knows?
And I am slightly more paranoid about these two - Val had colic surgery after foaling her last filly (about 2 1/2 months after) for a displaced colon and so I worry about her with that (I know irrational but can't help it). Cory had a slight bit of separation with her last foal 2 years ago but otherwise had a textbook pregnancy (as she always does), so I worry that we have a repeat even though I know that just because it happens once it won't necessarily happen again.
I know it sounds very strange, but have you tasted the milk? From my experience last year tasting the milk when I was unsure proved to be the ticket. When the milk is sweet with NO trace of salty or sour you had better be awake, she's going to foal very, very soon. Same with test strips. Until you are in the 6's keep a closer eye...but the milk tasting was the most obvious sign for me. Just my $0.02 :o) Happy foaling!!!
I actually did taste Cory's last night... slightly salty but sweetish if that makes sense.
Both mares when they have foaled for me in the past did get wax near the end and also both mares had milk on their legs within the last 6 hours or so (not a lot but they had milk on legs). Neither mare has either thing yet.
Val's bag was still huge this am and Cory's has small but present.
I'll test milk again tonight.
Judging by physical appearances, Val still looks ready to go anytime in the next week, Cory a bit further off than that. By looking at the milk... Val is further out than Cory is. Who knows at this point? LOL