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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2010
    Posts
    44

    Default Question for experienced breeders!

    Some of you probably read my thread here--->http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=258406 <---about my mare and her new colt who was born 5/19.

    Please speak in small, easy-to-understand phrases here...I'm a complete novice to the world of breeding and nursing foals!

    I have never bred a mare myself, or even owned a baby until it was weaned, so having my mare back with her baby still at her side will be a new experience for me. It's also an unexpected experience; I wasn't originally due to get him for several years now! I have none of the research that I normally would have put into this process. That means I will probably be posting here with paranoid questions! (The vet is already on speed dial...)

    I've been talking with the woman who had my mare on her breeder's lease and she's told me that there were some problems with Selina's milk production originally. She was streaming milk right after he was born, and was fine for the first 24 hours, but then she noticed that Selina's bag was almost non-existent and Snapz seemed hungry. So she contacted the vet and he gave her domperidone (which sounds like "dom perignon" ). It seems to have worked, more or less.

    This mare is a naturally hard keeper, and is on very, very limited grass. She has 24-hour access to hay and is being grained three times a day, but she is underweight and really (from past experience--I've owned her for six years and nursed her back from severe neglect) needs to be on good pasture to maintain normal weight. The breeder says that Selina still has no bag to speak of, but the colt is growing nicely and active, so he is clearly getting milk.

    Sooo. What's the protocol on this? Am I worrying too much, or just enough? Do you think this will cure itself when Selina's on good pasture and fattened up herself? Is there even anything that needs curing?

    In addition, he has what she calls "poopy butt" right now, which I read as diarrhea. She doesn't seem concerned at all, and implied that it's normal. Is it? Selina was dewormed a few days ago. Could that be it?

    They are going to be shipped to GA from SC the weekend after this one. I'm concerned about dehydration if this hasn't cleared up.

    Any opinions or suggestions?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2008
    Location
    Maryland USA
    Posts
    1,194

    Default

    Everything about your story sounds normal. The process sounds about right, and so does the care. The size of the bag is not related to the quality or volume that is actually received. The mare does need quite a bit more food then normal to produce all of that milk plus her own care. Calf manna, or similar product can be used to increase the concentration of protein and fat per volume of food. The diarrhea happens a lot. Foal needs to eat as much of mom's poop as possible. Bio-Sponge can be given to help, but it is mostly due to insufficient quantity of normal flora. Hydration should always be monitored. If she is peeing normally then you are fine. I hope that helps.

    Tim
    Sparling Rock Holsteiners
    www.sparlingrock.com



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2010
    Posts
    44

    Default

    Thank you! That is all very reassuring to hear and I really appreciate the insight. I don't really doubt the breeder--I wouldn't have sent her my mare if I had--I'm just paranoid that I'll miss something due to my own inexperience. I was already planning on adding calf manna to mom's diet when she gets here, so we'll see what that does for her. I'm not familiar with Bio-Sponge. Is it different from other probiotics?



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2002
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    8,304

    Default

    Bio-Sponge absorbs and eliminates toxins in the gut. It is very effective and quite different from a probiotic. A mare should not have a full bag while the foal is on her, as that would be a sign that the foal was not nursing vigorously. Anything you can do to help the mare gain weight would be good - alfalfa hay or pellets in addition to what you are feeding. The mare's calorie needs increase incredibly while lactating. A little loose stool is not a worry as long as the foal is eating well, active and does not have a fever.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2003
    Location
    Charles Town, WV
    Posts
    6,637

    Default

    Mares, unlike cows, are 'demand milkers'. As Home Again said, she should not have a full bag if the foal is nursing properly. Mares need double the protein they normally get to feed a nursing foal. They also need a fat supplement. Flax meal gives both protein and some fat. Soy bean meal adds protein. I've never had a mare refuse either. The foal should be started on milk based pellets as soon as he is interested in food and not eat Mum's grain. Foals can't digest protein (except for milk proteins) before the age of about 3-4 months. If you have access to Buckeye feeds, they make a foal starter pellet that foals like. Progressive Nutrition also makes a foal starter. Some of the plain milk pellets on the market seem to be completely unpalatable to foals, so the feed makers' ones are best.
    Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
    Now apparently completely invisible!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2002
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    8,304

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiki View Post
    Mares, unlike cows, are 'demand milkers'. As Home Again said, she should not have a full bag if the foal is nursing properly. Mares need double the protein they normally get to feed a nursing foal. They also need a fat supplement. Flax meal gives both protein and some fat. Soy bean meal adds protein. I've never had a mare refuse either. The foal should be started on milk based pellets as soon as he is interested in food and not eat Mum's grain. Foals can't digest protein (except for milk proteins) before the age of about 3-4 months. If you have access to Buckeye feeds, they make a foal starter pellet that foals like. Progressive Nutrition also makes a foal starter. Some of the plain milk pellets on the market seem to be completely unpalatable to foals, so the feed makers' ones are best.
    Ditto on all Tiki writes here.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
    Posts
    19,887

    Default

    My mare gets a ration balancer and BOSS in addition to the regular sweet feed and oats the barn provides. Alfalfa hay was added the last month of pregnancy and the first two months afterwards. I would have kept her on the alfalfa if needed but she was actually a little chubby so I cut that out and stuck with the grass hay she get all year round.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 30, 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    2,987

    Default

    I am a big fan of free choice mineral. Most recommendations are based on an average requirements but just like people they all have a bit different demands and can be deficient in some things due to food nutrient imbalance or just natural deficiencies unique to that animal.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2010
    Posts
    44

    Default

    I actually am also a fan of free choice mineral. I was planning on starting that as well when she reaches home.

    I really appreciate all this excellent advice! I had no idea about starting foals on milk-based pellet rather than snacking from mom's grain. It makes perfect sense now that you've mentioned it. I've never been around any actual breeding barns; all the backyard folks around here just let baby snack. I much prefer the idea of the milk-based pellets though. I'm hoping there is still a Buckeye distributor around here...

    The info about milk production is a big relief. She was definitely lacking in the beginning, but the breeder did say that the colt is doing great now (after the mare's domperidone series). She did mention that this was obviously something to keep an eye on though. She seemed to expect at least a little bit of a bag. However, as I said, the colt is growing well. I think I worry more because of the mild complications early on and because the mare needs more weight on her.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2008
    Posts
    1,647

    Default

    Three times a day may not be enough. I give frequent feedings to my broodmares in the first couple weeks (every 3 hours during the day), and they probably consume 5 x the normal calories at that time.
    Some mares are just harder than others, and some foals draw a lot from the poor moms.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2004
    Posts
    1,399

    Default

    about the free choice minerals, I had them for my mare in the form of an equimin block. My foal got loosey poops and I was told to remove any mineral supps from the stall...any thoughts? several breeders on here told me too, I think so that he would not eat that them want to drink water which could have caused the loose stool

    so if so, perhaps hang them high up



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2010
    Posts
    44

    Default

    I'm glad to know Selina isn't the world's only impossibly hard keeper. This does beg the question though...should I do this again? Not me personally, of course. I have no intention of doing the baby thing on my own. However, I have had some interest in Selina as a leased broodmare and I'm kind of wishy-washy on the subject.

    She is a rescue from a severe neglect situation. I don't know if her current difficulties with maintaining weight are a result of that, or (more likely) if they were the reason she ended up in such terrible shape in the first place. Regardless, she was in sickening shape. She'd had a blanket left on her for seven months, and her skin stuck to it when it was pulled off. She was severely malnourished (this is her two weeks after I discovered her-->http://i67.photobucket.com/albums/h2...84624_6415.jpg) and all her feet had abscessed horribly. She was also missing an eye. It's a long story how she ended up like this, and how I ended up with her, but the end result is a mare who is only sound for very light riding (at least, I haven't dared try more) and has no potential career outside of motherhood.

    Fortunately, she is well-bred (http://www.pedigreequery.com/canary+diamond), and has a lot of personal qualities going for her. Not least of all is the guts and drive it took for her to survive all this. In addition, I knew her from a previous barn before the neglect and she was a lovely mover and, though green, showing a jump worthy of a Rolex horse. She is also the bravest horse I know. In all the years I've owned her, I have never seen her spook at anything. If you win her over, and it's not hard--she's very affectionate, she will give you her all in everything.

    Of course, I need to see how long it takes her to recover from this first pregnancy, but I'm not sure what to do with her. She will always have a home with me, but she's not a pasture ornament either. She's too high maintenance and not inclined that way. She wants a purpose.

    However, I don't want her to go out on a breeder's lease if it takes this much out of her each time. My first priority is to her. I would love to see more babies out of her, but not at the expense of her body taking a downward turn again.

    Not sure what to do. I guess I just need to wait and see what she does when I get her. Anyone have any thoughts to help me weigh my decision?



  13. #13
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2004
    Posts
    1,399

    Smile

    you have done such a nice thing for this pair, I just read your older post.

    It reminds me of a book called Chosen By A Horse. It was a best seller and the second book Chosen Forever is also great. You might want to read the first one because although it's about a woman being saved by a horse she adopts it makes you feel good about doing right by animals



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2010
    Posts
    44

    Default

    Thank you! It's been a ton of work, and a lot of expense, but she is absolutely, 100% worth every bit of it. I truly love this mare, and I am so excited to have her back! The circumstances surrounding my getting the colt as well have a strange sort of "meant-to-be" feeling that is hard to dismiss. Maybe he'll be my thank you gift from Selina (not that she isn't enough of one herself)!

    I will look into the books. I think they are the same ones a friend recommended to me. She also thought I'd really enjoy the first in particular.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2004
    Posts
    1,399

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by timeshighmark View Post
    Thank you! It's been a ton of work, and a lot of expense, but she is absolutely, 100% worth every bit of it. I truly love this mare, and I am so excited to have her back! The circumstances surrounding my getting the colt as well have a strange sort of "meant-to-be" feeling that is hard to dismiss. Maybe he'll be my thank you gift from Selina (not that she isn't enough of one herself)!

    I will look into the books. I think they are the same ones a friend recommended to me. She also thought I'd really enjoy the first in particular.
    Strange things tend to happen for a reason, good luck and enjoy the reads!



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