My 5 week old filly just lost mother 5 days ago. The first day and a half she did ok., would drink milk replacer, but she is eating grain with milk pellets and good hay. The next thing you know she slowed down on eating and stood in corner of stall and would not move unless we made her. We decided to purchase a 3 week old colt to give her company. At first, she got better, eating again and moving. Now she has really slowed down on eating and she definately has sad eyes. I have been syringing milk and pedialyte down her, just for hydration. Vet checked a day and a half ago, he says temp good and lungs good. He says they are fragile and you never know. WHAT SHOULD I DO, keep forcing liquids down here. I see her every once in a while take a drink of water out of bucket, but is that enough. Is she depressed, what are the signs of depressing! Any help would greatly ease my consistent worry and sleepless nights. I cant lose her, Her mother was the best. Thank you.
Yes she's depressed. And to be honest, there is nothing you can do apart from what you are doing. Treat for ulcers and supplement with foal probiotics. provide good quality hay. But you can't force her to eat. It took two weeks before mine started to eat adequately and months before she ate "properly". Ultimately it was up to her to decide if she wanted to survive or not. The key is, I think, finding an adult that will be her nanny. A young colt doesn't know the rules either so he might just frighten and bewilder her. She needs....... guarding, mothering
I lost my favorite mare when her last foal was only 7 weeks old. At the time, no one else had a nurse mare available, but since he had already started eating solid food anyway, putting him on the milk replacer pellets was no big deal at all. For company, I borrowed a friend's mini gelding, which worked out great. I think I was just really lucky that the colt was already extremely independant from his mother and trusted me explicitly. (and still does!) I second what Laurierace said about treating for ulcers. Going off feed and being withdrawn are classic symptoms. Your filly losing her mom would certainly be a trigger for her developing them, even if she has company. Good luck, and I'm sorry for your loss.
"...That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear." --Stephen King
Early on I had a foal that lost her dam at 4 weeks. We didn't have a nurse mare available, but did have a mare with a foal at side. She was willing to let baby #2 nurse if we haltered her and held her (while feeding her grain). It was rather time intensive, but seemed to give the orphan enough of what she needed so she didn't get depressed.
Ditto ulcer guard....You should clarify whether the 3 week old is with mother or not. The orphan we had did better with an adult figure to at least touch noses with and as an agreeable adult horse, hang over a partition to talk to and have some physical contact with. You figure babies are use to bumping up against mom etc and ours seemed to do less well when it did not have physical stimulation-so we also took to grooming etc. We were lucky as she ended up with several mommy figures (including a 17 hand gelding who would groom her over the stall partition from which we had removed top grill divider.)
We lost a mare when her filly was 8 weeks. We have a Connemara pony gelding who is 26 years old. He is the perfect mix of crabby and nurturing. She got her scratches and her rear end nipped at all the appropriate times. They lived together until about a month ago, but have side by side pens now.
Baby has no orphan problems and knows the rules of the road for being a horse.
I think an older pony or small horse might be a better choice for a companion for your foal.
Yes, on the ulcer meds ASAP. Ulcers cause depression (sad eyes, not wanting to move etc...). Be careful syringing her with liquid due to the risk of aspiration pneumonia. I am overly cautious with babies and would pull blood to make sure nothing is brewing. If she hasn't had much to drink ask your vet about running fluids.
Foals are fragile, the key is catching and treating problems early.
As is our confidence, so is our capacity. ~W. Hazlitt
So sorry for your loss and the filly's sorrow. Any chance you can get an older horse involved? Plus lots of gentle grooming and physical contact is often helpful. Soft sound stimulation is also helpful - some like singing and cooing. Physical touch and interaction with horses/humans will help her overcome her deep blues. Best wishes.
We were in this same situation with an 8 week old colt. We had a friend that had an elderly gelding so we borrowed him for a bit.
The old guy could teach the colt manners...lay back an ear...threaten to kick, but wasnt able to completly trash the little guy.
I love the saying "perfect mix of crabby and nurturing"
Not sure where the OP is, but if you're near to Cochranville, PA. Justaplain farm has nursemares and raises bucket babies and has oodles of experience with orphans. So sorry for your loss and hope your wee one feels better.
At five weeks, I'd say you need an old pony for a companion in addition to the other foal. For feeding you could train the foal to drink milk out of a bucket and also try to feed milk replacer pellets. I've never bottle/nipple fed an orphan foal for very long at all, it's so much easier and more convenient to teach them to drink from a bucket. Treating for ulcers is a good idea. Might want to use some probiotics, too, in case she's thinking about breaking out with some diarrhea with her diet change. But, I wouldn't worry too much just yet, at five weeks you are so much better off than if this had happened at birth. You are on the right track with getting another companion for her and keeping a close eye on her. For keeping her hydrated, I've had very good luck with a product called enterolyte.
We hand raised an orphaned filly from 18 days old. Bucket fed with Grober's foal replacement milk supplement. Nice and yummy lukewarm milk....that filly just drank that up like crazy. Fairly easy to get them used to it. But the first month or so of 4 hour round the clock feedings sure took its toll....on the humans not her At 3 months we borrowed a small pony to keep her company and at 4 1/2 months she was essentially weaned and eating regular foal food. Worked for us just fine. One of the best show horses we have ever bred!