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Concerning Mare Behavior Toward Foal

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  • Concerning Mare Behavior Toward Foal

    I have a Paint broodmare (at least her second foal) with a 7 week old colt by her side. He was born at our farm, so I've had them both since his birth. There haven't been any issues until the last week or so. We've noticed that she has become somewhat aggressive towards him at times. Pinning her ears, chasing him away, mouth open and trying to bite him as he runs away. Not all the time, but it has happened a few times in the last week. There has also been a couple of occasions in their stall when I've heard a "commotion", but haven't witnessed what actually happened. He still eats out of her bucket and he is still nursing. I've seen her making faces at him while nursing and walking away as soon as he starts, but nothing terrible. He's not losing weight, so he must be nursing enough for now, at least. She is on a month long, tapering, regiment of Prednisolone for heaves, so could this be a side effect of the steroids? Any advice would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Watch for ulcers developing in the foal... will show as colic. "Bad mothering" is the cause. Did you have this mare when she had her first foal? Or was she in someone else's care at that time? Are you aware of her mothering skills for that foal?

    We bought a mare that had had one foal. Her second foal was with us. The first foal was a three year old at the track when I saw him, he was "skinny" and "nervous", not thriving, and not healthy. She turned out to be a bad mother (probably the reason why she was sold in the first place). Our foal died, ruptured ulcer. It was 30 years ago now, not as up on ulcers in horses as we are now. The mare was already back in foal for her third foal when this situation came to light. She was equally bad with the third foal when she was born. But we were more prepared, and medication was available. That foal lived. But it spent a lot of time with humans doing "surrogate" mothering, and we weaned early. Sold the mare, the meat man bought her. I can't say if Prednisone would effect the situation or not. But the bad mothering is something that you don't know until you see it. No matter the cause, be prepared for ulcers in the foal. Good luck!


    • #3
      I’m not familiar with side effects of Prednisolone use in horses but I know in humans it can cause some temporary personality changes and insomnia so I’d say that could possibly be related.